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Mon Apr 21 16:58:16 SAST 2014

Schumacher writes off victory hopes

Sapa-AFP | 23 June, 2012 07:330 Comments
European F1 Grand Prix - Practice
Michael Schumacher of Germany and Mercedes GP prepares to drive during practice for the European Grand Prix at the Valencia Street Circuit on June 22, 2012 in Valencia, Spain
Image by: Mark Thompson / Getty Images

Michael Schumacher was doubtful about his chances of winning Sunday’s European Grand Prix despite finishing fourth fastest in Friday’s practice.

The veteran Mercedes driver wound up 0.267 seconds slower than his compatriot and pace-setter Sebastian Vettel of Red Bull who topped the times with a lap of the Valencia street circuit in one minute 39.334 seconds.

In spite of this, the brighter weather predicted for the rest of the weekend could have a huge effect on results and onlookers from the paddock believe the German has a great chance to become the sport’s eighth winner in as many races this season.

However, the 43-year-old has yet to finish on the podium since returning to the sport in 2010 and has only finished two races this season.

Schumacher said he was happy with his pace on Friday, but played down any suggestions that he might win the race.

“I think we are in a reasonable position but not a good enough position to win here,” he said.

“I obviously appreciate the compliments I have been given by some people in the pitlane, and I hope they are right, but at the moment I am a little bit pessimistic. We had a reasonable day though.

“I guess we can be reasonably close to the frontrunners, but I think it would be too optimistic to put us on pole position.”  His Mercedes team-mate Nico Rosberg, tenth fastest, said his team had a learned a lot about the performance of his car and was feeling more positive about his chances on Sunday.

“I’m happy with today’s practice sessions, and we were able to learn a lot on high and low fuel levels,” said Rosberg.

“I’m looking forward to the next two days and it should be an exciting race on Sunday.” 

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