Michael Schumacher: Mercedes ‘heartbreak’ from lack of victory

Lewis Hamilton breaks Michael Schumacher’s win record

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Some of Mercedes’ key personnel have revealed their “heartbreak” from not seeing Michael Schumacher take a win during Formula One comeback with the team.

Ahead of their domination during the V6 hybrid era, Mercedes signed the seven-time champion in 2010 alongside Nico Rosberg – however they had to wait until 2012 to pick up their first pole position.

Schumacher, who had been out of Formula One since 2006, set the fastest time during qualifying for the Monaco Grand Prix, however he acquired a five-place grid penalty – nonetheless showing the gradual progression for the Silver Arrows.

The German failed to snatch a win for the team, and in 2012 stood on the podium for the final time during the European Grand Prix in Valencia before stepping away from the sport.

A year later in December 2013, Schumacher was left fighting for his life after a skiing accident in the French Alps, not much has publically been said about his condition since.

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However, speaking on F1’s Beyond The Grid podcast with Mercedes chief engineer Simon Cole, trackside engineering director Andrew Shovlin, chief strategist James Vowles and sporting director Ron Meadows, the four reflected on Schumacher’s time with them.

“I was over the moon and I think it was one of the best laps he’d probably ever done in his life,” said Vowles, reminiscing about the Monaco pole position.

“But I was heartbroken, truly heartbroken for him that this is a guy that we all wanted – around this table and within the factory – for him to win a race, because he deserved it frankly, and he put so much effort into the team and so much of his life into the team that it was payback for him and that was his opportunity through the year.

“And I was heartbroken with the fact that that one race was where he dropped back. I felt for him – I still feel now – he didn’t get all the results that he deserved given the amount he was putting in the team.”

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Meadows added: “Given how he helped us improve, I think certainly my biggest regret was not seeing Michael win a race for us, because he was a different level of driver than we’d ever worked with at that point.

“I really believe we all wanted him to win. It didn’t happen. A couple of years later we couldn’t stop winning and he deserves some of that because the reason we’re winning today, a lot was down to him because he made us better.”

Schumacher was 43 in his final year in Formula One with Mercedes, and Vowles explained at this point, age could’ve been a limiting factor.

“The thing that wasn’t perhaps picked up from before is one of the things that made him incredibly strong is actually something we’ve picked up on now, but he knew where he was weak and he accepted where he was weak and tried to improve on that all the time,” said Vowles.

“He had shortcomings in terms of how he was able to drive the car relative to Nico, but he was very conscious and aware of that and doing what he could to remedy those areas. But the areas which, in truth, part of it was age, where he wouldn’t be helped to find anything on it, were there. I think he also knew that was his time.

“I just wish he won his race because one more year, that would have been a fantastic year for him.”

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