The last season of Michael Schumacher’s return is shaping up to be the seven-time Formula One champion’s worst after the Mercedes driver crashed out of the Spanish Grand Prix on Sunday.
The German driver ran into the back of the Williams of Bruno Senna to leave both drivers out of the race after 13 of the scheduled 66 laps at the Catalunya Circuit.
Schumacher, who had started seventh, failed to finish for the third time in five races. He has twice finished 10th, for a season total of two points.
The 43-year-old Schumacher didn’t finish three of his first five races during the 2005 season with Ferrari, but also managed a second- and a seventh-place finish.
“It is not easy to see from the TV replays but what happened from my viewpoint was that he went to the right to defend the inside line, and then suddenly, shortly before the braking point, went to the left,” said Schumacher, who started eighth and felt points were in the offing. “When you are so tight together in the braking zone, you have no other choice than to try to react and avoid hitting but it was too late.”
Teammate Nico Rosberg, who won the Chinese GP, finished seventh behind winner Pastor Maldonado of Williams.
While Senna tried to carry on, Schumacher slid into the gravel before throwing his steering wheel out of the car in frustration.
Schumacher hasn’t won a race since the 2006 Chinese GP, with his last top-three finish also coming in Shanghai. His best finish for Mercedes has been fourth.
Senna called the bust-up a racing incident after eventually abandoning due to damage to his rear wing and a puncture.
“I braked quite late … but I think I left him enough space to get around,” Senna said. “I wasn’t expecting to be there at that point with him in the back of me. We just spoke about it and we agreed to disagree.”
Stewards sided with Senna over the incident, with Schumacher being handed a five-point starting grid penalty for the upcoming Monaco GP.