Schumi plays down Monaco chances

Michael Schumacher

Michael Schumacher is optimistic that his Mercedes will be closer to the pace in Monaco, but warned his fans not to get carried away about his return to the track where he won five times in his original Formula 1 career.

Although Schumacher achieved the best result of his comeback by taking fourth in Spain, and also out-paced team-mate Nico Rosberg all weekend for the first time, the whole team was frustrated to be over a minute behind winner Mark Webber's Red Bull at the finish.

Schumacher believes the latest Mercedes will be more in tune with Monte Carlo, but played down expectations.

"We go there and hope that the characteristics of the street circuit suit our car better than in Spain last weekend," he said.

"On the other hand, we should be careful not to expect too much this time as we have seen in Barcelona that there is still a lot of work ahead of us."

But the German legend said his personal breakthrough in Spain had fired him up even more to get Mercedes on the lead pace as soon as possible.

"Other than having achieved my best result so far this season, I have taken with me a lot of motivation to work even harder with our engineers to improve the car further," he said.

Schumacher first won the Monaco Grand Prix with Benetton in 1994, repeating the result the following year.

He took a famous triumph in the wet for Ferrari in 1997, then won again in the dry in 1999 and 2001.

But Monte Carlo was also the scene of some of the lowest moments of Schumacher's F1 career, as he crashed on the first lap in 1996 having wrestled that year's uncompetitive Ferrari to a remarkable pole, and was put to the back of the grid in 2006 when the stewards ruled that he had deliberately stopped on track to try and prevent Fernando Alonso beating him to pole. ITVSport

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