Michael Schumacher was left lamenting another Grand Prix outing that should have gone better, but which came to a premature end when he was hit from behind by Vitaly Petrov going into the turn 3 hairpin on lap 16 at Yeongam, Korea, which resulted in the sole appearance of the safety car during the afternoon.

"I didn't see Vitaly coming," said the former world champion. "I was just suddenly spun into a direction I had not intended to go, and then I saw my rear wing hanging off."

It was the latest in a series of encounters that Schumacher has had with the Renault driver this season, and the German was careful to choose his words before seeing replays of what had happened rather than leaping to conclusions.

"It was unfortunate but these things happen when you fight hard: that's racing," he summarised. "It's a big pity as the car was again very good in race trim and I had already gained some positions."

His team boss Ross Brawn had seen the replays, and was less inclined to withhold criticism. "[Michael] was driving well, making up positions and minding his own business when somebody simply forgot to brake at turn 3."

The race stewards agreed with Brawn and handed Petrov a five-place grid penalty to serve at the next Grand Prix in India in two weeks time.

"Another unfortunate end to a race which could have been encouraging today," Schumacher summed up. "It would have been interesting to see what was possible, and I think we could certainly have taken some points."

His young team mate, Nico Rosberg, made it to the end of the race - but only just, stopping almost immediately afterwards on the cool-down lap, having just lost seventh place to a charging Jamie Alguersuari in the Toro Rosso who had been able to apply DRS to make his move.

"I didn't have enough grip by the end and so I just wasn't able to defend the position against Jaime," said Rosberg, explaining that the problem stemmed from the moment he locked up going into the hairpin on lap 27 while battling to stay ahead of the two Ferraris after pit stops. "During this, I flat-spotted my front tyres [in the middle stint] so I had to pit earlier than expected which made my last stint on the primes very long."

"Nico was driving well but had a big flat spot on his left-front tyre on lap 27, which forced him to pit out of sequence for another set of primes," said Ross Brawn, picking up ont he point. "From that point on, he had to nurse the tyres for over half the race distance to the flag. He did this extremely well, climbing back from P14 to P7, but was unable to hold off Alguersuari on the final lap, whose tyres were ten laps fresher."

Despite the on-track trials and tribulations, however, Brawn was encouraged by the overall performance of the Mercedes team at Korea.

"Although we didn't score points to our full potential today, there were encouraging signs of our competitiveness for the remaining three races of the season," he said. "We will aim to build on this in India - which will be a new adventure for us all."

"Our team can take some positives from this weekend as the beginning of the race with heavy fuel loads on the softest tyre looked strong - something we struggled with earlier in the season," said Mercedes' Norbert Haug. "Now we are all looking forward to the inaugural Indian Grand Prix in a fortnight."

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