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Michael Schumacher Q&A: We'll be more aggressive in qualifying 01 Apr 2010

Michael Schumacher (GER) Mercedes GP.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 3, Malaysian Grand Prix, Preparations, Sepang, Malaysia, Thursday, 1 April 2010 Michael Schumacher (GER) Mercedes GP MGP W01.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 2, Australian Grand Prix, Qualifying Day, Albert Park, Melbourne, Australia, Saturday, 27 March 2010 (L to R): Michael Schumacher (GER) Mercedes GP with Jenson Button (GBR) McLaren and Vitantonio Liuzzi (ITA) Force India F1.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 2, Australian Grand Prix, Race Day, Albert Park, Melbourne, Australia, Sunday, 28 March 2010 (L to R): Michael Schumacher (GER) Mercedes GP with Andrew Shovlin (GBR) Mercedes GP Race Engineer on the grid.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 2, Australian Grand Prix, Race, Albert Park, Melbourne, Australia, Sunday, 28 March 2010 Michael Schumacher (GER) Mercedes GP MGP W01 leads Nico Hulkenberg (GER) Williams FW32.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 2, Australian Grand Prix, Qualifying Day, Albert Park, Melbourne, Australia, Saturday, 27 March 2010

Although his tenth-place finish at the Australian Grand Prix wasn’t ideal, Mercedes GP’s Michael Schumacher was looking remarkably relaxed in the Sepang paddock on Thursday. Schumacher reviews his Melbourne race and reveals what he plans to change ahead of this weekend’s Malaysian race…

Q: Michael, how frustrating was that first corner in Melbourne for you?
Michael Schumacher:
I have been around long enough to know that it’s part of the game. At that moment it was feeling good, and I was thinking there might be a chance of a podium. But not long after that, I was hit. They were difficult conditions, so nobody is to blame. You just get on with the job.

Q: After the race did you complain to Jenson Button?
No, no, I spoke to him about it because I wanted to check what happened, as a colleague. I have to say that he did a superb job in Melbourne that weekend. It was probably the most outstanding performance in that race. It is also fair to say that he had a slightly quicker car.

Q: Could you have stopped earlier to switch to the dry tyres?
Well, we didn’t take that decision. I was not keen at that moment to change, as I thought it was still too risky and too damp, in the first sector in particular. Once we saw what Jenson was doing, we immediately reacted. For sure, it would have helped to make the stop one lap earlier, but the difference made by that lap wasn’t much. It was stopping on the following lap that made a really big difference. I think Webber stayed out for a long time and for sure it didn’t help him either.

Q: If you had a more competitive car, do you think people would still suggest you were a little rusty?
Well, I think I had a good weekend and, from my point of view, maximized what I could do. I was quite happy with my performance. There are limits to what you can do and I drove exactly within those limits. I am not a magician.

Q: Who will be your main competition in Malaysia?
The main competition is very clearly the three teams that are in front of us. You also have Renault, who are quite close. It is our home race, in terms of our very important partner Petronas, and we obviously want to do very well for them and of course for our Malaysian fans. I am really looking forward to having a great weekend.

Q: How much will you focus on setting up the car for a perfect qualifying lap?
That will be one of the major issues here. I’ve probably been a little too conservative in my choice of set-up. In Melbourne I had a good car, and on Saturday morning we made some compromises that weren’t perfect for qualifying. We probably have to approach qualifying a little bit more aggressively.

Q: What do you expect this weekend?
I don’t know what to expect…maybe rain? For sure I’m not hoping for a wet race - especially not the kind of wet that we’ve seen here over the last three days.

Q: Have you improved as a driver over the last two races?
Yes, in Melbourne I didn’t feel rusty any more. My approach towards qualifying was a little too conservative, but otherwise I felt into it. It can only get better from here.

Q: Did you see the conditions last year that led to the race being shortened?
Yes, I was here last year. I was on the pit wall and was jointly responsible for calling our guys in too early to make a switch to the extreme wet tyres, when the conditions didn’t really require it.

Q: Is there a limit to the possibility of racing?
I would say it’s when the safety car runs into trouble trying to stay on the track.

Q: After two races, is there anything you want to change ahead of your third?
My experiences at the last two races - especially in Melbourne - makes me think that we have been a little too conservative with the set-up for qualifying. We had a very good car on Saturday morning, but started to worry that the set-up might be a bit too aggressive for the race. With hindsight, it wasn’t the best decision. So that is something I will do differently here.

Q: You say it’s fun to race, but how long will it stay fun if the results aren’t there?
I have said several times before that even if the situation in regards to results is not as rosy as I would like, racing is still something I really enjoy, And when I look back at the Australian race I have to say that there was nothing I could have done differently or better. It was the maximum for me and I am satisfied by how it went. The question is how fast we are able to develop, compared to our competitors. That is something that has to be seen.

Q: What is your goal for Sunday?
I would say that a podium place is the maximum we can achieve.