Although some were underwhelmed with Michael Schumacher’s performance on his F1 comeback last Sunday, the seven time world champion is taking small comfort.
Although the German is struggling with the Mercedes car’s tendency to understeer, and the narrower front Bridgestone tyres, he is expecting to get up to speed in the forthcoming races.
After trailing his teammate Nico Rosberg’s pace by a few tenths all weekend in Bahrain, Schumacher finished less than four seconds behind the 24-year-old at the chequered flag.
And he said during an interview with France’s Auto Hebdo: “I take a little personal satisfaction at being at the same pace as Nico in the race.
“And I was significantly faster than him in the fastest laps — three hundredths!” he joked.
However, Schumacher’s fastest lap was just the eleventh best in the field.
But former triple world champion Niki Lauda expects the winner of a record 91 grands prix to be setting the pace before long.
“I know what I’m talking about,” said the 60-year-old Austrian, who came back from retirement and won his third title.
“The old feelings need some time before they’re automatic again, but you don’t forget how to drive. Especially not when you’ve been at such a high level before,” added Lauda.