Michael Schumacher admits that finishing ahead of team-mate Nico Rosberg isn't something he views as important until Mercedes has a car that is capable of running at the front of the pack.
On his return to the sport last season, Schumacher outperformed by his fellow German and once again sits behind his partner in the standings this year – albeit with the gap between the pair being just three points after the Japanese Grand Prix at Suzuka.
However, while he now stands a realistic chance of beating Rosberg in the title race, Schumacher insisted it wasn't something he saw as important while Mercedes isn't challenging the likes of Red Bull and McLaren at the head of the field.
“To me that [beating Rosberg] is not what matters,” he was quoted by ITV-F1
. “I think we have spoken about this sometime before: whether I'm a place in front or behind him, that's not what matters.
“To me what matters is that as a team we go in the right direction, that we get the car that we need to really fight for front positions. Then it will matter where I am against him.”
Schumacher heads to Korea this weekend having finished inside the top six in three of the last four races and the seven-time champion admitted that Mercedes was now getting more from its car to take the fight to its rivals.
“I guess in the end it's a combination of many things and the point is we are able to achieve more often to get 100 per cent out of the car,” he said. “That has not always been the case and that is very clearly noticeable since about three or four races that we're pretty consistent in this way.”