Schumacher: 'A race in Germany is always special'

Michael Schumacher can look forward to noisy support from his loyal home fans at this weekend’s German Grand Prix—and not much else.

A victory seems out of reach for the seven-time Formula One champion and his underachieving Ferrari team.

“Regardless of the circumstances, a race in Germany is always special,” Schumacher said on his website this week.

“The Grand Prix of Germany, that always brings a bit of extra motivation. You just look forward to this race a little more,” Schumacher said. “There’s always a fantastic atmosphere there.”

After completely dominating last season, Schumacher finds himself trailing Renault’s Fernando Alonso by 34 points after 11 of 19 races.

Alonso has 77 points after five wins this season, McLaren-Mercedes driver Kimi Raikkonen has 51, and Schumacher has 43.

Schumacher’s only win came at the troubled United States Grand Prix, when seven of the 10 teams pulled out because of tyre problems.

“We’re not trying to hide the fact that we’re a little bit on the hunt for our performance right now,” Schumacher said.

“But another thing we’re not hiding, either, is our team’s dedication and fighting spirit.

“Contrary to many other people’s opinions, we have in no means written ourselves off, even though we have to admit that the situation has worsened recently, rather than improved.
But that doesn’t mean that it can’t be improved again, and that’s exactly what we’re working on.

“So I’m hoping we’ll be able to show our fans a good fight. Our competitors will surely be strong, but we’ll definitely put in our best. And then we’ll have to see how well we can do,” said Schumacher, who was testing up until Wednesday.

While Schumacher’s chances for a fourth win at Hockenheim appear slim, the McLarens will be hoping for a second straight victory at what is the team’s home circuit.

“I am really looking forward to racing again this weekend in Germany,” said Juan Pablo Montoya, who got his maiden win in a McLaren car in Silverstone.

“I enjoy racing at Hockenheim, I have performed well here and won in the past,” he said.

His teammate Raikkonen will be hoping to reduce Alonso’s lead.

“The battle for the championship is still on and I am determined to get a good result and work on closing the gap,” Raikkonen said.

Alonso remained confident.

“Like every weekend, we will be aiming to finish with our cars on the podium. More than that is difficult to predict at this stage, until we have started running and seen how the balance of the car is,” the Spaniard said.

“But my last two races were very strong, and I think that again in Hockenheim, the car will be very competitive. We have some new developments which will bring us a little more performance, and I think the characteristics of the circuit will suit us.

“Against that, McLaren will be very motivated to succeed at one of their home races, so we know it will be a big fight,” Alonso added. “We just need to do the maximum possible from the start of Friday practice to the end of the race, stay consistent, and take the biggest number of points that we can.” - Sapa-AP

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