Michael Schumacher says he never expected to be his old self right away after finishing in sixth position at the Bahrain Grand Prix on Sunday. The seven-time champion, in his first Formula 1 race since he retired from the sport in 2006, had a low-key return, qualifying in seventh position and finishing a distant sixth behind Mercedes teammate Nico Rosberg.
But despite the expectations placed on Schumacher following his ultra-successful career, the German insisted he never expected to be in fully competitive form right from the start, and declared himself very happy with his performance.
"Still today, a day after my comeback race, I feel extremely well," Schumacher wrote on his website. "With regards to the fitness, this race was not at all difficult for me and I was not exhausted at all. This is partly due to the fact that those tires, in that heat, do not allow for more speed.
"But, all in all, I have to say: I am very, very happy and proud about how it went, considering I was completely out for three years and did not have a lot of driving for preparation. It would be strange to assume that I would come in, sit in the car and drive circles around the others – I, for my part, did not assume that in any case.
"What was nice was that I was very calm and relaxed prior to the race; as I was in former years. The only thing I did not manage to do this time was to sleep shortly before the start – the photos and the drivers parade simply took too much time. I only came back to the garage very late and we had to start the preparations for the race immediately."