Despite being much less praised than his team-mate, Nico Rosberg has out-performed Michael Schumacher in all areas so far
So far in the three races of the 2010 Formula 1 season, only two drivers have been out-qualified 3-0 by their team-mates. One of these is Vitaly Petrov, the former GP2 driver from Russia, who has a well-established team-mate in the form of Robert Kubica. He has been doing decently in the races so far, so there isn’t a problem here yet. And the other is 7-time world champion Michael Schumacher.
In Bahrain, Australia and Malaysia, Nico Rosberg, who hasn’t even won a single race yet, has beaten him in qualigying. In Bahrain, Nico was fourth while Michael was three places back in seventh. In the race, Rosberg struggled to keep up with the frontrunners, while Schumacher couldn’t make much progress. They ended up 5th and 6th. Seeing as how it was his first race back, there wasn’t much worry. But, in Australia, Nico was again a tenth quicker than Michael. In the race, Schumacher was hit at the first corner, and fell to the back. While Fernando Alonso was able to fight back through the field, the German struggled, getting stuck behind Jaime Alguersuari for over 30 laps, which completely ruined his race.
In Malaysian qualifying, with the torrential conditions, the rainmaster was expected to shine. But, he burned out his tyres too quickly in Q3, and ended up 8th, only 0.05 seconds ahead of rookie Kamui Kobayashi, in a much more uncompetitive car. Meanwhile, Rosberg did well to qualify on the front row, and got a podium in the race. Schumacher never got a chance here, as a wheel nut failure caused him to retire early on.
I am aware it has only been three races, and bad luck has played a part, especially in Malaysia. But, the simple fact is that Nico Rosberg has 35 points to Schumacher’s 9. Times have changed since Michael Schumacher was the unbeatable force in Formula 1, taking multiple championships in a dominating car. Now, the rookies aren’t scared of the 7-time world championship, as shown when Jaime Alguersuari pushed him onto the grass. The last time that happened was in 2003, again in Australia, with Kimi Raikkonen. Back then, it was a sign that the young drivers were fighting back, and it came true with a fantastic season. This time, it seems to be a sign that the Formula 1 world has moved on from Schumacher.
It is too early to make conclusions about Schumacher’s comeback just yet. But, I can’t help but worry that he will never be able to return to the top like he used to. Being in an uncompetitive car must be hugely demotivating, but this is Michael Schumacher we’re talking about. Hopefully, by the end of the year, a win could be a possibility for him and Rosberg.
But, this all hinges on whether Ross Brawn and Mercedes can pull themselves together, and give the German duo a competitive car. What do you think will happen?