Michael Schumacher surprised by Mercedes’ success

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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.

UPDATED: INDYCAR Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama under red-flag race stoppage due to rain

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UPDATE: The INDYCAR Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama is under a red-flag race stoppage after 19 laps due to rain and puddling on the racing surface at Barber Motorsports Park.

Cleaners and dryers are on the track to try and get some of the water off the racing surface. The low spots on the track, as well as the front stretch, have been particularly troublesome and led to several spinouts and at least two wrecks (Charlie Kimball and outside front pole sitter Will Power).

Power’s day is done after suffering irreparable damage to the left side of his car after hydroplaning on the front straight and running into the inside retaining wall.

ORIGINAL STORY FOLLOWS:

Although rain has been falling for nearly an hour and the Barber Motorsports Park 2.3-mile permanent road course is drenched, the Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama is underway on NBCSN.

The start of the race was moved up from 3:38 p.m. ET to take the green flag at 3:08 p.m. ET.

Josef Newgarden is the defending winner of this race and also will start from the pole for today’s race.

While the race is scheduled for 90 laps, there’s a possibility that if the weather worsens or if lightning appears, it could potentially be shortened to just two hours.

As can be expected, all cars are on rain tires to maximize grip.

Catch the race live on NBCSN.