The professionalism of the two FIA Formula One champion driver showed through this morning in first practice of this weekend’s Japanese Grand Prix. Perhaps being back on a race circuit and concentrating on the job at hand is what both Lewis Hamilton and Michael Schumacher needed.
Getting back into the grove of driving the most powerful and fastest racing machines may help them both focus on the rest of the season. Hamilton did not outshine his McLaren Mercedes teammate, this morning, but the Briton was seconds fastest. While the seven times champion Schumacher was fifth for the Mercedes works team.
On the day he signed with Mercedes, Hamilton said, "It is now time for me to take on a fresh challenge and I am very excited to begin a new chapter.” However there are still races to be contested and Hamilton appears to be focused on the job at hand.
Schumacher on the other hand retired once and now recently announced his second retirement from the sport that saw him set records and take not one, but seven titles. The German made the return to Formula One at the urging of Ross Brawn and Mercedes.
His comeback was the main topic back, and all eyes were on Schumacher in his first race in 2010; some expected him to climb back into the cockpit and score victories; while others were questioning his age and his ability. It did not take long for the negative comments to hit the news stand.
Did he make a right choice back then? Considering his only podium with Mercedes was a third this year on the street circuit in Valencia. Was it the German or was it the car?
One will never know since it was just 17 hours or so ago that Schumacher retired from the sport: “I have decided to retire from Formula One at the end of the season, although I am still able to compete with the best drivers of the world. This is something that makes me proud, and this is part of why I never regretted my comeback. I can be happy with my performance and the fact that I was continuously raising my game during the last three years. But then, at some point it is time to say goodbye.”
He leaves at the end of the season. For many of his fans, they hope that he can leave with at least one more grand prix victory. He currently has 91 wins in Formula One. Brawn, Mercedes team principal said, “In my opinion, he is the greatest Formula One driver, and the records which he holds in our sport speak volumes for his success and commitment.”
Lest we forget, Sauber current driver, Sergio Perez moved to McLaren next year. He is young but he came close to his first maiden win this year. Also waiting for word is Felipe Massa. Will Ferrari keep him or not?
This weekend’s Japanese Grand Prix could be interesting in more ways than one.