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GP Week : Issue 115
Seven-times world champion Michael Schumacher endured another weekend to forget at the wheel of his Mercedes, having failed to score points for the second time this year despite qualifying eighth on the grid. His race was all but ruined after the second lap when he unnecessarily tangled with Renault’s Vitaly Petrov at Turn 12, forcing him to pit for a new nose cone and dropping him to 22nd place. Despite making much progress he failed to sneak inside the top ten and took the chequered flag in 12th. “A lot of fighting and action today, and that was probably the positive part of my race. Obviously I am not very happy with my weekend, but I’m responsible myself for the result,” he admitted. “ The incident with Petrov kind of dictated my race: we were very close and I was surprised that we touched but it was mostly my mistake. “After making such an early stop, the way the race played out was given from there. What we can take away from this weekend in Turkey is that we have confirmed our good trend and we still have things to come to help us deliver more of our potential.” Schumacher later admitted that he is no longer experiencing the “big joy” of driving in F1 at the moment, having also endured a tough qualifying session on Saturday when he lapped a full second slower than team-mate Rosberg. Although he has one year remaining on his contract, talk like this leads GPWEEK to ask the inevitable: Is retirement mk.2 looming for Schumacher? Massa escapes ‘unsafe release’ penalty Felipe Massa was lucky to escape a penalty from race stewards after he was released from his pitbox as lewis Hamilton was trundling down the pitlane during his first pitstop yesterday afternoon. Massa had just overtaken Hamilton for sixth at turn 12, one corner before entering the pitlane, followed closely by the Mclaren. Despite being one second ahead when entering the pitlane, Hamilton’s pitcrew were significantly quicker and Massa had not been serviced quickly enough to emerge ahead. Instead he rejoined the pitlane side-by-side with Hamilton, but was forced to yield the place further down as it narrowed to a single lane. In recent years it has been the norm for stewards to hand out drive-through penalties for such unsafe releases, although there have been occasions at times when drivers have escaped without sanction. It’s possible that Massa wasn’t penalised because Hamilton did not have to take avoiding action, but it nevertheless sets a dangerous precedent ahead of a season that is sure to feature more pitstops than ever before. Ironically, later in the race Hamilton almost exited his pitbox into Massa’s path after a slow pitstop, but stopped just in time to avoid contact. Schumacher struggles again 28