Michael Schumacher broke through another incredible record ceiling at the Japanese Grand Prix, with his highly competitive run to sixth place marking the 200th race that he has finished in the points.
His rate of 75.47% of his Grand Prix starts resulting in a points’ finish is currently only being beaten by Luigi Fagioli (85.71%), Juan Manuel Fangio (84.31%), and Giuseppe Farina (75.76%), while Rubens Barrichello trails a distance second with 137 races in the points.
And on the back of his impressive drive last weekend, the seven-time World Champion believes he has made progress in getting himself more in tune with the Mercedes GP W01. The 41-year-old made the Q3 cut again and harried team-mate Nico Rosberg all race until his team-mate’s wheel fell off in the closing stages. His fastest race lap was some 1.3 seconds quicker than Rosberg’s best effort.
Schumacher – who has been the subject of many rumours that he will pack it in at the end of the season – reckons that he finally got himself dialled in at the Singapore Grand Prix (where it is rumoured that he adopted Rosberg’s set-up), however the race itself was a disaster for the veteran, who collided with both Saubers during the race.
“Honestly I have been on the pace from lap one in Singapore, in a way after just getting on the track,” he said. “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.”
Schumacher has also added that the key to his improved pace has been in understanding why he has been off-the-pace at some venues this year.
“There are some tracks and I remember in Valencia, I just struggled, quite honestly,” he added. “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.”
[Original images via Sutton Images]