Mercedes: A weekend to forget for Schumacher

2011 Turkish GP team review

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Schumacher lagged behind Rosberg in qualifying and hit Petrov in the race.

Michael Schumacher Nico Rosberg
Qualifying position 8 3
Qualifying time comparison (Q3) 1’26.646 (+1.072) 1’25.574
Race position 12 5
Laps 58/58 58/58
Pit stops 4 4

Mercedes drivers’ lap times throughout the race (in seconds):

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 51 52 53 54 55 56 57 58
Michael Schumacher 99.759 97.601 119.115 94.122 94.505 94.817 95.072 94.908 94.583 94.565 95.027 96.894 97.1 96.246 109.473 93.804 93.523 93.418 93.464 93.739 94.012 93.236 93.266 93.037 93.115 93.324 93.357 93.35 93.587 94.21 107.706 92.313 92.746 94.436 93.403 92.48 92.977 92.977 93.589 95.602 92.784 92.369 93.445 93.128 93.11 107.419 91.153 91.445 91.338 91.451 91.808 94.008 92.524 94.166 91.899 91.527 91.936 93.034
Nico Rosberg 96.559 94.608 94.412 94.348 95.428 95.776 95.299 95.664 95.04 94.997 111.58 93.397 94.149 94.229 94.219 94.285 94.193 94.537 94.97 96.548 96.644 96.396 110.024 93.92 93.106 93.367 94.161 93.045 93.102 93.445 93.657 93.616 93.481 108.23 91.711 91.877 91.619 91.359 91.336 92.223 91.588 91.782 91.8 91.74 106.213 90.92 90.573 90.889 90.825 90.687 90.871 90.763 90.808 91.279 90.605 90.673 90.917 91.607
Michael Schumacher, Mercedes, Istanbul, 2011

Michael Schumacher

It was looking good for Schumacher as he ended final practice a mere thousandth of a second slower than Sebastian Vettel.

But it started to go downhill in qualifying as he fell short of his team mate’s lap time by a full second. And this time there was no faulty DRS to explain the deficit.

He said: “It was just strange, it seemed that the more I pushed on my last lap, the more went wrong. I was at the limit of what I had in my hand but the car was just sliding around and therefore I never got into my rhythm.”

He gained a place from Vitaly Petrov at the start but refused to surrender the position even when Petrov moved down the inside of him at turn 12. Schumacher broke his front wing, forcing an early pit stop.

That left him in the thick of the action, swapping places with the Toro Rosso drivers and seeing Felipe Massa come past him twice. The last time the Ferrari driver came by it was to demote Schumacher to 12th, where he finished.

He said: “Obviously I am not very happy with my weekend, but I’m responsible myself for the result.

“The incident with Petrov kind of dictated my race: we were very close and I was surprised that we touched but it was mostly my mistake.”

Michael Schumacher 2011 form guide

Nico Rosberg

The theme of 2011 at Mercedes seems to be much the same as it was in 2010: Rosberg quietly, unobtrusively getting the job done while Schumacher’s comeback increasingly looks like a mistake.

In qualifying his W02 was ‘best of the rest’ behind the Red Bulls. But the car proved hard on its tyres on a race fuel load and despite taking second off the line Rosberg was easily passed by Mark Webber and Fernando Alonso in the DRS zone.

He fell behind the McLaren drivers over the course of his pit stops. But having kept soft tyres for his last two stints he was able to take a place back from Jenson Button to finish fifth.

Nico Rosberg 2011 form guide

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Author information

Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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82 comments on “Mercedes: A weekend to forget for Schumacher”

  1. Rosberg seems to get surprisingly little attention for the amazingly good job he’s doing. Strange.

    Not to pick nits Keith, but

    In qualifying his W02 were ‘best of the rest’ behind the Red Bulls.

    do you mean “was”?

    1. Picked and squashed. Thanks.

    2. I agree.. It’s always about Schumacher on all news sites. Rosberg never gets acknowledgement for his great races.

      1. Jury seems uncertain if it’s Rosberg doing better than average or Schumi being poorer than average.

        1. One thing is certain, unless he gets a maiden win soon, Rosberg will likely overtake Heidfeld’s record of most points without a win:

      2. Rosberg never gets acknowledgement for his great races.

        He did here.

        1. Smooth! ;)

          It’s true though, he doesn’t really get much of a mention in the general media. He just falls outside the McLaren, Ferrari and RBR bubble while everyone is focussed on Schumacher at Mercedes.

    3. Michael seems to get surprisingly little attention for the amazingly poor job he’s doing. Especially when Massa is doing better than him but gets criticised every day.

      1. What are you talking about? Every time the Mercedes results are tallied up, it’s all about how Schumacher has failed to deliver again with a footnote for how Rosberg finished higher than him.

        But not to say Rosberg has done another sterling job, it’s always in a “look how Schumacher is sliding, cuz he finished behind his young teammate again”.

        I don’t know how much to read into this, but Rosberg was interviewed before the race on the BBC and he said “his suggestions and input are starting to be taken seriously now” or something along those lines. This could (or could not) suggest that basically, it was Schumacher’s show. He is back with his buddy Ross, trying to re-start where they finished at Ferrari and Rosberg was just along for the ride. So far. And it’s taken him about a year now before they’ve started listening to him.

        And that seems odd to me. Yes, you are always going to listen to someone with Schumacher’s pedigree. But you’ve got two drivers and the other guy has to be able to deliver as well.

        1. Its a shame that Schumi’s not there yet because I think that it would be a better learning curve for Rosberg too.
          But that seems to be wishful thinking :p
          Who knows maybe MAGICALLY Schumi will start driving faster :P

  2. A shame Rosberg couldn’t even defend from Webber and Alonso (or maybe he just didn’t feel it was worth trying with DRS?).

    Schu must rue that defence from Petrov, he might have had some points again otherwise.
    Then again, is it worth struggling in the midfield for him?
    Sure, he wants to help build the team, but I think a DiResta, Hulk, or even Sutil would do just as good, possibly better in the car.

  3. i must admit now that I can’t see schumacher back on form anymore. Always been Pro-schumacher, but he is just not in the rythm anymore. to old and not in phase with the actual generation. he is not that bad though (except in some races), still quite fast in some occasions, but he doesn’t have the last few % that he used to have before. that little bit more that make the driver adapt better and go faster. all his ex competitotrs are now retired or in DTM/Nascar, he must face the reality now, his time is definitely gone…

    1. Agree. He was dangerous at times, like against Petrov and Kobayashi, being way slower than other cars that his team mate could easily control.

    2. I agree as well. If he was going to recover his form it would’ve happened by now. A rookie in that team getting the results that he has wouldn’t look bad, but for him they’re not good, especially when he’s usually outperformed by his team mate.

      Unfortunately the game has moved on, and while he still knows how to play, he can’t really keep up any more.

  4. We all must commend Schumacher here, i’ve been following him as a fan since his Benetton days and I admit he’s not the driver he used to be. But it would be wrong to judge him so early in the season.

    Besides the Petrov incident (Why is no one even mentioning Petrov’s stupid lunge?) he had a good race but was just hampered stuck in the Mid-field.

    I think the main problem I have is a lot of people didn’t start watching F1 until 2007 when Hamilton gave the sport a bit more life, so they didn’t see the years where the flawless Schumacher would win or get a podium regardless of the car he was in. Now they will just think “Wait, this is the 7 time world champion? Seriously?” I’ve already had it from friends who have no clue about F1. As a fan of him it hurts, I just hope he has a good season and proves how good he is.

    1. Well, I did see those, at least the earlier part of it, between 2002 and 2006 I hardly watched a race, for lots of practical reasons, but also because I got bored of the Schumacher/Ferrari team’s dealings. He was very impressive in the 90ties though (but again, not very likeable when we got to see him rise to success).

      He clearly isn’t able, for some reason, to be the same awesome driver, but he does seem a bit nicer fellow now.

    2. Why is no one even mentioning Petrov’s stupid lunge?

      If you mean his pass on Schumacher, then no-one’s mentioning it because it wasn’t a “stupid lunge”, it was a clean passing move.

      1. It was Schumacher that pushed him on the kerb and then steered into him.

      2. It was very optimistic though, even if Schumacher hadn’t touched him he would’ve gone straight on. He braked far too late and stormed it down the inside right as Schumi was turning in. That is reckless is my opinion.

        I’m not defending Schumacher though, what he did was stupid.

        1. There was absolutely nothing wrong with what Petrov did. The only reason it looks as though he braked late was because when Schumacher hit him the Renault bounced wide.

          Sometimes it’s hard to apportion blame in racing incidents. This isn’t one of those times. It was 100% Schumacher’s fault.

          1. I’m afraid I don’t agree with this point of view. I certainly don’t think it was a stupid lunge – but equally Petrov was not going to make the apex of corner.

            It was misjudged by both drivers – therefore a racing incident in my opinion.

          2. For reference, I am using this .gif in basing my opinions on Petrov missing the corner


          3. I also think it was a mistake by both of them. Petrov braked too late; Schumacher too optimistic that Petrov will turn normally into the corner.

          4. Haha we’ll have to agree to disagree then. ;)

          5. yeah im afraid i dont agree with you either on this one kieth- i think i’d put the blame onto both of them. Petrov had gone past the corner quite clearly before he was hit by shumacher and had made no attempt to turn in until after contact due to the fact that he braked too late on the dirty side of the track. Schumacher was wrong to anticipate that Petrov would make the corner

          6. Yes the images are clear. Petrov was going wide before Schu touched him. Schu had left just enough space for a turn at the apex but hit Petrov when he was going wide. I’d say 50/50, racing incident.

          7. Keith is spot on. Take a look at Schumacher’s post race interview, where he admits that the collision with Petrov was primarily his own fault.


            That was some of the sloppiest defending I have ever seen. I guess losing his front wing was a penalty in itself, but I thought that move deserved a drive through if he hadn’t broken his wing.

          8. I saw the interview but note he says “Mostly”, and he said he hadn’t seen it back so he couldn’t have know Petrov’s intentions really.

            It’s quite clear it wasn’t all Schumacher’s fault, just, as he says most of it.

          9. Petrov certainly wouldn’t have made that corner. Schumacher could’ve gained that 7th place back before the pit entry if he hadn’t hit Petrov. It’s possible that even Heidfeld would’ve sneaked past Petrov at turn 13. Thanks for that clip sw6569.

            One can argue that it was Schumacher’s fault for not avoiding that collision (and Schumi looked quite ragged in the head-on shot of the collision), but Petrov did make a desperate, unnecessary move at Turn 12. Especially since DRS would have been available from the next lap onwards.

          10. Petrov was not going to make the apex, but he was going to make the corner. Schumacher knew that and if you look closely he was trying to go over and under, but he didn’t leave enough space. It was Schumacher’s fault – he even said so!

          11. Petrov was partly wrong wrong I believed..

          12. Isn’t there a rule this year that says you are not allowed to force a driver onto a very wide line (like what Kubica did to Alonso last year at Silverstone)? Which is what Petrov was doing if Schumacher hadn’t turned in.

          13. I think it was a racing incident, Petrov wasn’t ever going to make the corner and from that gif it’s fairly easy to see that.
            Schumacher thought he was going to make it and if you see the gif sw6569 posted, you can see that he had left Petrov enough room (If Petrov had made the corner).

            I don’t think Schumacher was trying to do over and under, I think he was just planning to drive round the outside of him.

            I don’t think this is as controversial as people are making it sound. Part of this I attribute to Coulthard, he does like to give Schumacher a verbal hammering doesn’t he? (It happens every race).

          14. MaksutovCG
            11th May 2011, 4:29


            Hmmm.. actually when you look at that gif it really does make a bit more sense. Initially I from the camera angle that I saw on TV it really gave the impression that Schumacher drove like a novice and hit Petrov. But now looking at the gif, Petrov did indeed out-brakes himself like a novice. Schumacher just was not careful enough to stay wide to prevent the collision. So on the end yes it was Schumachers fault, but Petrov did go unusually wide.


            The only reason it looks as though he braked late was because when Schumacher hit him the Renault bounced wide.

            I suggest you take a look at the gif again. Petrov was going wide regardless, and thus went wide not as result of the bounce.

          15. MaksutovCG
            11th May 2011, 4:37


            hmmmm Actually i take that back. never mind lol… it seems he did bounce wide due to a hit from Schumacher, i didn’t see it very well myself. though im not sure if or not Petrov would’ve gone wide anyway… :-# :-X

          16. Absolutely agree…100% MS’s fault…and yet, typical of MS and one of the reasons I have never liked him nor respected him, his disingenuine comments…”surprised that we touched”…really MS?…”mostly my fault”…again, really MS? Come on…seriously…

      3. Keith, you’re not right all of the time. It’s your opinion that it was clean, but many believe otherwise. Perhaps you should present your opinion as..opinion. Not fact.

        1. I don’t believe I am.

          1. I’m with You on this one Keith. Even if Petrov doesn’t turn in as expected, Schu, should have stayed away from him, until he was able to turn in behind him. I was sorry to see him ruining a race where the car was good enough for a top 5 finish.

          2. I believed Petrov partly to be blamed.. That’s my opinion only..

    3. Besides the Petrov incident (Why is no one even mentioning Petrov’s stupid lunge?)

      Because it wasn’t Petrov’s fault? Petrov was wel and truly past when Schumacher turned in on him. That particular incident had more than a whiff of Senna’s intimidation methods about it, with the main difference being that the young drivers today really aren’t intimidated by him or his past achievements.

      1. It was a do-or-die attack, as there wasn’t enough space for a serious overtaking-manoeuvre. I think Petrov should have DRS’ed Schumacher in the next lap. ;)

    4. I dont think michael can get his head around the tyres. Remember in his ferrari days he used just drive the wheels off the car, which was fitted with a set of custom bridgestones designed to give maximum grip for x number of laps and he was a master at it. Now the tyres just arent that forgiving and personally i think hes struggling with that, and thats why we see the odd great lap
      but no consistancy.

      1. He was no better last year on the Bridgestones though.

        1. That was a control tyre though not tryes developed specifically to his requirements.

        2. What DMC means is in Ferrari days the tyres were custom built for Ferrari but if that was the main reason for his success he wouldn’t have come back and put his reputation in line. (he might have enjoyed a slight advantage though)

          1. I definatley dont think that was the main reason for his success. I just think the whole tyre philosophy has changed since his ferrari days,its interesting to note when commenting on Damon hills struggle to adapt to the grooved tyres schumi said when you cannot adapt its time to get out.

    5. Here! here! I’ve also been a fan of Schumi’s right from the start of his F1 career, when he qualified 7th in his first race and gained strength from there. To me F1 has lost something “gentelmen drivers”, Schumi still has his “give it all attitude despite the car”, not taking away the quality of drivers in the field but a lot of them are “Kamakazi” drivers too! Why can other drivers pass Schumi without contact, yet some make it their business aim to take out Schumi, which in book seems to suggest that he is still a threat and the one others need to prove their quality.

      I wonder what F1 & BBC Commintators (Martin & David) would say, if Schumi did lead a race or even win, uh! actually I know that already, NOTHING!!!!

      1. No one remembers Malaysia, Schumacher 9th and Rosberg 12th, but when Rosberg beats Schuamcher we have a massive argument.

        Schumacher still isn’t as good as he was, but I think he has been quite unlucky so far. You watch the video and Petrov was never going to make the corner, although Schumacher should have seen it coming but I suppose he couldn’t do everything at once.

  5. i think Schumacher needs to really think hard if he wants to be racing next year, i’m hoping he does well… but don’t know how he can get faster at this age.

  6. The driver formerly known as Michael Schumacher appears to peak in practice then go steadily backwards.

  7. Schumacher being retained for this season following the mediocre previous season, can only mean that he is a cash cow for the team, raking in high value sponsors, essentially a pay driver. The analogy is that of a high end prostitute. That he is ending his career in this sad way is a tragedy of staggering proportions.

  8. Things are not working for him… The first time he had a reasonable start position, he made this mistake (Petrov incident) and ruins it all.
    In the first stint (both Mercedes in soft tires) he was faster than Nico.
    But points are what count in the end.

    1. Apart for the collisions, Schumacher was driving well compared to his teammate. I don’t know what went wrong with Rosberg, but it seems his second set of tyres was performing awfully badly, as he was initially told to extend his second stint by seven laps. So the team opted for a 3 stop strategy, but the bad condition of the tyres ruined it all. Not only he was slow after his fist pitstop, his second stint was very short, given he was on hard tyres.

  9. okay here’s something that’s been in my head for quite a while now. Is it that michael schumacher was really that good (cause i dont remember seeing much of his F1 days) or was it that the car was really good back in those days and he just managed to take advantage of it?

    Cause i dont seem to get it. It’s his 2nd season now. He should be better if not awesome. I don’t see that. Or is the Mercedes GP Petronas so bad? but then nico doesnt struggle as much?

    1. Cluffy_Wedge
      9th May 2011, 16:46

      In 2004 (I think) he got something like 13 out of 18 wins, and he only got pole 7 or 8 times. Made the WDC rather dull.

    2. he was champion in 94 with an inferior (but controversial) car.
      in 96, first season at ferrari, he won 3 races including one memorable performance in spain in the rain, and finished 3rd in the championship. in 1997, he was leading the championship coming to the last race.
      from 2000, his car was probably the best hence the total domination, except 2003 maybe when they had few problems.
      he managed all those victories thanks to the overall level of preparation : testing was unlimited, ferrari was some sort of a dream team (schum, todt, byrne, brawn).
      2005 was more difficult : ferrari, like all the bridgestone equipped team, was struggling. in 2006, he was fighting for the title. his last race was absolutely brilliant, starting 10th, up to 6th or something in few laps, before a puncture that sent him at the back of the pack. he finished 4th, but that was not enough.

      he used to be the best in difficult conditions, wether it was raining (spa 94, on slicks against hill on rain tyres, spain 97, lapping 2/3 sec faster than anybody else, spa 98 before he crashed into coulthard, etc) or after bad qualifying or technical failure (finished 2nd in spain in 94 with a gearbox locked in 5th after first pit stop, did few impressive come back in suzuka, spa monaco, etc)

      1. I think in 2000 Mika’s Mclaren was slightly faster.
        2002 and 2004 he had the best car. Rubens was runner-up :)
        For those who says there was not competition, some names: Mika, Kimi, Montoya, Alonso, Button.

      2. no the thing is it looks a lot like brawn and button. Button definitely isnt an exceptional driver. but since that car was very very good compared to the others, it looked a lot like he was driving really well. and that’s how the season ended. he doing many passes, from pole to victory etc. and ferrari is a rich team. with unlimited development it was easy for that team to maintain that performance advantage. The next best i think was mclaren. but it’s engine was a mess. Leaving michael to take the title. Is it something like that?

      3. I remmember eddie irvine describing the 97 car as a death trap! Schuey fought for the title in it.

      4. Spain 1996 it is. :)

  10. Michael Schumacher has revealed for the first time since returning to Formula One that he does not like racing any more.Is that the final nail in the coffin for Schumacher.If those words are true then I think we have seen the last of Schumacher,he may retire come the end of the season.Which will be very sad for me as I wished I could have watched a GP in which he will race but that won’t happen this year.

    Nico had a tough race ahead but he ended the race well.

    1. I think Schumacher has been slightly misunderstood with his comments.

      Alonso said that he finally enjoyed racing again this weekend – because he was competitive. Schumacher was simply saying that he isn’t enjoying not being competitive.

      I don’t think thats the same as saying he isn’t enjoying F1. If Mercedes suddenly give him a winning car then he will be enjoying it just as much as he used to.

      Unfortunately, I don’t think that will happen.

      1. I agree, I think thats why he sometimes choses his words carefully, because the press haved grabbed the no joy comment and put their own spin on it.

    2. Didn’t Bernie E. say to Lauda something along the lines of: if you are thinking of retiring, you should retire right away.

      Perhaps Michael is waiting for a win to bow out in style, but I suspect he might retire at the end of the season at the latest. Bring in Nico no. 2 I say!

  11. Isn’t that headline the same for every race he’s been in since last year?

  12. I thought it stunk how DRS allowed car after car to blow pass Rosberg.

    1. It did. However…DRS is very much on a learning curve at the moment.

  13. We can’t assume the W02’s are identical, nor can we assume Rosberg’s results are due to superior driving skills. It should be quite obvious given the inconsistent times/finishes to date between the two cars/drivers that the Merc’s still aren’t working well. That is, if we are to use the benchmark set thus far by RB/McLaren.

  14. As an avid Schumacher basher, and a notorious Schumi fanboy rattler, I would rarely give up an opportunity such as this to throw in a few more jabs… but it seems like Schumacher’s driving is doing most of the talking on my behalf.

  15. I was genuinely excited for all things Mercedes at the weekend but I guess it just wasn’t to be. At least Schumacher came out and said the performance was solely down to him, respect.

    Happy with Rosberg too. It pained me to see him get ruined on Turn 11 down to 12 as a result of DRS but finishing 5th helped my predictions ;)

  16. Schumacher is one of the greatest racing drivers who’s ever lived and its so sad to see this happening. I can’t do anything but cringe when i see him sawing at the wheel on a hot lap – he’s lost the ‘edge’.
    No-one can take away his 7 titles though and as far as I’m concerned his legacy is still intact. I think he should call it quits this season, for his own sake and for MGP.

  17. Um motivo para a união Mercedes-Schumacher (além de serem da mesma nacionalidade): o piloto está aliando seu nome a uma grande marca (além da Ferrari), e a Mercedes está aliando sua marca a um grande campeão (além de Fangio). Acredito que, para a equipe, representa um simples detalhe, essa união ter acontecido já no declínio de Schumacher. O importante é que o registro permanecerá.

    1. Don’t you think commenting in English would make more sense if you want others to understand what you are saying on this blog?

      1. sid_prasher (@)
        10th May 2011, 17:10

        Maybe he is more comfortable with that language…here is a quick (and strange) translation from google:

        One reason for the union Mercedes-Schumacher (in addition to being the same nationality): combining the pilot is named after a great brand (apart from Ferrari) and Mercedes are aligning their brand with a great champion (and Fangio). I believe that for the team, is a mere detail, this union have happened already in decline by Schumacher. The important thing is that the record will remain.

  18. sid_prasher (@)
    10th May 2011, 17:25

    As a Schumacher fan, all I can say is that it is becoming harder and harder to justify his lack of results compared to Rosberg.
    But I am surprised to see some ex-F1 drivers trying to take away his past performances (check what DC and Johnny Herbert have got to say, for example here:
    No one can belittle his record which is unlikely to be ever equaled.

    1. Herberts been bitter since he was trounced at benneton by schuey.I read his comments in a column today he was saying “michael has lost none of his speed its just that all the new drivers are faster”. What BS anybody watching michaels p2 lap in fp3 on friday would realise
      how fast he still can be, the car was alive and on the limit.If he can produce that more consistently he will be right there.

      1. Oh you mean since when JH was treated like a ‘second class citizen’ (JH’s quote) at Benetton because MS insisted on seeing JH’s data, and yet JH was not privy to MS’s? Perhaps had it been fair at Benetton for JH, MS wouldn’t have trounced him…interesting how well a teammate of MS’s can do when it is a two way street on the team, like NR is showing us last year and this…

  19. It was a desperate move by Petrov as shown by the gif. He wasn’t going to make the turn and the only good outcome would’ve been Schumacher driving off course until Petrov had turned in. It appears that he was overly optimistic when he collided with him and holds himself somewhat accountable which he is. But I bet after having seen this he might have alittle different opinion. But short tire life, with minimal number and selection of tires, and the fear of their tires going off stuck behind someone I think has made this something we’re seeing more of. We saw that with HHF and other drivers sticking their cars into places and forcing the issue. As far as DRS I don’t really care for it. We might as well have fast and slow lanes because anyone on your rear wing is almost entitled to go by. KERS doesn’t bother me as much because it’s an option that both drivers have every lap and have to choose how to use it, offensively or defensively. Future drivers will be known for their skillful use of KERS and DRS to pass and hold off opponents and less for their driving skills.

  20. the signs are obvious… very soon schumi will be beating NR.

    1. What signs are these, then?

      1. The ‘Unemployment line start here’ sign?

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