Michael Schumacher says he still needs time before he finds his rhythm after qualifying a quiet seventh ahead of the Bahrain Grand Prix.
The German, in his first qualifying session since he retired from the sport in 2006, finished two places behind Mercedes teammate Nico Rosberg and nearly 1.5sec off the pole position time. Schumacher admitted he is still not fully up to the pace.
"There are several reasons to it, but one is pretty certainly that I have to get back into it," Schumacher told reporters after qualifying. "I just need to get the rhythm, although slowly and progressively it has improved, but it's challenging and that's a good thing. It's just having the rhythm and having this fine-tuning and getting the car to your liking. Just make perfect use of what you have available."
He added: "I mentioned in my first test I feel like I just started in Formula 1. In Valencia during the first lap I was a bit shocked, but then I was straight back into it and felt very comfortable and it was exactly as it was in 1991 in a way. And as well as in '91, in my first qualifying I finished seventh, so here we are."
The seven-time champion said he had no special emotions ahead of his return to grand prix racing. "I'm still very focused without much of emotion, just paying attention to details. It might be different at night, but we'll find out," he said.
Schumacher said he is aiming to score good points in tomorrow's race, and admitted it will be hard to finish on the podium: "It's not unrealistic, but it's going to be tough," he said
He believes the start of the race will be intense now that the cars are heavier because of the refueling ban.
"I think it's going to be an interesting first corner. Because with these heavy cars, to sort of not have that much experience with them, it's going to be interesting. I look forward to it."
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