European GP - Sunday - Press Conference
24 JUNE 2012
3 - Michael SCHUMACHER (Mercedes)
Q: Michael, they say you can't overtake on this track but your saw your fair share today. Welcome back to the podium. At what stage did you think this podium was a possibility?
Michael SCHUMACHER: I didn't actually think about a podium at all at the end of the race. It was crossing the line that I asked my guys 'where did we finish?' I saw Webber's pit board and close to the end it showed him eighth and seventh and I knew I was one place ahead of that one. And then boys told me 'that's third, that's podium'. I can't believe that! It's something I didn't really expect. You sort of lose count, because I was pretty busy in the last stages of the race, plus Maldonado and Hamilton had their issue. Probably normally one minus one would give us the three but I lose count at that stage.
Q: It's moments like these that brought you back to the sport I'm sure.
Schumacher: Yeah, it's those moments that definitely you enjoy deeply. It's just a wonderful feeling to back after such a long time. We were a couple of times close to it. It happened in a pretty spectacular way on a track where it is difficult to pass but due to various strategies and differences on track it was pretty exciting and that's obviously the best way, if you manage the way I did today to jump the podium unexpectedly makes you extra happy.
Q: Michael those last few laps - you took on new tyres 16 laps from the end - must have been amazing, especially with yellow flags and all sorts of things going on. What was it like? Tell us.
Schumacher: Yeah. Certainly I wasn't aware I was going in the direction of a podium. Even crossing the line I wasn't aware at that stage. But, being pretty heavily involved for most of the race in some kind of battling and then having Webber all the time on my tail and needing to fight forward but needing to pay attention to the back, that was very exciting. But that's what I'm here for: to be excited and those guys got me excited, no doubt. And hearing finally the message P3 - yeah, that's a sweet finish to an unexpected end.
Q: Particularly because you and Nico were outside the points. He finished about sixth, picking up about four places in the last few laps. Extraordinary race for you guys.
Schumacher: Yeah, we obviously had a late decision converting from a one-stop to a two-stop strategy, which meant we had good tyres towards the end of the race, when other people either did a one or an early two-stop strategy and therefore struggled by the end because they had no tyres left.
Q: And all those points must be very welcome.
Schumacher: Yeah, I guess it has changed my count a little bit, from the two points I had so far. They're more than welcome.
QUESTIONS FROM THE FLOOR
Q: (Flavio Vanetti - Il Corriere Della Sera) Michael, you were back on the podium, the first since you came back with Mercedes. Is the feeling what you imagined or is it something different now?
Schumacher: I don't know what I mentioned or didn't mention but the point is that it is a beautiful feeling, not only being on the podium but the way it has happened. It was not at all expected. All weekend, I predicted this to be a difficult one for us and it started to be difficult yesterday in qualifying, mainly because of my own mistakes and to recover from where we are, getting to third position is just awesome. The team and myself have been criticised here and there, particularly lately, and this is the best way to answer criticism, to go back and deliver as we did today, and therefore I'm proud, thankful and very excited.
Q: (Frederic Ferret - L'Equipe) Michael, you said you will think about your future during the summer. Summer is beginning and you begin the summer with a podium. Does it change something for next year?
Schumacher: I don't think I ever said any kind of time, neither did I say summer and if you may apologise, I have no further news on that matter, so give me the time that I need and we will see.
Q: (Andrea Cremonesi - La Gazzetta dello Sport) Michael, what did you feel when you were jumping on the podium and you saw two guys who were at Ferrari after you and you saw Stella (Andrea Stella, Alonso's race engineer who represented Ferrari on the podium) who was one of the...
Schumacher: Yeah, well that's what we were joking about. Andrea is Fernando's engineer and used to be our engineer in the past and in a way it's the order. The current driver he works for is first, the second last was Kimi and I was the third last. It's a funny coincidence and it's great to see him up there. He's been doing a great job. I still remember those days and I'm happy for Fernando and the team to have achieved what they did today here and particularly the words that Fernando just said, I think everybody can feel with him and I'm just happy for them.
Q: (Andrea Cremonesi - La Gazzetta dello Sport) The second question was about the difference between now and in the past. You criticised the tyres a little bit on Saturday, saying 'we can't exploit our potential.' Do you feel that your skill is penalised?
Schumacher: Forgive me if we only think about the positive aspects of what happened today.
Q: (Andrea Cremonesi - La Gazzetta dello Sport) Michael, about the championship, if you had to bet some money, would you put that money on Fernando or is there still some room for Vettel and Hamilton?
Schumacher: Things change so quickly - maybe I put money on myself.