While many are calling the return of 7-time champion Michael Schumacher a mistake or suggesting he has lost his luster, at least one person sees it differently. While some drivers have remained quiet and others have had a jibe or two, Red Bull’s Sebastian Vettel is supporting the elder German and his skills.
Vettel describes Schumacher as something special and suggests he has neither lost his race craft nor his desire to win. In fact, Vettel says a win is still certainly possible telling ITV:
“Obviously he has been criticised a lot lately in Germany, England, everywhere I think,” said Vettel.
“I think he does a very good job – I don’t think it’s easy to stop for three years and then come back.
“I think if anybody can manage it, he can.”
“Obviously the car he’s in at the moment is probably not the most competitive one, and it’s always hard from the outside to make a fair judgement about what is going on, if the car is to his liking or not,” said the Red Bull star.
“I still think he can play a very big role in this year’s championship.
“I think Mercedes will come back, they will have strong races this year and I think they can be able to win races.”
Vettel has seen first hand what driving with Schumacher is like. In the British Grand Prix the two Germans tussled for position when Vettel was grinding his way back up the grid from an early tire puncture.
“You can feel that it’s not just anybody racing you,” he said.
“I remember the race in China, there was a lot of passing and so on, but you realise he knows how to defend well and he knows how to kill your run, let’s say, and to defend his position better than most.
“In some other actions you see, like in free practice, it shows you there’s something special going on.
“Obviously the results are not the best, but I think that will change.
“If someone wins seven titles, you’d think he had to be something special.”
As we’ve discussed on the podcast, this year has more Germans on the F1 grid than ever before and the German fans have a lot of heroes to show up at the German Grand Prix for. Vettel suspects they are all still showing up for Schumacher though:
“I don’t think you can take his place, he is still the best known racing driver in Germany,” said Vettel.
“Due to him, Formula 1 is a very big sport in Germany.
“I don’t think people will forget that quickly, but surely with good results, drivers like Nico [Rosberg], myself and others can get better known, but Michael is still a long way ahead in those terms.”
Good to see some pleasantries from a fellow countryman and at least a realistic look at the situation from a drivers view. Vettel is certainly being gracious with Schumacher and perhaps that’s so he can save all his rhetoric for that mad Australian teammate Mark Webber.