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GP Week : Issue 168
30 GPWEEK.com // 30 GPWEEK.com // PARTNERS: F1 >>> SINGAPORE Michael Schumacher suspects a technical issue caused him to collide with Jean-Eric Vergne’s Toro Rosso in Singapore, which resulted in the German being slapped with a 10-place grid penalty for the Japanese Grand Prix. Schumacher, aged 43, was at the tail end of the top ten with Vergne immediately ahead of him after the first safety car intervention when, on lap 38, the seven-time World Champion’s Mercedes W03 slammed into the rear of Vergne’s Toro Rosso as the Frenchman fought with Sergio Perez’s Sauber for eighth place. Schumacher, who will start ten places back from wherever he qualifies at Suzuka, said: “It was obviously a very unfortunate ending to my race this evening when I ran into the car of Jean- Eric Vergne, who accepted my apology straight after wards. I am not totally sure why it happened; I was braking but the deceleration was not as strong as it usually would be and I couldn’t avoid running into the car in front of me. We have to find out what has happened.” Toro Rosso’s Vergne was on for another strong points finish at the time and, while he admits to being disappointed, he remains pragmatic about the incident. “Our strategy worked very well and the Safety Car also played out in our favour,” said Vergne. “My pace was very good and I was lapping as quickly as the front runners, so it was much better than we had expected. It’s just a shame the weekend didn’t end with the points for eighth or maybe even seventh place. As for the accident, I was focussing on catching Perez at that point, so I’m not too sure what happened, but I assume Michael braked a bit too late and couldn’t avoid running in to me. There is no sense in being angry about it, because these things happen in racing and even the most experienced driver on the grid can make mistakes! He said sorry and that’s the end of it.” SCHUMACHER STRIKES AGAIN