Following his 4-pit stop race in Valencia, Schumacher recorded the worst race finish in his entire Formula One career. That's 259 grand prix starts, for those of you who are asking. Starting from 15th place on the grid, the German experienced plenty of bad luck last Sunday in a race in which he easily could have finished inside the Top 6. In the end, he had to settle for 15th place.
However, the story of the Valencia race could have been written differently for the Mercedes driver hadn't it been for his failed first pit stop on Sunday. With the safety car deployed as a result of Mark Webber's air excursion on Lap 9, Schumacher did the same thing as everybody in the field, which is make his pit stop for new tires.
Unfortunately, just as the German was trying to rejoin the field, the traffic light at the end of the pit lane turned from green to red, leaving Schumacher waiting in the car and watching the rest of the field pass him for positions.
Just to make an idea on how Schumacher would have benefited from a successful pit stop, know that he was 6 seconds ahead of BMW Sauber Ferrari's Kamui Kobayashi before making his stop. The Japanese ran more than 80 percent of the race in 3rd place, before making his stop, and eventually finished in 7th place.
Needless to say, Schumacher rejoined the field in the last spot, after which he made several pit stops to better align his car to the track condition. In the end, following his second race this season where he had to suffer from safety car issues – the first time was in Monaco – Schumacher burst out at the FIA regulations regarding the pit lane condition under safety car.
“We would like to have clarification about the safety car situation, as the red light on the exit from my first pit-stop destroyed a race which otherwise would have offered us very good possibilities,” said Schu after the Valencia action on Sunday.
“Our point-of-view is that as the safety car had passed the pits without having the cars lined up behind it, there should not have been a red light. There was a green light for a moment and then suddenly it went red again – we believe that this was not correct. Our strategy was right in that context, as we took the opportunity which could have given us a finish even close to the podium.”