Outgoing World Champion Michael Schumacher will look back on the “fun” moments of 2005 as he heads off on his hard-earned winter break, determined to make a strong comeback in 2006.
Schumacher, who this season finally relinquished the world title for the first time since 2000, has enjoyed a few highlights, including one victory, in what has been a troubled season with Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro and Bridgestone.
He said: “I have had races that were great fun and there have been others that have not been so enjoyable. There were several highlights and although there were moments that were not easy, there were moments that were satisfying.
“I thought I had a nice race in Monaco, I enjoyed that very much, Hungary was not that interesting but it was a nice event. If I have to remember something, I remember the fun races.”
Schumacher secured a battling second place in front of his Italian team’s Tifosi fans in San Marino, setting the fastest lap of the race as he fought his way up the field after qualifying down in 13th on the grid.
He used a long stint before his first pit stop to race through the order, catching the leaders by one second per lap at one stage in the race, and enjoyed a hard-fought nose-to-tail run to the flag with Fernando Alonso.
That contest marked an historic handover as Alonso went on to win the World Championship, becoming the first driver to beat Schumacher to the title this decade, after a season-long fight with rival Kimi Raikkonen.
And Schumacher said: “I am not sure it is just those two guys. They have clearly shown their potential but there are quite a few other guys around who have not got the opportunity to show themselves.
“It doesn’t really matter who it is, at the end of the day you are there to challenge people. It is not necessarily winning, I have done that so much, I just like to be in a position to fight for it.”
The Monaco Grand Prix, which Schumacher picked out as one of his favourite races, saw the German start from the middle of the pack but enjoy several wheel-to-wheel battles on his way to seventh place.
He lost the front wing of his Ferrari on the 24th lap but came back to overtake Jarno Trulli before sneaking past his own team-mate Rubens Barrichello on the final lap and trying to take his brother Ralf on the finishing line.
It was a thrilling race for the German but there were more successful ones for him, including Canada, where he qualified and finished second, and Hungary, where he claimed his only pole position of the year and also finished second.
Schumacher may have enjoyed fewer successes than in the past this season but he added: “You have to think now how (good it was) that it was possible to be successful for so long.
“There is also another point of view that it was certain our success would sooner or later come to an end and that is why some events were not as satisfying as others.
“But if you look at the results and at the end of the year you see we finished third in the constructors’ title and third in the drivers’ championship and that tells you something.”
Source : Bridgestone Motorsport