Friday 23 February 2018

F1: Michael Schumacher in the hunt for victory in the Montreal Grand Prix

MICHAEL Schumacher has thrown in the towel on his Formula One world title challenge this season, but has no doubts he is very much in the hunt for that elusive victory this weekend.

It has been a wretched start to the campaign for Schumacher who has collected a measly two points from the opening six races.

Luck has deserted Schumacher on numerous occasions, whilst other factors have conspired against him as was the case in Monaco 12 days ago.

For the first time since his comeback, now in its third year with Mercedes, the 43-year-old set the fastest time in qualifying.

However, Schumacher did not start from pole due to serving a five-place grid penalty for running into the back of Williams' Bruno Senna in the previous race in Spain.

Following an incident at the start with Lotus' Romain Grosjean, the seven-time world champion eventually retired with a fuel pressure problem.

Trailing Ferrari's Fernando Alonso by 74 points, asked whether he was thinking about the title, Schumacher said: "That's certainly not the case.

"I've said from the beginning of the season that this year would not be one in which we fight for the championship.

"I might be wrong because Nico (Rosberg) has proven he is still in the game. It's still a long year and we'll find out whether that will be the case or not.

"But from my point of view, with just the two points I've scored, I don't need to think about the title."

As an indicator of what might have been achieved, Rosberg is just 17 points behind Alonso, with the 26-year-old having scored more points in the last four races especially than any other driver.

With Mercedes also fastest in qualifying in two of the last four, the pace is certainly there within the car.

"They're nice statistics, and indeed in terms of points Nico is in the ball park," added Schumacher.

"But the next few races will determine whether we stay there or whether development goes against us.

"I don't think we will find out at this race, but I feel future races will show us the direction."

Schumacher has won seven times at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve and appeared particularly optimistic of making it eight on Sunday.

Suggested to Schumacher he was as close to winning in F1 as ever before, he said: "I'm very confident on this.

"If you look at my comeback from the start to now, we are as close as we can be to having a good result this weekend."

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