|© AP Photo/Frank Augstein
For a seven-time world champion, the Hungarian Grand Prix on Sunday was laced with rookie mistakes for Michael Schumacher, whose troublesome weekend started after he qualified in an uncharacteristic 17th place.
After the formation lap, the German driver lined up on the wrong grid slot following which he switched off his engine by mistake, according to former Formula 1 driver Martin Brundle, forcing officials to abort the start.
"It was obviously one of those races that you will not look back at for very long,” Schumacher said without revealing his errors. “Our engine temperatures were very high before the start, and when the yellow lights came on, I switched the engine off.”
The 43-year-old’s car was pushed into the pit lane as Mercedes mechanics worked on the car to get it started to take part in the race from the pits itself.
After the five red lights went out, Schumacher pitted for the prime tyres opting for a strategy that would allow him to go long, only to be given a drive-through penalty for speeding in the pit lane by just over 11kmph.
“After I had started from the pit lane, I picked up a penalty and then a puncture. So all in all, the beginning of the race was not very pleasant for us,” he said.
Schumacher eventually retired – for the sixth time in 11 Grands Prix this season – on lap 58 after running the race in the bottom half of the field, lapped by the leaders.
“Everything you do not need came together. We did not have full telemetry before the start and during the period of overheating, and this is why we finally decided to retire so as not risk any damage which might make us suffer in the next race,” he explained the reason for his exit.
Schumacher was also the subject of Romain Grosjean’s annoyance as the Lotus driver said that the German did not respect the blue flags when he was behind the Mercedes costing the Frenchman a prospective win.
“This weekend is not one to remember, but then there are weekends like this which you can only accept,” he summed up.
Teammate Nico Rosberg, although admittedly not ideal, managed to score a solitary point in tenth place by making up three places from the grid.
“After his first stop on lap 15, Nico was already 26 seconds down to the leader, and he lost another 25 seconds during the following 52 laps,” Mercedes motorsport boss Norbert Haug pointed out. “About half a second a lap - a gap that we experienced already at the previous races in Silverstone and Hockenheim. So it is very clear that we have a lot of work ahead of us.”