Schumi: Seventh 'about right'
German legend not disheartened with final result despite running as high as second
Last Updated: 02/09/12 6:26pm
Michael Schumacher has conceded that his eventual seventh place finish at Spa was "about right" despite early hopes that he might mark his 300th Grand Prix with a shock podium appearance.
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The six-time Belgian GP winner had looked set to endure a difficult race from 13th on the grid after Mercedes struggled for pace in Qualifying but by Eau Rouge on the opening lap of Sunday's race he suddenly found himself in fifth after five front-running cars had been wiped out at La Source.
Once the race was restarted Schumacher then brilliantly worked his way up to third, passing both Paul di Resta and the Lotus of Kimi Raikkonen with impressive moves, before pitting amid a battle with the recovering Sebastian Vettel at the Bus Stop chicane on lap 14 - a move for which he was put under investigation for.
From there, like Vettel and runaway race leader Jenson Button, Schumacher appeared set to try a one-stop strategy but in the closing stages was quickly caught back up by the lead two-stopping runners, and despite several entertaining laps dicing with Raikkonen again, was eventually passed by the Finn and Force India's Nico Hulkenberg which prompted him to retreat to the pits for fresh tyres.
It meant the 43-year-old, who also lost the use of sixth gear in the final laps, ultimately finished seventh - but Schumacher believes he would have finished only there at best if he had stayed out anyway.
Asked if the end result was in the end a fitting way to mark his historic race, he told Sky Sports F1's Natalie Pinkham: "If you take the circumstance it has been eventful, exciting and much better than we anticipated before the race.
"Yes, quite a few cars didn't finish, but I was on the lucky end [of it]. But if you look we were fighting for the podium until a point and then strategy meant that we sort of probably ended up with the old tyres anyway seventh, so we took the decision to come in for fresh tyres and may [be able to fight at the end].
"If you look at who is in front of me, who is behind me, [at the finish] that's about right."
Schumacher added that the combination of worn tyres and a gearbox problem would have certainly cost him even more lap time.
"Without the sixth gear no doubt I would have anyway finished seventh and maybe further back because with old tyres being out there and being further easy target for the guys coming behind.
"So at least like this I had fresh tyres and was able to do reasonable lap times."