Michael Schumacher was all smiles after an action packed race in Austria. The German was already back home in Switzerland on Sunday night, after celebrating his win with a few friends in the paddock. "It was a really special race," said Michael,...
Michael Schumacher was all smiles after an action packed race in Austria. The German was already back home in Switzerland on Sunday night, after celebrating his win with a few friends in the paddock. "It was a really special race," said Michael, on the subject of the Austrian Grand Prix. "The reason it felt special was because I had to face all sorts of difficulties."
Victory at the A1-Ring means Schumacher is now only two points behind series leader, Finland's Kimi Raikkonen, the McLaren-Mercedes driver, who had looked in a very strong position. The win owed much to the cool and calm attitude of the German driver in the race. First of all came the two aborted starts which saw almost all the drivers move off the line, while Schumacher stayed put in his F2003-GA.
"I saw the yellow lights and immediately realised that the start was aborted. I therefore concentrated on staying in control of the tension for the next start," said Michael. He demonstrated even greater steely nerve, to the stupefaction of all, when he came in for his first pit stop. It was the second key moment in the race, as a small quantity of fuel dripped from the refuelling nozzle and caught fire on the car.
Schumacher could see the flames in his mirrors. "I could see everything in the mirrors and I immediately realised that not too much fuel was involved, so I did not feel I was in too dangerous a situation," recounted Schumacher. "The mechanics reacted with impressive speed and in a well orchestrated and safe way. I can only repeat what I said immediately after the race, which is that in a situation like this, you need to have total faith in your team and as far as I was concerned there was nothing to make feel the contrary. I have the best mechanics in the whole pit lane and I trust them completely. They reacted fantastically."
"In fact the most serious moments were immediately after the incident as I was worried about the possible damage caused by foam from the fire extinguishers," continued the German. "When I left the pits, I felt the engine gasp briefly because obviously a bit of foam had got into the air intake. Luckily, everything went off well and I was able to rejoin the race with no problems."
"I just had a slight problem with my vision, as I had already used all the tear-offs on my visor as some water had got in. There were a lot of insects and the fire extinguishers had left an opaque layer. Luckily, I managed to clean it all off while I was leaving the pit lane."
Before the next race in Monaco, Michael will be working at Fiorano from Wednesday to Friday, as the team strives to close down the gap to series leader Raikkonen, who has only won one race to Schumacher's three.