Schumacher hopes to keep his nose clean on first lap

Nineteen years after he qualified seventh on his Grand Prix debut, Michael Schumacher will start the Belgian GP from 21st on the grid, thanks to his Hungarian penalty.

Michael is pretty confident that he can make progress, but he faces one big problem. He’s had some great first laps this year, but rain or shine, he’s going to have to get through intact. Given that he’ll be mired in traffic, he concedes that he can’t afford any bad luck.

“That’s obviously exactly the point,” he smiled when asked about it by this blog. “You have to make sure that you be as aggressive as possible, but come with the car past the line the first time with all the pieces on the car, rather than to exit through the pits and grab new stuff, a new front wing!

“I was joking to Nico, him being put five places further back, he’s not too far away, so I’m going to meet him pretty soon I guess after the start. Let’s hope that happens and then we’ll see how the race might develop thereon.”

Michael only completed one corner on his debut, so let’s hope he gets a bit further this time! The other big talking point on the first lap is what might happen at La Source. After Kimi Raikkonen took advantage of running wide last year, the FIA is hoping to discourage a repeat.

“I think we probably have some discussion about this, whether you anticipate being pushed out, or you have to wait until you’re pushed out. Because if you look at Kimi, I mean quite honestly he wouldn’t have been able to go this line keeping the speed on, otherwise he would have had to brake. So he was anticipating to make this move to avoid maybe to slow down. Is this right, is this wrong?

“Well, we’ll find out. Luckily we have a driver colleague up there that helps the stewards to find the right decision. So Nigel [Mansell], with his experience, I hope he’s going to judge it well and have the right decision input.”

I’m not sure that Michael was too happy with Derek Warwick’s input at the last race, so it’ll be interesting to see what might unfold tomorrow…

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