Michael Schumacher enjoyed the best race of his come-back in Canada as he finished less than half a second from a podium place, whilst team-mate Nico Rosberg endured an incident-packed afternoon and finished outside the points in eleventh, crossing the finish line without a front wing on his car.
ï»¿“I am leaving this race with one eye laughing and one eye crying, as I am not sure if I should be excited or sad about it,” said Schumacher, reflecting on an interesting afternoon. “Having been in second place towards the end, I would obviously have loved to finish there and be on the podium again. But even if it did not work out in the very end, we can be happy about the result and the big fight we put in.
“A good strategy after the red flag made it possible, and I am very happy for our team. I would also like to send a big compliment out to the spectators who stayed with us in those difficult circumstances for so long and even cheered us up. That was impressive, and I am glad that I could play my part in entertaining them.”
Rosberg was in a points-scoring position before damaging his front-wing in a collision with Kamui Kobayashi on Lap 66 of 70. The wing came off the car on the final lap but Rosberg nursed the Mercedes across the line.
“It was a very demanding race this afternoon,” said the German. “In general, everything was okay with my car and, at the end, I was up there in the points but I made a mistake at the hairpin on lap 66. I was trying to overtake Kobayashi and was very close behind him in turn 10; he slowed when I didn’t expect it, I hit the back of him and damaged my front wing, which then came off on the last lap.
“The same thing had happened to me, but in reverse, when Sutil hit me. I could perhaps have been a little more aggressive with some of my stops today, pitting a little earlier, but it’s always difficult to judge the risk. Although my result was not so good, I’m sure it was an exciting race for the fans in front of the TV. We have some positives to take from this weekend, and we will look to give a strong performance next time in Valencia.”
Team principal Ross Brawn said, with hindsight, that the team’s decision to switch both drivers to intermediate tyres was the wrong strategy but praised Schumacher for some good driving in the latter part of the race:
“After our intermediate tyre strategy during the first part of the race didn’t work out, we were looking a little stranded in 11th and 12th positions when the race was red flagged, but we recovered the situation well,” he said. “Michael stopped for intermediate tyres on lap 34 when the Safety Car came in, which enabled him to gain a number of positions, and Nico did the same two laps later.
“It was a thrilling race and Michael drove beautifully in the second part; he did a strong job on the intermediates and the option tyres, but was unable to hold off Jenson and Mark’s faster cars, particularly when they had the use of DRS. Even so, it was a fantastic drive to climb eight places and finish fourth.
“Nico had a more difficult time: he got hit by Sutil, but climbed back from that and looked set for a solid points finish until he lost his damaged front wing on the final lap which left him in 11th place. Overall, it was an exciting and extremely challenging but ultimately positive race for our team.”