Belfast Telegraph

Pundits out of line, claims Schumacher

Michael Schumacher has accused BBC's Formula One punditry panel of attention seeking and pandering to “showbusiness” following their recent scathing criticism of the seven-times world champion.

David Coulthard, Eddie Jordan and Martin Brundle all waded into the 41-year-old Schumacher after his woeful performance in the Canadian Grand Prix 11 days ago.

Brundle, a former team-mate of Schumacher's at Benetton in 1992, in particular claimed the German drove “appallingly badly” in what was his “worst weekend since he came back.”

Even Germany's biggest-selling national newspaper, Bild, described the race as Schumacher's “blackest lap” this season.

For the record Schumacher was embroiled in an across-the-grass duel with Renault's Robert Kubica early on that forced him into a second pit stop due to a puncture just a lap after he had made his first.

Then later in the race, as team-mate Nico Rosberg made his way up the field from 13th after lap one to finish sixth, Schumacher was embarrassingly overtaken by Sebastien Buemi in his Toro Rosso.

On worn tyres, Schumacher then dropped out of the points from ninth to 11th on the final lap after being passed by both Force Indias of Vitantonio Liuzzi and Adrian Sutil.

Hitting back after being asked about the comments, Schumacher said: “I don't take them seriously because there are different elements to Formula One, and one part is showbusiness.

“So I cannot take it seriously as a realistic criticism, so I put it down to showbusiness, and to moan about me sometimes creates some attention, which maybe is to be purposely achieved.

“I'd rather not have it, or have to hear about it or have to answer your question, but that's what it comes down to for me.”

Evaluating his performance so far on his return after three years in retirement, Schumacher added: “I'm quite happy with myself.

“Yes, you make mistakes and you could have improved certain things, with hindsight.

“But all in all, I don't think there are many guys around the world who, at 41, come back after a three-year break and compete at this high a level.

“I've not lost my knowledge of driving. I know what I'm doing, and I think I do it to the best I can.

“When I won 91 grands prix and seven championships, I was thinking then about how I can improve, as I'm doing now.”

For Schumacher, his primary concern relates to tyres, in particular he is struggling to get the most out of them at key times in races.

It is part of the reason why Schumacher has mustered just 34 points from eight races, and is effectively already out of the title hunt as he trails leader Lewis Hamilton by 73 points, even Rosberg by 40.

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