Hello and welcome to the Sidepodcast F1 Advent Calendar 2010. This is Day 7. So far in this extended season review miniseries, we have got as far as the first race in Bahrain, and talked the debut winner, and the debut teams. Now we're focusing on someone who was making a return to the sport Day 7 - The comeback king.
Felipe Massa's accident in Hungary 2009 saw Ferrari ask Michael Schumacher if he would be able to make a return to deputise for the Brazilian. The multi-world champion agreed but ultimately couldn't participate due to an existing neck injury.
The close call had sparked something in the German though, and he set about beefing up to make himself fit and ready for an official F1 comeback. It came as no surprise, then, when the rebranded Brawn team - now the very German Mercedes GP - signed up a certain Mr Schumacher. Teamed with compatriot Nico Rosberg, Michael was keen to get going on his return to F1.
There was a lot of interest when he got behind the wheel for Free Practice on Friday in Bahrain, and in both sessions he finished two places behind his teammate. FP1 saw him 10th, FP2 saw him third. Not bad for someone blowing the dust off. Qualifying again saw him two places down, seventh behind Rosberg's fifth. In the race, he improved to sixth and picked up some very valuable points. A solid, but not outstanding return.
And that is pretty much the story of the entire season for Schumacher. 2010 for Michael held only two retirements, and five races with no points at all. The rest saw points places, with his highest position a fourth place, which he managed to secure at three different races. You could sense some disappointment from Schumacher throughout the year, but also some resignation that it was never going to be possible to jump back in to winning ways. The real embarrassment is that he was routinely beaten by his teammate.
However, the man himself admits that it took a while to get comfortable in the car, and that he really didn't feel properly on the pace and back to his old ways until more than halfway through the year. He said: "Honestly I have been on the pace from lap one in Singapore, in a way after just getting on the track. But that was a race where, for whatever reason from a certain point, the performance dropped away significantly. We made some analysis and we saw some reasons, but it was very awkward.
He also pinpointed where he's struggled: "The harmony with car, tyres and myself did not work very well together, but in general it is reasonable. It is not what I expected or wanted to be, but I see the reasons why and I have good feeling that in future it will be different."
That was just after the Japanese GP weekend, but I suspect that remains true for now, and for next year as well. Schumacher has been re-signed for 2011, along with Rosberg, and he doesn't seem to be in any hurry to call it a day once more. The desire to work with the team and regain competitiveness is still strong, so age be damned, Schumacher will carry on.
That's all for this episode of the F1 Advent Calendar 2010. We are an entire week into this mini series, and tomorrow we're moving on to Day 8, and I promise we can leave Bahrain behind us. Let me know your thoughts on the series so far, and I'll see you tomorrow.
All content in the series F1 Advent Calendar 2010
Filed under Mini Series
References Felipe Massa, Michael Schumacher, Nico Rosberg
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