|Mercedes' German driver Michael Schumacher looks at a control screen in the pits at Istanbul Park last week during the third practice session of the Turkish Formula One Grand Prix. Schumacher finished 12th in Sunday's race. (MUSTAFA OZER/AFP)
Seven-time Formula One world champion Michael Schumacher was not a happy camper after his 12th-place finish at the Turkish Grand Prix.
Schumacher, in his second comeback season told the BBC after the race in Istanbul that he’s not having much fun.
“The big joy is not there right now ... that’s about it,” Schumacher said.
But on Tuesday Mercedes racing boss Norbert Haug said Schumacher was simply frustrated and the German driver was still competitive in spite of his poor result in Turkey.
“I understand why: People expect the very highest level of performance from Michael and Mercedes, which is fully in line with our own targets,” Haug told autosport.com. “An analysis of Michael’s lap times from practice and the race in Istanbul shows that he had good pace. Without the contact on lap two, and the time he subsequently lost having the front wing changed, he was quick enough to finish in sixth or seventh position.
“That speed isn’t wishful thinking; it’s a fact. With that kind of potential, results will follow of their own accord.”
But Johnny Herbert, a former teammate of Schumacher, said he expects this season will be the end of Schumacher’s career for good.
“Schumacher has not lost any of his skill — the new generation of young drivers are just better than him,” Herbert said.
Show and tell with Jeff Gordon
Jeff Gordon has won the NASCAR Sprint Cup championship four times.
And he has won four times at Dover International Speedway’s Monster Mile.
Gordon, however, was as nervous as a raw rookie this week preparing for the FedEx 400 on Sunday at the one-mile concrete Delaware oval.
But it had nothing to do with attempting to notch his second win of the 2011 Sprint Cup season and everything to do with speaking in front of his three-year-old daughter’s pre-kindergarden class this week.
“I was able to visit Ella’s class and talk about racing, but they were a tough group to impress,” Gordon said. “I’m glad I brought one of my helmets for show-and-tell, because they thought that was cool.”
So how did it compare to facing 42 of the best stock car racers in the world?
Well, Gordon said, when he is racing he doesn’t have to bring along a visual aid to impress his competitors.
“It was definitely a fun experience,” he said.
Dean's weekly rant
NASCAR handed down its punishment for the post Darlington Sprint Cup race antics of Kevin Harvick and Kyle Busch Tuesday with each being nicked for $25,000 U.S. and put on probation for four races.
I agree with the penalty to Busch, after all he pushed Harvick’s No. 29 Chevrolet into the wall along pit road where a number of crewmen were milling around and could have been seriously hurt.
But Harvick, sorry, I think he should have been given 25 championship bonus points for confronting Busch.
In the final laps of the Showtime Southern 500 the pair had tangled and in the immediate aftermath Busch deliberately hooked Harvick, spinning him into the infield wall.
It’s a move that Busch has perfected over his NASCAR career.
It is also a move that Harvick and countless others have used to “send a message” to competitors that they won’t be toyed with and one that NASCAR itself tacitly approved last season with its “have at it boys” decree to spice up the racing.
And if Busch is anywhere near serious about his vow to try to win over fans who see him as the villain in almost everything in NASCAR he should have gotten out of his car and faced Harvick mano-a-mano.