Schumacher blames himself after crash

Mercedes driver escapes unhurt after German GP practice mishap.

Afp July 20, 2012


Seven-time drivers world champion Michael Schumacher blamed himself after he walked away unhurt from a heavy crash in second free practice for the German Grand Prix yesterday.

Schumacher said he was not concentrating properly in difficult, wet and treacherous conditions and lost control of his Mercedes car when it ran over a white line on the circuit. It was a major shock for the crowd in the stadium section of the Hockenheim circuit with four minutes remaining in a session topped by Venezuelan Pastor Maldonado in his Williams.

His car suffered heavy damage to all four corners and the practice session was red-flagged and halted.

“I’ve not been concentrating fully,” said the German. “I was on the radio and I was doing some other changes to the car and touched the white line. It was my own fault.”

Schumacher finished 23rd on a very tricky day for the teams, with rain coming and going both in the morning session, topped by Briton Jenson Button in a McLaren ahead of teammate and fellow-Briton Lewis Hamilton, and the afternoon. The 43-year-old-German conceded that the changeable conditions meant the day was not too useful to him in preparing for the weekend when he hopes to lead Mercedes’ bid to grab a podium position.

“It didn’t help us a lot, because the conditions were so inconsistent that we couldn’t learn a great deal. It is what it is, so you have to make the best of it. We are going to qualify probably in wet conditions so that’s why it makes sense to go out and try the car and get the set-up right and so on. But it’s guesswork for Sunday, definitely.”

Maldonado fastest in second practice

Pastor Maldonado finished fastest for Williams during the rain-affected second free practice session.

The Venezuelan, who was ninth fastest in the morning’s opening session, topped the times with a lap of the Hockenheim circuit in one minute 27.476 seconds midway through the session. A heavy downpour preceded the session and effectively suspended proceedings for 20 minutes as drivers elected not to go out on the track until conditions had improved. Track times steadily got quicker and Spanish Grand Prix winner Maldonado edged out second-fastest German Nico Rosberg of Mercedes midway through the session seconds before more rain arrived.

Intermittent rain followed and although teams were able to continue testing their cars, the 27-year-old’s time stood strong until the end of the session.

Defending drivers’ champion German Sebastian Vettel was third fastest for Red Bull followed by Mexican Sergio Perez of Sauber and Frenchman Romain Grosjean of Lotus. Force India driver German Nico hulkenberg was sixth fastest followed by Australian Daniel Ricciardo of Toro Rosso.

Published in The Express Tribune, July 21st, 2012.


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