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:

Schumacher

1’51.717
1’51.827
1’52.479

Rosberg

1’56.151
1’50.673
1’51.448

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

  1. mbenn said on 3rd April 2010, 14:37

    I think his “slow” comeback is more of a well paced, conservative climb to the limit. At least he’s kept it on the road at all times. It would have been so easy to push too hard today. He knows where the limits of his knowledge is and won’t succumb to media pressure to go beyond.

    • Great comment, my thoughts exactly, he could have pressured himself for the fast lap times, but instead opted for more track time, he knows this is now the only way to gather more experience, he is calculating his way back to the top, but opposition don’t get it, he is a smart type of race breed.
      Like you said he won’t go beyond his current pace, but gradually climb and gather valuable points, rather than showing fast laps and retiring.

  2. Sush Meerkat said on 3rd April 2010, 14:42

    At the head of the field was Mark Webber,[b] who a gamble[/b] to run intermediate tyres and [b]successded[/b]”

    Two grammatical errors there Keith.

    I’m glad he’s slower than Nico, I hope it stays that way, surely this is the first time in quite a while for him were the team is open in terms of data to both drivers.

    I found it hugely entertaining last week as well when Luca D

    • chris said on 3rd April 2010, 22:20

      “I found it hugely entertaining last week as well when Luca D”
      missing something? grammar what?

  3. rfs said on 3rd April 2010, 14:51

    I think Rosberg is beating Schumacher because he’s younger, fitter and hungrier than Schumacher could ever be at 41. So Schuey will have to work extra hard to find that raw pace he used to have.

  4. I hope in race mode he will show pace especially if it rains. It would be fascinating if he could reach the podium in the wet race!

  5. fbr said on 3rd April 2010, 15:07

    A) Schumacher doesn need time for adjusting his reflexes… his reflexes are gone. Or do you think gradpa at 75 has the same reflexes as he had at age 30????

    B) Nobody is in F1 for FUN… you dont get paid in exces of 20mio€ to have fun. Not even Michael. Results are expected either way.

    C) His current performace is all about we are going to see from him… thats it. Or do you again expect dominant victories at 41, when you have Alonso, Hamilton, Vettel, and even Rosberg on track, probably even with better car… nonsence.

    • Formula1 is bussiness. And Schumi is addvertisment. If u can get this addvertisment for only 7 or 8 million pounds or whatever he earns, then even with no results, Mercedes can smile :O

    • Schumacher’s cardio is probably second to none, he was racing bikes while retired and from that i gather his balance is even better than it used to be, plus your paradigm of what is fit and when it diminishes is being radically changed through time.
      Just look at some fighters or endurance competitors and see that people over 35
      are getting victorious over a young and eager challengers, and it has a lot to to with a belief system ,rather than a changed state of body tissue.

    • David A said on 3rd April 2010, 19:32

      A rather impressively large slice of nonsense from fbr there.

  6. sumedh said on 3rd April 2010, 15:10

    I have been a long time Schumi fan. And these 3 and a half races have been disappointing to watch so far.

    I think he was too complacent going into the season and that over-confidence is catching up with him now.

    Although, the positive feeling is Schumacher has hit rock-bottom now. The only way now is up. Lets hope he makes the podium tomorrow.

    • Im Schumi’s fan too for about 10-11 years. And yeah, I hoped he is better, but if he has adeal till end of 2012 then its no need to make a panic. Myb he will be champion next year. And even he hasnt been leader, I like to watch him driving. And the best, he is now doing his hobbie :)

  7. John said on 3rd April 2010, 15:21

    I have not read anything to indicate they are running the same settings, so a one second gap if one driver is running dry settings and the other wet….seems reasonable….

  8. Greg Beckett said on 3rd April 2010, 15:22

    I personally think, as much as the press built up that Schumacher would be back to his best within short time, so many people underrated Rosberg that it’s made this situation appear worse. He’s always been a consistent runner in my eyes, that’s his biggest strength, reliability. 10 out of 12 races he spent in the points in the opening of last year in a not so great car. He has a decent chance of his first ever win tomorrow, and two 5th’s before isn’t bad considering the McLaren’s and Ferrari’s are quicker.

    I’m keeping a close eye on how he progresses, but I never assumed Michael would blow him away from the outset. Possibly the toughest team-mate you could face is someone consistent when you’ve been out the sport for 3 years.

    I’ll be judging Schumacher on his second half of the season. He needs to start progressing soon though, I thought this was a golden opportunity for him to get at least second row. Poor preformance in Q3 there.

  9. wong chin kong said on 3rd April 2010, 15:29

    The title ‘Schumacher fails to shine in the wet,’ is not appropriate. It tends to solicit comments on those drivers qualifying in front of him. What about those so called good drivers, Alonso, Massa, Button, Hamilton now at the back of the grid. Qualifying times in Malaysian GP with freak unpredictable weather is like lottery draw and the grid places doesn’t tell anything on the drivers’ prowess. If it rains cats and dogs on race day, I bet the race positions will all be messed up and who knows, unexpected drivers will be in the poduim.

    • Patrickl said on 3rd April 2010, 15:41

      Schumacher was on track at the same time as Rosberg. He didn’t “fail” because of freak weather conditions or bad strategy calls. He just wasn’t fast enough under the same circumstances.

  10. sumedh said on 3rd April 2010, 15:36

    Perhaps it is the lack of testing that is hurting him.

    Schumacher is not used to this testing ban. He would generally keep testing alongwith Ferrari much more than any other team.
    Running the car only on Fridays for practice is clearly not enough for him.

    Plus, for the first time in his career he is being equal to his team-mate.

    But tomorrow is Schumi’s ultimate test. If he fades away tomorrow as well, then serious questions need to be asked

  11. Patrickl said on 3rd April 2010, 15:48

    I think Schumacher is proclaimed regenmesiter mostly for one great race in the rain and (by his own account) that was mostly because his engine was lacking power. In other races he put down some poor performances too. I don’t think he really stood out in the rain.

    I clearly remember Schumacher being pretty poor in the wet while driving for Benetton and Alesi being amazing in the rain in his Ferrari. The next season they changed teams and all of a sudden Schumacher was driving well in the rain and Alesi was strugling.

    I’d say most of the great rain performances is based on the cars handling (be it the car in general or the specific setup for that race) rather than just the drivers skill.

    • David A said on 3rd April 2010, 17:46

      Aside from Spain in 1996 (the “one great race” you may well be talking about), people rave about the time he held off Hill at Belgium in 1995 on dry tyres for over a lap, while his title rival was on wet tyres.

      I do on the other hand agree that the car setup can to an extent influence performances in the rain.

  12. Daffid said on 3rd April 2010, 15:53

    However great a driver Schumi was, he relied very heavily on being a clear number 1 with a team built around him and a car built to match his driving style (which was detrimental to his team-mates like Herbert with very different styles). Even then Rubens sometimes was quicker. In a properly equal set-up with a car he had no role in the initial development of, I never expected him to do particularly well, or leave Rosberg trailing, though I am surprised he’s been as poor as he has.

    Ultimately though the Schumi ‘myth’ – and I mean that positively – was always a construct. He was the finest of his generation, but favourable team set-ups, favourable FIA and steward decisions, most often the best car under him, and an aura that Ferrari nurtured by carefully managing the media so he was seen as infallible in order to intimidate his contemporaries, turned a probable 3/4 time champion into a 7 time champion. There’s a lot of relatively average guys that given that sort of treatment could have won a title.

    So he’s human, but he’s not lost it, he could and should still win a race this year, all we’re seeing is the reality of F1, that what happens outside the car has huge impact on what happens in it. I picked him for 7th in the championship, ok, looks like maybe 8th, still no great surprise.

  13. brendan said on 3rd April 2010, 15:54

    tho a bit slower his lap times are more consistent. nico took it easy on the first lap and so had more grip when the track was slightly better a few mins later. if it had rained just after that first lap then we would be looking at a totally different result. michael would of been 5th and nico 10th.

    nico did a better job cos he conserved his wets but that would of looked silly if the weather had turned.

    • Patrickl said on 3rd April 2010, 17:19

      Well the predictions were that it would be drier. That’s why Webber went out on his intermediates even.

      Of course the predictions are wrong a lot (start of the Australia race and Q1 in Malaysia)

  14. I his debrief he almost confess how bad he was in this qualifying:

    MICHAEL SCHUMACHER:

    “I am obviously a little disappointed with my result today as it was evident from the earlier qualifying sessions that we looked pretty good and I clearly could have achieved more. 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. Though it is good to know the limits of the wet tyres for tomorrow, now I have to concentrate fully on the race. Congratulations to Nico today for scoring our first front row qualifying result…”

    I still miss Norbert Haugh press releases:

    NORBERT HAUG

    “Today was a qualifying session where anything was possible and we saw some surprising results like three World Champions starting the race from 17th, 19th and 20th positions. Michael did the best job amongst the Champions finishing in eighth place.

  15. Yaz said on 3rd April 2010, 16:52

    Well, its a big dilemma,
    MSC vs ROS,
    Experienced vs Young,
    Has everything to lose vs has everything to gain,
    Pressure of fame vs pressure of Father’s fame
    Returner vs Shiner
    I don’t care about ROS vs I have to outperform MSC

    MSC,, he has everything to lose and nothing to gain with his comeback and to tell me that we will need couple of races to regain his form, I disagree,, Its Michael,, he was the magician of F1,, in wet and in dry,, no matter what stage of the race, fuel, tire,, he use to get it but seems that he is out of tricks, may be its due to the fact that he is under a great pressure,, yes to prove that he is still the godfather of F1,, its no longer the battle of MSC vs Prost or Senna or Mika or even ROS. This the battle of MSC (2004) to MSC (2010). You could have seen that clearly today in the Q3 garage while they stopped the race how pressured he was. Never seen it so obvious on Shumi ever before.

    As for ROS,, no question he is a skilful driver, Calm and difficult to be pressured, Hope he holds his P2 although he is not so known for aggressive overtakes,

    Prediction for Sunday:
    Safety car 1st lap, Alonza, Massa or Button.
    Shumi’s best is 6th
    Redbull 1,2

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