Rosberg leads Schumacher home again (Chinese GP team-by-team: Mercedes)

Posted on | Author Keith Collantine

Schumacher couldn't keep Vettel behind for long
Schumacher couldn't keep Vettel behind for long

Michael Schumacher continues to struggle on his F1 return after finishing 52 seconds behind his team mate – despite the benefit of a mid-race safety car period.

Nico Rosberg, meanwhile, goes from strength to strength and is now second in the world championship.

Michael Schumacher Nico Rosberg
Qualifying position 9 4
Qualifying time comparison (Q3) 1’35.646 (+0.723) 1’34.923
Race position 10 3
Average race lap 1’55.427 (+0.933) 1’54.494
Laps 56/56 56/56
Pit stops 4 2
Chinese Grand Prix lap times: Mercedes
Chinese Grand Prix lap times: Mercedes

Michael Schumacher

Out-qualified by a Renault and almost three-quarters of a second slower than Rosberg.

Schumacher started ninth and, having made the mistake of putting on intermediates tyres on lap two, was one of the first to change back to slicks on lap four.

This got him up to fifth place but, lapping over a second slower than his team mate, who was leading, he fell prey to Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel. He put up a firm defence against Hamilton, who took three laps to find a way past, but Vettel slipped by more quickly.

After the second safety car period Schumacher became stuck behind Adrian Sutil and Felipe Massa. An early stop for more intermediate tyres jumped him ahead of them, though he lost a place to Webber at the same time.

As his tyres wore out towards the end of the race Schumacher was passed by Massa and ran wide at the final turn. He claimed the final point for tenth place, but at the rate Sutil was catching him he might well have lost that too if the race had gone on another lap.

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

Nico Rosberg

Got the maximum out of his car in qualifying and the race and might even have won had he not spun away the lead.

He qualified fourth ahead of both McLarens and inherited the lead by not reacting to the early sprinkling of rain by making a hasty switch to intermediate tyres.

He had just stretched his lead over Jenson Button to its highest – 4.5 seconds – when he skidded off at turn 11 on worn tyres:

When it started raining again, I suffered quite badly from tyre degradation on the intermediates and Jenson was able to get past. We didn’t seem to quite have the pace on inters but third place is great and we’ve made a step in the right direction this weekend.
Nico Rosberg

Had it not been for the second safety car period Rosberg would have been a comfortable second. But third place still gave him enough points to take second in the championship, 40 points ahead of his team mate.

Compare Nico Rosberg’s form against his team mate in 2010

40 comments on “Rosberg leads Schumacher home again (Chinese GP team-by-team: Mercedes)”

  1. Mark Hitchcock
    19th April 2010, 23:09

    Rosberg has been the revelation of this season so far for me. I never really thought he was that good but he’s doing a great job putting the Mercedes higher than it probably should be.
    It helps having such a poorly performing team mate as well.

    1. I saw how well he was doing in the 09 season and I just knew he only needed a front runner car to challenge the title. He is doing it well enough but he needs the car to be something close to Red Bull or Ferrari standards to take it further.

    2. I wouldn’t say Nico’s been a revelation, he’s confirmed what I always thought of him – very solid and consistent, as he showed at Williams, he gets the most of what he’s got. In that way he’s similar to Jensen – give him the package and he’ll deliver. If Mercedes can develop the car and close the gap, I’m certain he will win races.

      Obviously, it reflects well on him when his highly-touted teammate is struggling. For me, Schumi is fast becoming a figure of pity.

    3. I agree, Nico wasn’t on my radar, but he sure is now. Well done. He’s going to put the ‘balance’ of the new points system to the test: steady podium finishes vs occasional 1st or 2nd place in a highly competive field of dirvers.

      And Shumi will find his way. Time doesn’t change the ‘heart of a lion’. He’s putting it on the line in a an extra impressive field of young lions, and he’s been getting his … kicked right now. That doesn’t settle well with real champions. For them it ain’t over until it’s over.

      Appologies up front if I’m wrong, but there are 15 more races this season ??? correct?
      I’m expecting this season will be all it was touted and more.

      It’s been excellent so far.

      1. I’m quite afraid this might be the best we see from the season, The weather has nullified most of F1’s problems and ergo we have had good racing.

    4. MouseNightshirt
      21st April 2010, 3:06

      The *really* sad thing for me is that I honestly don’t know if it’s Nico that’s doing a fantastic job, or that Schuey is doing so badly that it’s making Nico look good.

      I can only judge Nico against someone who can race, which sadly, for the moment anyhow, is not Michael Schumacher…

  2. i believe rosberg is 40 ponts infront of his team mate, not 50!

    1. Typo – fixed. Ta.

      1. Sorry Keith…too many beers

  3. Time for a Piquet Jr and Schumacher comparison.

    1. hahaha. good :)
      remember last year hamilton was struggling with his car on the first races. then he got a new one, and he was going for race wins. if schumi gets a good well balanced and oversteery car for his needs, he will get quicker. maybe first not quicker than rosberg, but he WILL close the gap. he is struggling with the car right now. but he did not forget racing, just needs more time. he will make his way back to the front runners i am sure. this is quite a different situation as it was when he stopped racing at ferrari. now there are 7-8 drivers infront who are in a 0.5 second gap. so its quite a grid to climb for him now, and many new things to learn and adapt to still. he surely thought it would be an easier job when he decided to come back, but now he has a big challenge infront of him.

  4. I’ve had a theory, you know those boxers who at the height of their careers, are often grim, or extremley agressive to all, various different kinds of testosterone high fighters with intense personalities. Once they’ve retired, an I’m sure theres a medical reason for this, they mellow, some of the hardest men in the world have been known to become jovial an friendly, develop a sense of humour an start being nice to people. (Tyson, I know, it’s not perfect)

    Schumacher, “we had some nice kissing to each other” the mans become all nice, he has so definatley mellowed, he doesn’t have the hunger an the fire, because simularly to the boxers, when you are so intense, when you stop, you can’t build that intesity back again, not chemically possible, boxers often go to the other extreme, you might still have the talent, Schumi definatley does, but not the edge.

    Just a thought there, hows that for armchair psycology.

    1. He’s lost the ‘eye of the tiger’.

  5. Nico made a mistake which may have cost him in the future.When are we going to see that little bit of Michael’s MAGIC?

  6. Schumacher is still a very able racer, we see this in how he was positioning his car to prevent Hamilton from passing, that being said, He doesn’t seem to have his car right, He was really struggling o get the power down out of the slow corner.

    1. chaostheory
      20th April 2010, 9:49

      Ive noticed that too when he was defending his position from LH; and in China his car had definetly wrong setup (for MS – because it was similiar setup to Rosbergs one); his car was soo slow when coming from corners – you could see it with naked eye, something that not always so obvious.

  7. i wonder rosberg had always been great in singapore with the williams. maybe he could win this year there given he has better machinery

  8. “Nico made a mistake which may have cost him in the future”

    Would you like to explain that?

  9. One thing, too many, I’ve noticed about Michael’s engineers when he is on the grid seconds before the warming lap: his engineers which are in charge with the wheel’s covers, are just way emotional or something. You can see from TV how they tremble and can’t carry with what they’re doing (cover – uncover the wheels) in a composed manner. I wonder if this doesn’t extend also to some areas of the car setup?

  10. Schumacher had one of the most difficult races of his career, losing each of his many battles and at times being overtaken by Hamilton, Sebastian Vettel, Mark Webber, Fernando Alonso, Adrian Sutil and Felipe Massa.

  11. The SpeedTV website has an article claiming that MS will be given a completely new chassis to suit his “style” of driving. Don’t know whether or not to believe that headline. You would think he would be better able to adapt to the chassis he has since he has such a rep for getting the most out of the equipment. The car is the car and can only be adjusted to suit MS within it’s limits of adjustability. Seems as if MS should try meeting the equipment half-way. I really am surprised at his apparent inability to adapt to the equipment he has and be at least somewhat closer to Nico.

    1. Its true. He is getting a new chassis for Barcelona. New and longer nose with the front wheels brought more forward, longer wheelbase, and this way more weight to the rears. New crashtest will have to be carried out for this. The front will stick more in the corners, and the rear tyres wont get that much of straining. Also, they will make more room at the back, engine cover lowered, so to feed the diffuser (which will be new as well) with more air. They will also introduce the shark fin, with the mclaren styled f-duct fully functional. Possibly in Istambul, and there will be another major update for Silverstone. Possibly these all in different steps. I am very curious to see how it will work out. Rosberg was saying the simulator datas are very promising, so he will benefit too from the developments. If they can find 0.5 seconds, it will be well enough for fighting for wins. But the other top teams will probably find some 0.2 seconds, so its not that simple yet.

  12. Michael is driving a car conceived around Jenson Button’s driving style which will not suit him at all. Furthermore, not only will it take Michael half a season to find his feet, it will also take Andy Shovlin a substantial amount of time to unlearn everything he learnt when engineering for Jenson. He’s bound to be carrying some preconceptions on set up over from his time with Mr. Understear and this will not go down well with Schumacher who would probably like a car set up more akin to that of Lewis Hamilton. Indeed, Shovlin has probably got the bigger hill to climb than Michael and we may see him step aside before the season is out.

    1. This simply confirms what is clearly evident to those without blinders and a supply of excuses: Given identical equipment, Rosberg is significantly and consistently faster than Schumacher both in qualifying and in the races. If this pattern continues until the season is half over and, as you say, Schumacher “finds his feet” Mercedes may decide to optimize the car for Rosberg since Nico will be contending for the championship while Michael languishes back in tenth place. It’s possible that Mercedes is in this game to win races and championships, not simply to support Michael’s personal ambitions.

      1. If they are in the business of winning championships and races they have to improve Michael’s car. He is the one who is going to win the races and the championships.

  13. I never was a huge Schumacer fan before he retired, but coming back now is very brave. I think there have been quite a few rules + reg changes Michael is going to have to learn/get used to.

    Schumacer seemd to always extract more performance than the car’s potential, and when I see the onboards he’s definately holding back which may be due to lack of confidence.

    But I’m sick of BBC and EJ bringing it up every race. I think and hope Schumacer will come back to life later on in the season when he is adjusted to the changes since he left the formula.

    Not that he’s doing badly now, he’s just had an indifferent start to the season. But I wihs the Beeb will give it a rest til we get to say Hockenheim.

  14. Schumy……… i still have faith.

  15. He needs more time…..leave the guy alone.

    1. I agree, remember how long it took Alonso to get used to new tires
      in 2007. He hit his stride after half a season…..

    2. I second that, he’ll get back to the front, no doubt

  16. Two reasons why shumi is struggling

    1. He is lacking confidence. I don’t think he is pushing the car to the limit. Sometimes a shunt can actually wake you up and get you over that fear.
    2. His driving style does not suit the tyre’s. If you look at the last stint how his tyre’s degraded way more compared to Nico’s. That shows either his setup was horrible or he is too hard on his tyres.

    Sutil had a great comment about how he has to unlearn and relearn tyre management. Schumi will get it just how long will he take to learn is the question. I really feel sorry for him, but hats off to him for trying.

    His defensive skills are as good as they were, it was fun to watch the tussle between Hamilton and Schumi. However I felt Hami was giving him way too much respect.

  17. Rosberg has always been a great talent. He only needed better euipment.
    But I think Mercedes will do well by listening to Michaels input and wishes. He has always had a good ability to contribute with the evolution of the car, better than Rosberg I believe. And his ability to hold of Hamilton the way he did, indicates that he will come back in the fight when the car has been modified to his preference.

  18. Mark in Florida
    21st April 2010, 3:07

    Yes, Rosberg has gotten the better of Michael.As a fan am I disapointed? Not really, I`ve taken a realistic attitude towards it all.Firstly the cars handle quite differently now than they did in his pre retirement days.The cars now seem to push or understeer more because of the greater difference in tire size.If anyone has ever seen Michaels car data from the Ferrari days it clearly shows how Michael was able to drive so much faster than anyone else.The car tended to oversteer at the limit. Michael was able to make micro steering corrections throughout the whole curve without losing control.Midway through the season will tell where Michael`s ability`s are.It`s a very competitive field now and it will be an uphill climb to come to grips with a very different type of car.F1 has short memories look at Jenson for years commetators made fun of his driving abilities…Their not laughing now.What will they say when Michael starts to win again? A driver is just one good car from greatness.

  19. Mark, I totally agree with you.

  20. Sack MS and give “quick nick” a shot.

    I seem to remember everyone & his dog wanting Heidfeld to get the second Mercedes seat this year.

    1. Not to be contrary, but I didn’t…

      1. Okay, maybe not everybody

  21. Why defend the Schu? Driving style? Why not just get in and drive your **** off? He was King of the Traction Control Era. Now he’s having to feel and feed the power on. Isn’t that what makes a professional racing driver better than Citizen Joe? Time’s running out on Legacy Damage Control. With no testing and expectations high, it may be too late.

  22. Look how long he took to get ferrari up 2 championship standard when he left benetton.It’s the same with mercedes when he get’s the car to how he like’s it he will be flying round that track just give him time.

  23. To all you “experts”:
    Can you remember last season, when a frontrunner like G. Fisicella, who nearly won the Belgian GP switched from Force India to Ferrari? In his first race with Ferrari he found himself at the end of the field, while team-mate Raikkonen was in the first third. This may indicate that it is not so easy to adopt to an unknown car in a completely new environment. Rosberg is used to a modern F1 car and to its specific circumstances. When Schumacher had his last F1-race it was in a completely different world with technically completely different cars. So leave him the time to get used to the new situation! Not easy when testing ist not allowed!!!

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