Michael Schumacher is not as good as Sebastian Vettel or Nico Rosberg, but he’s still up to speed with Mark Webber.
That is the view of former ten time race winner Gerhard Berger, who until 1997 shared the circuits with F1’s only seven time world champion.
Der Spiegel quotes the Austrian as saying Schumacher, while once the fastest driver in the sport, no longer holds that mantle.
The case in point is qualifying, where Rosberg has utterly dominated Schumacher this year at Mercedes.
“In my opinion Rosberg is on the same level as Vettel; in the right car he could win races and titles,” said Berger.
“Schumacher can no longer beat them, but he is still as good as – for example – Mark Webber.”
Berger is therefore highly critical of the apparent place-swapping between Rosberg and Schumacher at Spa recently, with the younger German dropping behind to save fuel while Schumacher drove ahead on the 20th anniversary of his debut.
Norbert Haug denies Mercedes imposed team orders, also insisting that Schumacher “would not accept such gifts”.
But given the safety car period in Belgium, the German team’s claim about Rosberg running out of fuel has been ridiculed.
Former Sauber driver Karl Wendlinger told Servus TV: “Without the safety car you would have to believe that Rosberg would have run out of gas with ten laps to go.”
Added Ferrari engineer Dieter Gundel: “It is possible to make an error in calculating the fuel level before a race, but you then have to wonder why Mercedes made the error only with one car.”
© RIF | GMM