x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 16 January 2018

Schumacher unscathed after crash

The seven-times world champion lost control of his Mercedes GP exiting Turn 6 on the opening lap of the race.

Vitantonio Liuzzi, the Force India driver, crashes into Michael Schumacher, the seven-time champion, at the start of yesterday’s race.
Vitantonio Liuzzi, the Force India driver, crashes into Michael Schumacher, the seven-time champion, at the start of yesterday’s race.

ABU DHABI // Michael Schumacher walked away unscathed from a frightening first-lap crash yesterday and blamed himself for causing the incident.

The seven-times world champion lost control of his Mercedes GP exiting Turn 6 on the opening lap of the race at Yas Marina Circuit and spun around.

Vitantonio Liuzzi, who could not see Schumacher's spin, crashed straight into him, with the Force India-Mercedes riding up over the front of the German's Mercedes and the left-front tyre ending up inches from the cockpit and Schumacher's crash helmet.

Both men walked away unharmed from their cars.

Said Schumacher: "I am totally fine and was not hit by anything in the incident. I had to go to the medical centre just for a precautionary check.

"I went off the line, spun, and because of the dirt there, the back of the car just came around. It's a shame, obviously, as I would have liked to finish the season with a more positive ending."

His teammate, Nico Rosberg, had a better day as he finished fourth after a decision to pit behind the safety car at the end of the first lap following Schumacher's incident.

He paid tribute to the team principal, Ross Brawn, for making the decision.

"I'm very pleased with fourth place and it's the best that we could have hoped for from my grid position," Rosberg said.

"Special thanks to Ross and James Vowles for a great strategy today.

"We had a good pace on the hard tyres, just like in qualifying, and I was able to make the most of that performance when it mattered."

Brawn said: "As a team, we achieved the absolute maximum with the car that we have with a great call on strategy from the guys on the pit wall and a well-executed pit stop.

"Then it was an excellent and controlled drive from Nico who found the pace exactly when he needed it."