Michael Schumacher has said his five-place grid penalty will spur him on next weekend in Monaco.
Schumacher was punished by the race stewards at Barcelona's Circuit de Catalunya after running into the back of the Williams Bruno Senna on lap 12 [see separate story - HERE
]. While the penalty probably couldn't have come at a worse time, especially given the next race is at the tight and twisty Monte Carlo street circuit, the record-breaking multiple F1 world champion isn't too disheartened. Indeed he thinks Mercedes could be a real force.
“Every time you go to Monaco, you just look forward to finally getting out and driving the track. Of course, knowing that I will lose five positions on the grid does not add to this feeling but this just means that I will have to try even harder,” he vowed.
“Monaco is just a circuit of its own very unique character. In a way, you could look at it with a big portion of irony with regards to the contradiction that, for so many years we have successfully campaigned for more track safety, and then we deliberately race in Monaco.
“But in my view this is justifiable once a year, especially as the circuit is really so much fun to drive.
“I'm actually quite confident that we should look reasonably good in Monaco due to the hard work that everybody in the team is putting into the development of our car. So let's make the best out of the weekend.”
Norbert Haug, vice-president of Mercedes-Benz Motorsport, meanwhile added that the main priority will be to give Schumacher and team-mate, Nico Rosberg, a car they feel comfortable in and one they can push to its limits.
“With five different winners from five different teams in five races, it has been an exciting and unexpected first quarter of the 2012 season. Now F1 visits the most atypical circuit of all, Monaco,” he continued. “It makes unusual, one-off demands of the cars: there are fast and narrow sections, but also eight corners taken at under 100 kph and over 4,500 gear changes during the race. It is also incredibly challenging and rewarding for the drivers.
“In Monaco, more than any other circuit, the driver can really make the difference, especially on a single qualifying lap. Both Nico and Michael have shown a great feeling for the circuit and the ability to master it in recent seasons. After all the talk of unpredictability of the teams' performance levels this year, there are also clear facts: three of five races have been won from pole position, including Nico's victory in China. What's more, the five drivers who have completed every race lap are all in the top seven in the current championship standings. Strong qualifying speed has been rewarded at every race, and consistently finishing races appears to be even more important in 2012.
“Our focus in Monaco will be to extract the maximum from our further developed technical package.
“Giving the drivers a car they can trust and feel confident in is worth more here than at any other circuit.”