Michael Schumacher has admitted that he is surprised by Mercedes’ success in 2013 following three lacklustre years with the team before retiring for a second time at the end of last season.
Schumacher is statistically the greatest driver the sport has ever seen, winning 91 grands prix and seven world championships. After retiring in 2006, the German driver announced a shock comeback in 2010 for the newly-formed Mercedes works team. However, he failed to extend his remarkable record, claiming just one podium during three years of racing.
“Given where we finished last season, it’s a surprise where they are now,” Schumacher told Eurosport. “I could not see that coming.”
Mercedes have certainly enjoyed an upturn in fortunes this season as both Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg have at least one race win under their belt, and the team has dominated qualifying in 2013 by taking 70% of pole positions. However, Schumacher does not believe he could have continued with the team into this new ‘era’ as much as he may have liked to.
“Honestly, I didn’t have the strength for it, the motivation and physical strength,” Schumacher explained. “These three years consumed so much energy that there would not have been enough left over to continue on the level at which I want to measure myself.”
The fairytale comeback just wasn’t to be for Schumacher, but his retirement allowed the team to take on Lewis Hamilton and the Silver Arrows can now arguably boast the strongest driver line-up on the grid. With the team’s tire woes also resolved, Mercedes could now be considered contenders for both championships heading into the second half of the season.
Lewis Hamilton and Sebastien Vettel are the two most decorated drivers currently on the Formula 1 grid, with seven World Championships between them (four for Vettel, and three for Hamilton).
However, their paths have rarely crossed on the track, and only in 2010 did both drivers battle each for a World Championship in the same year. They also battled Fernando Alonso and Mark Webber that year, with Vettel emerging on top to claim his first World Championship.
However, the 2017 season sees Hamilton and Vettel in the two best cars on the grid, and they have gone head-to-head multiple times already this year, with each claiming two victories through the first five races. Currently, Vettel leads Hamilton 104-98 in the world championship, and the two men are developing a strong on-track rivalry.
Monaco Grand Prix coverage continues with FP3 and qualifying on Saturday. Full times are linked here.
In Friday’s NASCAR AMERICA Motorsports Special on NBCSN, we take you behind the scenes during F1 superstar Fernando Alonso’s qualifying runs for the Indy 500, including when he was on the pole for a brief period. He’ll eventually start fifth.
On Friday’s NASCAR AMERICA Motorsports Special on NBCSN, Parker Kligerman and his backseat driver, Kyle Petty, took to the iRacing simulator to make a mock run around Indianapolis Motor Speedway in preparation for Sunday’s Indianapolis 500.
They look at the challenges of IMS, as well as the challenges two-time Formula One champion Fernando Alonso will face in the first oval track race in his illustrious career. Alonso is among the favorites in the race and will take the green flag from the middle of Row 2 (fifth position).
Check out the above video.
Sunday is the biggest day of the year in motorsports, starting in the morning with Formula 1’s legendary Monaco Grand Prix.
Then, at Noon ET, it’s the 101st running of the Indianapolis 500 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
The final part of the tripleheader of racing is NASCAR’s longest race of the season, the 400-lap, 600-mile Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
Newly-named NASCAR Hall of Fame Class of 2018 inductee Ken Squier gives you a great primer for what promises to be a memorable day around the world (see video above).