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Schumacher puzzled by cause of crash
23 September 2012
Seven-time former world champion Michael Schumacher insisted that he didn't know what had caused him to run into the back of Jean-Eric Vergne's Toro Rosso on lap 38 of the 2012 F1 Singapore Grand Prix, but insisted that it wasn't driver error.
"It was obviously a very unfortunate ending to my race this evening when I ran into the car of Vergne," said Schumacher once he'd returned to the pit lane after his early exit from the Grand Prix. "I am not totally sure why it happened like this.
"I was braking but the deceleration was not as strong as it usually would be," he recalled. "I braked a little bit earlier than I would normally do for that corner [but] the car wouldn't decelerate.
"I just went straight on the brakes very hard, locked up everything and tried to brake as hard as possible [but] I could not avoid running into the car in front of me," he added. "We have to find out what has happened. Up until then, I think it would have been possible to get some points this evening."
After the scary crash into turn 18 of the Marina Bay Circuit, Schumacher jumped out of the car and jogged over to Vergne to offer his apologies, and the two parted on good terms with Schumacher saying that the Frenchman had accepted his apology straight away.
Team principal Ross Brawn wouldn't be drawn on what might have caused the collision.
"It was an unusual set of circumstances so we will have a careful look at the data and work out what could have happened," he said. "Michael's race was going well until the incident which caused his retirement."
Mercedes' director of motorsport Norbert Haug confirmed that "the team is investigating to see whether there was a problem with his car," and added that it had been an "exceptionally challenging race this evening" but the team could take pride in a job well done especially when it came to Schumacher's team mate Nico Rosberg.
"With regard to Nico, he and our team made the best of it," Haug said. "P5 is a respectable result, especially in view of the fact that Nico started five places further back on the grid. He crossed the finishing line ahead of a Red Bull, a Ferrari and both Lotus cars, all teams which are ahead of us in the championship.
"This was made possible by having a sound strategy and by the first of the two safety car deployments when the team took the correct decision," Haug added.
"That was a tough race and I am pleased that the team did a pretty good job this evening" agreed Brawn, who relived that Rosberg's fifth place had been delivered despite some early collision damage to the car.
"Nico had a great race and our strategy worked well for him to gain five places on his starting position, said Brawn. "There was evidently some damage to his car following contact on the first lap as the downforce levels looked lower than expected so it was an even better drive from him in the circumstances."
"Everything worked out well for me this evening for the first time in what feels like a long time!" laughed Rosberg himself, happy to have posted a strong result in Singapore. "I'm happy to have picked up some good points for myself and the team. It's also nice to have stayed ahead of the two Lotus cars which I didn't expect before the race.
"I had a good start and a strong first stint," he added. "Thanks to the team for that and for making the right calls in the race today. Now I'm looking forward to Japan and the opportunity to improve our new package further."
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