Michael Schumacher Q&A: Its time to repay Mercedes 26 May 2012
Even his five-place grid penalty couldnt stop Michael Schumacher smiling after he clocked the fastest qualifying time in Monaco on Saturday. With fans chanting Schuey, Schuey, it seemed like the Michael of old was back. What he can do from P6 on the grid on Sunday remains to be seen, but the seven-time champion is determined to make the best of it and finally pay back Mercedes for their unswerving faith in him
Q: Michael, one fast lap is one thing, doing a whole race is quite another. Last season the car destroyed the rear tyres after some five or six laps - how will it be tomorrow?
Michael Schumacher: You have seen our car this year. Sure, we have had some ups and downs in the early part of the year, but now we understood how to deal with the circumstances and we know what is required here, so we should be fine.
Q: How soon after youd secured the fastest time did the annoyance of knowing you will have to start from P6 kick in?
MS: Believe it or not, not at all. I already said before I came here that I will start from P6, so it was clear for me that I would clock the pole time! (smiles) I came here with that basic setting and that has not changed in the course of the weekend. I dont chew on things that I cannot change - and the five places were an unchangeable reality.
Q: All the time prior to Q3 youd been in the P4, P5 range, and then suddenly your performance exploded. Was that purely down to you?
MS: Well, it is nothing that you really can influence so much here at this track. But the fact is that with the last set of tyres all the pieces fell into place after wed made alterations to the car here and there to finally have it perfect. Fact is also that in Q1 and Q2 you basically try to qualify for Q3, so that puts the lap time into context because when you drive you see how your lap time is developing and you try not to overdo it in that phase of qualifying. But that is what I guess all are doing who know that they have a competitive car.
Q: Pole time, but P6 on the grid: do you see any chance to better your position with a shrewd strategy?
MS: Yes, indeed, I very much see the chance in a good strategy. How much further to the front that will bring me will have to be seen. I know that we have a very good package for this race, for this track, so now we have to execute it tomorrow. I want to pay back to Mercedes for all the trust theyve put in me. Lets hope it is payback time on Sunday afternoon (laughs)
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