Michael Schumacher was philosophical after a right rear wheel failure sidelined him in qualifying today in Belgium.

Schumacher, who is celebrating the 20th anniversary of his F1 debut at Spa-Francorchamps this weekend, was on his out-lap when the incident occurred between Turns 7 and 8. As a result his Mercedes skated off into the gravel and he will now start the twelfth round in the F1 2011 World Championship right from the back of the pack.

Despite his misfortune though, he joked that he should really have been okay, as he has driven at Spa before with just thee-wheels, back in 1998 when he that incident with now BBC F1 pundit, David Coulthard.

"Well, obviously I would have wished for a different end to today's qualifying," Schumacher said. "But it is difficult to drive on three wheels - even if I should have the experience to do so in Spa!

"Seriously, this is certainly something that should not occur, but then this is also F1; we are working at the highest level but still things can happen.

"At first, I wasn't sure what had happened, as I just felt myself lose the back end suddenly which is why I instantly apologised to the team. But then I saw the wheel off the car and understood the reason why I had lost control. Trying to find the good in the bad, I'd probably say that I still have some fresh sets of tyres left, and that there is only one direction to go tomorrow: forward."

"We need to look at exactly what happened," added team principal Ross Brawn, "but it would appear there was something amiss with the right rear wheel attachment, and we need to go through it carefully tonight to ensure there can be no repeat."

Team-mate Nico Rosberg meanwhile had a good session and eventually qualified fifth in the sister car.

"It was a typical Spa day today, and a difficult situation out there with the conditions changing all the time. Wet, intermediates and dry tyres; we had everything today but we made the most out of it," Rosberg noted.

"Two cars from the top three teams are starting behind me which is really nice to see. The team really got it right with the strategy, and everything that we did worked out well today. I'm very confident for a good result tomorrow as we set the car up with the race conditions in mind, and the car has also been working well in all conditions."


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