Schumacher fails to shine in rain

Schumacher starts six places behind Rosberg in Malaysia

Schumacher starts six places behind Rosberg in Malaysia

The third race weekend of Michael Schumacher’s F1 comeback doesn’t seem to be going much better than the first two.

That was despite a wet qualifying session giving the man they called ‘Regenmeister’ an opportunity to demonstrate the skills that won him many wet F1 races.

Team mate Nico Rosberg out-qualified him by more than a second on the same track, on the same tyres, at the same time.

Schumacher was also out-qualified by both Williams drivers and Robert Kubica’s Renault – all cars that don’t belong in front of a Mercedes W01.

Schumacher’s trials in the Mercedes had previously been put down to his lack of time testing the car, and needing to get up-to-speed with the new specification Bridgestone rubber.

But I can’t have been alone in thinking that, shown a wet piece of track, Schumacher would return to his old form. Instead, he was even further behind Rosberg than usual.

He started the session well. Mercedes, like McLaren and Ferrari, sent their cars out later on the wet track in Q1. But both their drivers succeeded in setting a fast enough time on their sole runs to make it safety into Q2.

Schumacher’s first lap was a 1’52.239, almost matching Jenson Button’s which he set at the same time. It was also three-tenths of a second faster than Rosberg’s effort.

But in Q3 Rosberg turned the tables. Each driver had time for three laps in the shortened session and Rosberg’s best lap was 1.044s faster than his illustrious team mate’s. Afterwards Schumacher said he’d taken too much out of his tyres on his first run in Q3:

On my last run in Q3, I wanted to secure a lap time and then go for the second lap but after I finished my first quick lap, the tyres were already gone so I could not go for it anymore.
Michael Schumacher

The times show Rosberg took care of his tyres on his first run:





At the head of the field was Mark Webber, who a gamble to run intermediate tyres and successded – exactly the sort of tactic we came to expect from Schumacher in his day. Immediately behind Webber on the grid are a roster of four German drivers – none of them Michael Schumacher.

It’s another result for him to grin and bear. At what point do we start asking how many of them he’s willing to put up with?

Compare Michael Schumacher’s form against his team mate in 2010

2010 Malaysian Grand Prix

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122 comments on Schumacher fails to shine in rain

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  1. Alex 3 said on 3rd April 2010, 13:37

    I have never been a MS fan in the past but I am beginning to become one just on the stength of the negativity on these pages and others about his comeback.
    He was out 3 yrs and the technology changed as have the regs.
    He is rusty no doubt and it should come off as time passes but he cannot test as he could in the past.
    How long was it when he first came to Benetton that he won? How long did he and Ferrari struggle before his first win with them?
    Give your head a shake man.

    • DMW said on 3rd April 2010, 13:44

      Past laurels don’t put points on the board, and there are too many very good drivers out there to have to wait for a past great to regain his footing. He doesn’t have an reserved emeritus position on the grid. He looks very lacklustre, and Brawn/Haug need to think hard about whether they really have two of the best drivers—in 2010—in the car.

      • Robert Smith said on 5th April 2010, 1:45

        Yes it estimated Schummi will be banking 37 million this season.So he buy favorable comments and won’t even care!

    • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 3rd April 2010, 13:58

      stength of the negativity on these pages… Give your head a shake man.

      I think this is the first article I’ve written about him since the start of the season and I don’t think it’s unduly negative at all. I think it’s the sites running headlines like ‘Expect Schumacher to quit soon’ who are being excessively negative.

      How long was it when he first came to Benetton that he won?

      Are you saying our expectations of someone who’s starting 250-odd races and won 91 of them should be the same as someone who’s never raced before?

      • Even when he came to F1 he had been racing in other series, this time he hasn’t. I’m not saying experience counts for nothing but you’d imagine if he’d just won last years GP2 he’d be in better shape.

      • MigueLP said on 3rd April 2010, 20:20

        this article is pointless on q3 conditions were semi wet on those 7 min no one spun out the grip levels werent so bad i dont believe that that q3 was relevant to see whos fast and whos not

      • Keith, the article implies MS is failing; this is negative as it undermines what is an amazing comeback story. As a writer you are well aware that you don’t need to pull a tabloid-style front page headline to be negative.

        The implication is that Schumi didn’t do an amazing job getting into Q3 when the likes of would be champion Massa, former champion Hamilton, 2 time champion Alonso, and reigning World champion Button were not able to do so. Just because Hulk also managed this feat does not mean he’s failing; if anything it means both Nico’s are excellent drivers.

        Further, though I don’t fault you Keith, these pages are most definitely riddled with anti-Schumi sentiment so when an article about anything other than his latest fantastic performance comes out saying anything but what it was, it does come across even more negative than it may be.

        Just to be clear… his latest performance WAS a great performance as was every driver in the top 10. Those are tricky conditions for any of those guys and it really separated the men from the boys. He was also fast in the practice sessions in the dry as well. He’s clearly improving. Who here, that hates this guy, has any real statistical or rational means to defend a position stating anything to the contrary? None of you. Not one of you haters does. Get over yourselves! Give the guy some credit. Ever taken three years off anything and come back? Bowling? Skiing? How long did it take you to get YOUR skill back? Probably never did, did you?

        Ugh, I hate your hate!

    • syd master said on 3rd April 2010, 22:27

      agree…schumacher maybe not at his best anymore but if tomorrow race rain pour down….i believe schumacher will show its true skill in wet condition….
      and i really hope lotus can finish the race again…

    • I agree Alex I don’t like him either but am getting sick of this, (I don’t think this article is negative though) I mean constantly all you hear is “Schumacher gets beaten by his team mate again” When Schumacher beats him in a session they go all silent. It’s so annoying.

      • Andrew White said on 3rd April 2010, 23:46

        Schumacher has beaten him in three practice sessions (out of nine). They don’t really mean much anyway. Rosberg has beaten Schumacher in all qualifying sessions and races so far. It’s a talking point purely because people aren’t used to seeing Schumacher get beaten so soundly by a team mate. I say give him time though.

        • Schumacher was closer to his team mate in the first race then Massa, Webber and Button were to theirs and no one slated them.

          I also think he would have been close if not beaten Rosberg in Melbourne if it wasn’t for being caught up in Alonso/Button’s accident at the start of the race.

  2. Dev said on 3rd April 2010, 13:39

    he needs more time…

    • Damon said on 3rd April 2010, 14:01

      I also believe that.
      At 41 years of age it takes a longer time to get your reflexes adjusted to new circumstances. Obviously, these reflexes won’t be as good as they were at the age of 25. That’s a fact.
      The other thing is that Nico Rosberg is one of the fastest drivers out there. Who knows – perhaps even THE fastest.

      So far, in dry conditions, Michael has only been about 0.1sec behind Nico. That’s nothing.

      Today’s qualfying means nothing, it was a lottery as we all know.

      • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 3rd April 2010, 14:16

        Before today, if I’d asked you to name F1’s best wet weather drivers would you have put Nico Rosberg ahead of Alonso, Kubica, Vettel or, for that matter, Schumacher?

        • Damon said on 3rd April 2010, 15:06

          I wouldn’t.
          But that’s probably (also) due to my memory not serving my well enough to recall Rosberg’s past performances in the rain.

        • I wouldn’t and on the strength of the evidence I still wouldn’t. Just because McLaren cocked up the timing of their runs doesn’t mean Hamilton is any worse a driver.

        • David BR said on 3rd April 2010, 16:10

          Rosberg is responding in just the right way to the situation he found himself in. Head down, ignoring Schumacher’s little power plays at the start of the season, determined to show he can make something of the opportunity of driving for a top team. Schumacher’s comments that he’s annoyed with himself at being slower than Nico (as though natural law had been turned on its head!) and just needs a few more races must also be the perfect goad. I’m sure Schumacher will show his skill and experience at some point in the season, but I suspect most days he’ll be those few hundredths behind his teammate.

        • sato113 said on 3rd April 2010, 16:34

          depends what tyres they’re on!

        • Einar AI said on 3rd April 2010, 21:20

          I was always a big Nico Rosberg fan – the guy just didn’t happen to have a right car for the past four seasons. The only time when the car and the conditions may have allowed him to really win a race was Singapore 2009 – and he unfortunately screwed up on the white line.
          Now that Merc provided him with the third-fourth fastest car on the grid i think he started to really deliver. To be honest, if you consider that Merc is clearly slower than RB and Ferrari, and lacking in pace (due to f-duct) to mclaren, Rosberg should be finishing each race in ~7th. so far hes been 5th in both races.
          I think, in fact, our tendency to overlook Rosberg as a competitive driver was due to his mid-grid consistency. His successions of 5th-6th-7th places in a Williams spoke of a decent driver at the wheel – albeit not a paricularly exciting one. Hes never quite had the flair of Hamilton, the uncompromising skill of Alonso, and even the occasional brilliance of Massa. Rosberg was Nick Heidfeld-esque driver. Calm and consistent; but never outstandingly brilliant.

          As for Schumacher, I quite expected Rosberg to beat him in the opening races of the season. He does need time and perhaps this time could amount to a seasonful of races. That said, I believe bad publicity has amplified his lack of performance in the first two races. He may screw up 8-9 races like the past two, and yet if he wins a single one afterwards, everyone will start singing praises of michael schumacher.

        • Alex Bkk said on 4th April 2010, 2:50

          I think it’s a fairly balanced bit of writing. I don’t see any absurd speculation or slander here. It’s always difficult as a journalist to keep your bias out of your stories. Indeed it’s almost impossible, but I think that Keith does a very good job of it. I’ve been following this site for a few years and I don’t even know who Keith’s favorite driver is. If it’s difficult for us as F1 fans to temper our particular bias when we post, then how much more difficult is it for the author of the article?

          The only real criticisms that I’ve heard Keith make regarding Shumacher were about his some of his past “driving ethics”.

          Also I’m inclined to believe that the readers of this site tend to be more knowledgeable about F1 issues than the average fan and therefore much harder to please.

          Good job Keith!

      • Dev said on 3rd April 2010, 17:16

        he needs time to find limits on the car, he needs more time to adapt to the real racing conditions… gap of 3 years is pretty big & i think this more like his rookie season… he should be stronger in second half… but the real Michael will be back only in next season…

        most of the drivers on the track i’m sure envy Michaels resume… if not all.

    • kowalsky said on 3rd April 2010, 15:26

      how much more…in your opinion.

      • Wateva said on 3rd April 2010, 21:13

        As long as it takes. Wats the hurry?… I read a lot of articles talking about Mercedes should re-think their driver line up… I think there is a comment here as well… but I dont think there is a better driver out there available that will perform better than Schumacher at the moment.

        I dont understand whats the big deal is anyway… there are so many other interesting and good drivers on the grid to watch and enjoy. Its a little sad for Schumacher fans, but no reason why general public should be bothered atall.

  3. Pingguest said on 3rd April 2010, 13:46

    I don’t understand the negativity. The man came back mostly for the fun and after being out for three years in which the sport changed heavily, I think he’s doing reasonably good. Particularly for a man on his age.

    • Vikas said on 3rd April 2010, 14:48

      Seriously, I don’t think Mercedes will agree with Schumacher saying he’s here for the ‘fun’. They are paying him millions and having chosen him over other really good drivers they expect a whole lot of seriousness,dedication and for him to work his backside off.

      • Even if Schumacher is back for fun Mercedes would accept it because his profile is so high it’s already been worth it. But the truth is he’s not the kind of guy to do things half ar$ed so he’ll obviously take it seriously.

        • I’d have to agree with K (provided Schumacher does not overdo the “fun” part in public interviews, that is). I recently moved to Germany and from what I have seen so far, every radio and print coverage of F1 starts with Schumacher, no matter who wins.

          • US_Peter said on 3rd April 2010, 22:23

            From what I understand he’s already been an extremely valuable asset to the team in terms of testing. One of the best test drivers out there.

  4. Damon said on 3rd April 2010, 13:49

    I can’t believe how rapidly those tyres are affected by degradation. A couple of laps and they are “gone”???

  5. David Smith said on 3rd April 2010, 13:51

    Times Change! Problem is (like the preview build up to the F1 season) Schumacher’s return has been so overhyped by the media – Of course unless he doing anything but winning hes going to be a disappointment. But did he not say he just wanted to have some fun…

  6. Scribe said on 3rd April 2010, 13:51

    Frankly Schumachers comeback seems to be going to plan. Every session he has clawed back the tenths on Rosberg. From the begining he was unhappy in Bahrain, in Australia he started to look better in the car, this is his first wet quali remember, in this format, and for three years.

    Rosberg has not been extending his dominance over schumacher, in terms of speed it’s consitantly shrunk. I think Schuey keeps getting better, when we get to Europe, at current rate Schuey could well be matching Rosberg for pace. An then he’ll outfox him. Just like we saw in preseason. Just like he’s always done. Schuey has magnificent pace, but he’ll beat Rosberg on brains. I still see him ahead by the end of the season, an certainly he’ll take him over a whole season.

    • Todfod said on 4th April 2010, 3:07

      @Scribe. Lets not forget that even Rosberg is working in a new team, and for the first time with Schumi’s buddy (Brawn). I really think Schumi’s ring rust is being used as an excuse for his lack of pace. Schumi has the experience gained from over 250 gp starts and over 90 wins, and has enjoyed the same amount of pre season testing as Rosberg. If he is a 7 time world champion, and the so called best f1 driver of all time, he should have shown glimpses of his natural ability.

      I’m not a fan of Rosberg, but I will admit he is amongst the top six drivers on the grid this year. Schumi might be shaving tenths of a second off him, but i only expect Rosberg to get quicker. I really dont know what you mean by beating him on the ‘brain’ factor. Schumi has the experience but clearly lacks the speed of any top tier driver in formula 1.

  7. Kovy said on 3rd April 2010, 13:51

    I was thinking I’d see Schumacher make the decision to try intermediates. I’m surprised he didn’t, and as soon as Webber did I knew he’d be on pole.

  8. S Hughes said on 3rd April 2010, 13:59

    God, leave the guy alone – he’s 41 and been out of F1 for 3 years. I personally think it was a mistake for him to come back and had a feeling Rosberg would own him, but I hate this habit of sticking the boot in when drivers don’t do so well. It’s rather unpleasant.

    • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 3rd April 2010, 14:34

      leave the guy alone

      Again, this is the first time I’ve written about him since the start of the season.

      I think some people are just as over-eager to claim he’s being unfairly criticised as others are to put the boot in.

    • Vikas said on 3rd April 2010, 14:58

      Oh c’mon, Keith has just stated facts here, and as a sportsperson I actually like a fair criticism when I don’t perform. It kinda motivates and helps me to know where I’m going wrong. Plus ‘he’s 41 and out of F1 for 3 years’ is no excuse when they are paying him so much and having selected him from a pool of highly talented people. when you’re ready to take laurels you should be ready for some brickbats too.

      • kowalsky said on 3rd April 2010, 15:34

        i agree. This is why this site it’s much better than james allen’s. He never criticizes a driver when he is not performing. He doesn’t want to make enemies in the paddock. I was even banned from the site when i questioned him about it. No wonder why they choose brundell at bbc. He even criticized coulthart, when he felt he deserved it. And don’t forget he was his manager.

      • Hello? 2 races back. he’s driving like a top driver.

    • Alonso, Massa, Button and Hamilton all out in Q1 yet Schumacher qualifies 8th and he’s the one all the papers are going on about under performing.

  9. steph said on 3rd April 2010, 14:11

    I reckon Schumi’s still getting used to the cars which are probably very new to him even in the wet. I thought the gap was big but it’ll just take time I guess.

  10. Dennis said on 3rd April 2010, 14:22

    Yeah another time beaten by Rosberg! He’s the better driver at this point. I do think Schumacher needs a bit more time, he seems to be a bit conservative, not taking the risks he took earlier in his carreer. Rosberg is just a little more confident in the car, but as Alonso said: It’s a long season and Schumacher will be dangerous. In the years where Fernando became champion Schumacher seemed stronger in the second half too.

  11. Rob R. said on 3rd April 2010, 14:30

    I’ve never been Schumi’s biggest fan either but I’m going to give him more time. He’s had 3 years away. We haven’t even got to the European races yet. Merc will probably bring a ton of updates to the car like all front running teams will. Maybe that will bring them to the front, and then we’ll really see him motivated and unleashed?

    Either way, I’m going to wait until at least Monaco to really start thinking about it too much.

  12. In the race he wil show who is da king

  13. Hotbottoms said on 3rd April 2010, 14:32

    I don’t think this article is negative at all. It even notes the fact that Schumacher used his tyres on the first lap, which was his fastest lap.

    Let’s face the fact – Schumacher was never a genius when it comes to strategy. Brawn or someone else always took care of his strategy. The couple decisions he made while he was Ferrari’s advisor were terrible. (It’s like Alonso – when he has a good car, it’s because “he’s the best driver in developing a car”).

    Rosberg was smarter one today.

    • it is usually the team boss or the engg who plan the strategies, the main job of the driver is to put his head down n drive flat out.
      we cant call it a bad strategy because no1 except webber even tried it.
      Schumi couldnt preserve his tyres 4 3 laps and his fastest wasnt fast enough, he needs to be a LOT better to challenge at the top; does tht sum it up?

      • Hotbottoms said on 3rd April 2010, 14:52

        As you can read from the article and conclude from lap times, Rosberg saved his tyres for the first lap, Schumacher didn’t. Clearly Rosberg’s strategy was a LOT better.

        Does that sum it up?

        • umm, if u consider deciding whether to push the hardest on lap1 or lap3 as strategy, then u r right!
          but even then, the conditions dint change much within those 3 laps, which means even with fresh tyres, he couldnt go faster than nico on not-so-fresh tyres.
          if u ask me, there was no gr8 strategy there…jus flat out driving to the start/finish line.

          • Hotbottoms said on 3rd April 2010, 18:47

            “umm, if u consider deciding whether to push the hardest on lap1 or lap3 as strategy, then u r right!”
            Umm, of course it is? Deciding when you push hardest is nothing but strategy. So I’m right then, thank you.

            “but even then, the conditions dint change much within those 3 laps”
            Ten cars dries the track pretty fast. Schumacher wanted to make sure he had atleast one OK lap time, so he pushed hard on the first lap. Rosberg kept it cool and made it to first row. End of story.

          • James Alias said on 3rd April 2010, 20:11

            no he did push hard on lap one but then quickly caught up and got stuck behind kubica. his laptime in the end mirrored kubica.

            i just think michael’s sort of lost and confused by present day f1, not the same as it used to be for him before he left.

            no doubt about his skill though, magnificent driver. just imagine this, four months ago he finished 7th in a Las Vegas karting event. amongst the drivers who finished 1st to 6th,

            Bas Lammers
            Norman Nato
            Jeremy Iglesias
            Arnuad Kozlinski
            Marco Ardigo
            Tony Lavanant

            my bet is, put any of them in an F1 car right now. i’d like to see how they perform!

  14. the one thing Schumacher dsnt have is time.
    he has 3 seasons(many believe this might jus be his last) and he cant go into his 2nd wih so much negativity surrounding his performance.
    nico hulkenberg did not have enough testing time, but dint he do better? there are only 2 ppl on the track who have no-refuelling experience and one of them is schumi ie he should be knowing how to take care of his tyres(ofcourse the tyres have changed).
    if he says thecar is not good, i can understand, but after the qual, i m completely disappointed with him.
    This was his best possible chance to make a statement and he blew it.

  15. Klon said on 3rd April 2010, 14:33

    Well, if he wins tomorrow … or in China – he will still have a relatively good comeback. Then he’d be at 34 points. Niki Lauda’s comeback which was given as a “good measure” included (if you calculate in the new system) 37 points in the first races, which only held one retirement, so there was nothing to blame on reliabilty as well.

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