Belfast Telegraph

Schumacher sorry as Hamilton takes a hit

Michael Schumacher has apologised to Lewis Hamilton after baulking the championship leader ahead of his final flying lap in practice yesterday.

Hamilton was poised to dive into the last of the 25 corners of the Valencia circuit, only for Schumacher ahead of him to surprisingly slow in his Mercedes and throw the McLaren star out of his stride.

“I must apologise as I did not see him and was not informed he was there,” said Schumacher after his first day at the track, having missed the two previous races here whilst in retirement.

“As I was planning my lap at that moment and looking ahead, I was unfortunately in his way.”

Hamilton had no qualms with the situation, appreciating the explanation of the seven-times champion.

“It's very difficult out there to always find a gap,” said 25-year-old Hamilton.

“I saw him ahead of me, but thought he was on a lap, and all of a sudden he slowed down to create a gap to the guy in front. Around here, it's all about managing the gap between the guy in front and the guy behind.

“Fortunately I missed him, so no hard feelings, and I hear he apologised anyway, so it's all good. There's no problem.”

However, it might be a different matter come qualifying today and if a similar circumstance arises between any of the drivers.

“It's going to be busy, but it's always very tricky to find a gap,” added Hamilton, who claimed pole position here last year.

“It is very important here to find a clean gap, but everyone is always backing up at the last corner, so it's a little like Monaco in that sense.

“But the best will be able to find that gap.”

Meanwhile, Jenson Button has been left amazed by Red Bull Racing's failure to “get it together” on occasion this season.

It has resulted in the perhaps surprise scenario that after eight grand prixs Button and Hamilton sit second and first in the championship, separated by just three points.

Red Bull's Mark Webber lies a further three points adrift, whilst his team-mate in Sebastian Vettel stands 19 points off the pace.

Remarkably, despite the fact there have been five different leaders in this year's title race, Vettel has not been one of them, despite the fact he was on pole in three of the first four races. That came as a shock to Button.

“They’ve had a very quick car this year, and Seb’s been very quick at times, but it’s a strange one,” Button said.

“They haven't got it together as often as I thought they would.

“In the last race in Canada they were quite quick considering the type of circuit, but again they finished fourth and fifth.

“It seems that one of their cars always has an issue in the race and they need to back off.

“I don't know if it's because they always push the car to the limit which makes them very quick in qualifying, and so they struggle in the race, I don't know.

“When they do get their act together they are awesomely quick and then they are almost unbeatable, as we saw when Webber won in Barcelona he had a perfect weekend.

“But more often than not they seem to have got it wrong somehow, be it reliability or strategy mistakes or even crashing into each other.”

Belfast Telegraph

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