Mercedes: Schumacher climbs 19 places to fifth

2011 Belgian GP team review

Mercedes had their best result of the season so far in Spa.

Michael Schumacher Nico Rosberg
Qualifying position 24 5
Qualifying time comparison (None) No time
Race position 5 6
Laps 44/44 44/44
Pit stops 3 2

Mercedes drivers’ lap times throughout the race (in seconds):

http://www.f1fanatic.co.uk/charts/2011drivercolours.csv
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44
Michael Schumacher 128.39 118.669 117.961 120.908 127.857 115.502 115.468 115.163 115.455 115.974 117.569 116.292 134.369 155.767 170.986 167.727 115.924 115.005 114.736 114.398 114.743 114.556 114.436 115.048 114.19 114.868 114.721 114.726 114.916 115.37 118.083 126.974 111.509 111.137 111.748 111.759 112.026 112.298 112.518 112.027 113.115 112.332 112.592 112.545
Nico Rosberg 119.687 117.378 117.652 116.624 116.963 116.966 117.906 117.586 117.076 118.029 120.827 131.377 129.54 152.829 172.647 169.382 115.017 114.476 114.108 114.32 114.46 114.302 114.235 114.332 115.073 115.722 114.997 114.988 115.364 118.645 127.181 112.456 112.279 112.308 112.566 112.409 112.44 112.426 112.263 112.374 113.477 113.48 112.677 112.723
Michael Schumacher, Mercedes, Spa-Francorchamps, 2011

Michael Schumacher, Mercedes, Spa-Francorchamps, 2011

Michael Schumacher

Schumacher started his 20th anniversary race weekend by going fastest in first practice. But qualifying was ruined when a cross-threaded wheel nut caused the car to shed its right-rear wheel at Malmedy. Schumacher was helpless to avoid a crash which left him last on the grid.

He dodged the first-corner crash at the start and picked off the two Virgins on the Keemel straight to end the first lap in 15th place.

He passed Paul di Resta at Les Combes on lap two, avoiding a penalty despite cutting the corner as he went around the outside of the Force India.

Three laps later he pitted to discard the medium tyres he had started on and run the rest of the race on softs. He came out in front of Jenson Button, and after both took advantage of the safety car to pit again, they climbed through the pack into the points.

Button took Schumacher on lap 21 but the Mercedes driver continued to make progress. He demoted Adrian Sutil on lap 34 and the caught his team mate, who he passed to finish in a remarkable fifth place.

Schumacher felt that was the limit of what the car could do on the day: “I think more than fifth place would not have been possible today but making up 19 places was a good feeling.”

Michael Schumacher 2011 form guide

Nico Rosberg

Rosberg took fifth on the grid, flying through first sector quicker than anyone else.

He made an exceptional start to take second, then used the Mercedes’ excellent straight line speed to take the lead off Sebastian Vettel at Les Combes.

But when DRS was activated on lap three Vettel came past Rosberg again for the lead. Vettel pitted three laps later but Rosberg lost out to a pair of DRS-powered overtakes from Fernando Alonso and Lewis Hamilton.

Rosberg slipped behind Massa during the safety car period but immediately passed the Ferrari at the restart. Ten laps later he surrendered fourth place to Button.

Running a conventional strategy, Rosberg used the medium tyres for the last stint, but that left him vulnerable to his recovering team mate. He held Schumacher off for a few laps, but was also being told to save fuel, which the team later insisted was not a coded team order to let Schumacher past.

Schumacher took Rosberg with two laps to go, leaving him sixth. Ross Brawn said afterwards: “Towards the end, we told him to trim his fuel: although we had a Safety Car period, one doesn’t use this to save fuel under the current rules because any fuel saved is simply extra weight carried through the rest of the race, and at that point his fuel consumption was on target.

“In any case, it didn’t cost him a significant amount of lap time, and the decisive factor was that Michael was on the soft tyre at the end while Nico was on the medium, which was around a second a lap slower.”

Nico Rosberg 2011 form guide

2011 Belgian Grand Prix

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82 comments on Mercedes: Schumacher climbs 19 places to fifth

  1. Icemangrins said on 30th August 2011, 20:42

    wonder who had the tougher day.

    Michael Schumacher

  2. AndrewTanner (@andrewtanner) said on 30th August 2011, 21:28

    Rosberg left me literally speechless at the start of the race, incredible stuff. He was tight as hell round La Source. Definitely up there for start of the season. Such a shame to see him succumb to Vettel’s DRS but I guess it was an inevitability that if DRS didn’t do it, the RB7’s superb cornering speed would.

    A really, really great result for Mercedes and I hope they keep it up. Monza should suit them well.

  3. Harry Palmer (@harry-palmer) said on 30th August 2011, 23:03

    “Yeah that’s all well and good, but for my money MS has made mistakes this year (and in his ‘brilliant’ drive on Sunday almost did it again needing to cut a corner after passing PdR)”

    In other words you can’t dispute anything I said but you choose to talk about other races where MS has made mistakes this year rather than genuinely admitting you’re in any way wrong, wow there’s a shock! As for the corner cut on Di Resta if you watch the clip without your blinkers on, you would see he was past 100m before the corner. Yes there was a cut and he braked too late to make the apex but if you think he would have caused a crash by braking at the proper point you’re even more blinded by this obsession with picking fault in every little error of Schumacher’s than I thought possible!

    “MS may have finally caught up to NR at times, but my goal here is to point out that if it weren’t for a multi-car incident and a safety car MS would have done nothing special, and compared to NR’s lack of kudos for his brilliant start, I think it warranted mention.”

    Fair enough perhaps that’s partly true but the reality is, as much as you wish these events didn’t happen, they did and MSC took full advantage – which is one of the points I made that you chose to ignore so you could make another of your anti-schumi posts that are both tedious and predictable in equal measure.

    The fact is that as well as Nico drove you can’t really expect an article discussing how someone produced an amazing drive to finish behind where they qualified even if the drive was in many ways as good as a charge through the field from 24th to 5th. The fact is it’s just not headline material and until he “plays with the big boys” and wins no-one is going to write those stories. 5th to 3rd would probably be newsworthy, 5th to 6th will never be. Sure, Nico made a good start and drove a decent race but it was never going to generate headlines, you surely must see that?!

    “not enough fuel to fight a battle in the top 5 or 6 even with a safety car that day. Plenty of fuel to go from 24 to 5 though…wonder who had the tougher day.”

    Nico and Michael did good jobs from different starting positions on different strategies. I at least appreciate that and am happy to see a Mercedes in 5th and 6th. It’s a shame you don’t feel the same way really and feel the need to belittle anything Schumacher does because of some petty grudge that compels you to make negative comments on any thread where someone praises him at the expense of “poor Nico”!

  4. I taken back the crazy word but not the obsessive hate, i think yes you are, judging from many of your comments. And you forgot he was in lesser car, the drive to front not just many stops and safety cars but his experience and quality drives..changeable weather that’s why he is the rainmaster. the next races shame he made some mistakes otherwise he could be in higher places or could be in front of Nico, judging from his race pace better than Nico, Norbert Haug also stated that in his interview.
    No respect or hate him, he already got many respect and credited by many as one of the greatest despite his controversy and i believe last weekend would be very “painful” for you to see many tributes for Schumacher so your no respect thing didn’t change anything

  5. Harry Palmer said on 31st August 2011, 14:46

    Exactly Mgn, not respecting him for past indiscretions is one thing but it doesn’t excuse this blind criticism of everything he does in the present… Robbie, I thought your comments were based purely on petty bitterness and now you’ve confirmed it for me, cheers!

  6. I guess they are just playing a joke or impress by Schu drives in Spa. You even pointed that comment out showing how much you dislike Schumacher.

  7. Harry Palmer said on 31st August 2011, 16:27

    “Harry…I think you have done an equal job of ignoring my points and repeating the same arguments…eg. you seem to think overcooking it and having to cut the corner after passing PdR is meaningless, couldn’t possibly have resulted in a crash…with PdR…because he was already past him…

    My point being, MS showed to me he was once again overdriving the car, like in past races where it has cost him a wing and done damage to other driver’s cars/days…so my point was that even if he was well past PdR, it’s not just about that…overdriving, cutting corners, and going over curbs has cost drivers a spin, or a broken wing or floor on many occasions, and could have cost him the race and could have involved PdR if MS had gotten out of shape more than he already was from cutting said corner. It’s not just about potentially coming close to contact with PdR, it’s about him overdriving the car and being lucky not to have that result in something worse than it did. It’s a sign to me that in spite of his highly praised drive on Sunday, he almost threw it away, again, which there are prescedents for in this very season…and it wasn’t me that suggested this was almost penalty worthy.”

    I accept he misjudged the corner but my feeling is it was a minor error and wasn’t serious enough to cause a spin or a broken wing etc as was in fact the case. Lots of drivers cut corners in a race – it would only really be evidence of ‘overdriving’ if it was repeated (and I’m talking about in this race) which it wasn’t. The fact that you only ever pick up on it when it’s Michael doing it is what is annoying – If Nico did the same thing you would ignore it as a one-off minor error in the course of the race, as would I for the reasons I said before.

    “It is not a criticism of MS to point out he was lucky so many cars moved out of his way at the start.”

    Yes but it is disingenuous to suggest that it was entirely down to luck as you have…

    “It is not a criticism of MS to point out he was lucky a safety car came out that allowed him a tire change and to catch up to the field.”

    I never said it was, the team made a good strategy call and he took advantage of it I never claimed this was down to his driving ability

    Those are just the realities of MS’s ‘brilliant’ drive, which to me are not brilliant at all…just the realities of racing sometimes, just luck, but in actual showing of driver skill, how much did MS show? He showed he can overcook the car still. He showed he can get by cars that haven’t normally belonged in front of the Mercedes all season long. He showed a few good passes, which should be expected from a 7-time WDC. But to me, the reality is he is not exactly going to be trying to start from the back from here on in…odds are, in order to come 5th from last some things are going to have to happen to help you along the way…otherwise quali would be a lot less meaningful and drivers would just shrug off such grid positions.”

    I did already make the point that there would need to be a degree of luck involved to move through the field from 24th and that the reason people are talking about it is that superficially it sounds more impressive. I know the reality is somewhat different and yes Nico deserves more credit – but my point is you seem to feel Michael deserves none at all, it’s all ‘just luck’, which I think is a bit harsh… just my opinion and yes it would be boring if everyone thought the same way!

    “Btw, can you tell by now that you are not going to sway me from this argument, just as I have figured out that you will not be swayed? Thank goodness we don’t all think alike…wouldn’t life be boring otherwise.”

    Yes, I can see that (due to his chequered past) you’re never going to be a member of the Michael Schumacher appreciation society, but maybe you could accept that when he has a good race now it’s not all down to luck? As you say, he is a 7 time champion… I know the answer’s probably no, but I live in hope! ;)

  8. Icemangrins said on 31st August 2011, 18:43

    It is not a criticism of MS to point out he was lucky so many cars moved out of his way at the start.

    On turn 1, he was mature enough to pause & dodge the collision and choose a different line. As Riccardo was going over the debris, he choose a different line and overtook him. He passed two Virgins right after Eau Rouge… and I don’t recollect them moving out of his way (except Bruno) who had a damaged nose cone. Not sure if you watched a different race in a parallel universe.

    It is not a criticism of MS to point out he was lucky so many cars moved out of his way at the start.

    Are you going to hold the circumstances against his result and if you say Yes, we all have to give up posting replies because I think you are ignorant. If you term this lucky, we have many instances from the past… like Fernando’s 2006 Suzuka.. he was lucky to win the race and eventually WDC since MSC’s car engine gave away. Until that point, MSC refused to give away the lead. More instances to fit your logic – Heiki wouldn’t have won his first GP if not for Felipe’s car problem and ditto for Robert Kubica’s firs win in Canada. End of the day what matters the most is the net result…. he managed to climb 19 places to finish 5th. If you can’t digest that, stop bothering others.

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