Budapest, Hungary, August 6. Michael Schumacher says his hopes of winning an historic eighth world championship aren’t lost, despite his retirement from Sunday’s Hungarian Grand Prix.
Schumacher was battling BMW-Sauber’s Nick Heidfeld for third place when a track rod broke on the Ferrari and he crashed out of the race.
Schumacher’s retirement meant he didn’t add significantly to his drivers’ championship points tally, though the gap to series leader Fernando Alonso has dropped by one point after officials disqualified BMW’s Robert Kubica when they found his car to be underweight. That elevated Schumacher from ninth and no points, to eighth and one point. He’s now 10 points behind Alonso.
Alsonso also retired - after a driveshaft broke on his Renault as he was leaving the pits. He had been battling with eventual winner Jenson Button (Honda) for first place. He didn’t add to his points total
"The track rod broke as Heidfeld went past,” Schumacher said. “We touched, partly because the track was still a bit slippery. These things happen.
"Did we take a risk staying out on track with intermediate tyres in the fight with my rivals? “That's the way I am. I always want to fight for the top which is why I have won so often. There are still five races to go. Nothing is yet lost and I will give it my all in trying to win the title."
Schumacher’s teammate Felipe Massa came home eighth (later elevated to seventh by Kubica’s exclusion).
Ferrari team boss Jean Todt said the changing weather affected the behaviour of his cars. “In the first (wet) part, we were not competitive, but then the situation changed in our favour (as the track dried).
“With just a few laps to go, it looked as though we were going to get a good result with Michael, especially given that our closest rival (Alonso) had retired."
Todt said Schumacher was trying to defend his position on normal rain tyres on a track that had dried, against rivals who were on dry weather tyres and were therefore much quicker than him.
"With hindsight, it is easy to say that this situation could have been avoided, but there is no point in crying over spilt milk. There is not much to take home from this grand prix, but we know we have a very competitive package, which means we are very much aware that we can still take the title fight down to the wire in both championships."
Ferrari strategist Ross Brawn said that in the final stages of the race, “we decided to leave Michael out on track on standard rain tyres, because we hoped we could hang on to a good position."