Michael Schumacher 'pretty happy' if Sebastian Vettel breaks records

By Andrew BensonChief F1 writer
Schumacher happy if Vettel breaks records

Michael Schumacher says he would be "pretty happy" if Red Bull's Sebastian Vettel went on to break his world records of wins and world titles.

Schumacher quit F1 with seven titles and 91 wins. Vettel is on course to win a fourth consecutive championship this year and has 31 wins at the age of 26.

He said: "A friend of mine achieving it, it stays 'in the family'."

The 44-year-old said: "I always thought records were there to be broken," adding he believed his would be.

"I didn't have statistics in my mind when I was racing," Schumacher said. "It was always a consequence - a nice consequence. I enjoyed it but it wasn't the reason I was racing," said Schumacher, who was speaking in an exclusive interview with BBC F1's Lee McKenzie, which will be broadcast in the BBC One qualifying show on Saturday at 12:10 BST.

"There is no reason the limits I set will be different because the environment changes. We had 16 races; now there are 20 races. So it is easier to win more races in a season. People arrive [in F1] a lot younger so they have a longer time they can spend in F1."

He added that, as a result of this, records set in different eras are not necessarily comparable.

"It was different with [Juan Manuel] Fangio and myself. You cannot compare his five with the seven I achieved.

"I always made it clear that those achievements of Fangio are so unique, so special, because if you look at the cars, I have the greatest respect for what those guys are doing.

"I feel a bit guilty to have broken those records because I don't think I broke them. I just set my own benchmarks and they did theirs."

Schumacher quit F1 for a second time at the end of last season after Mercedes signed Lewis Hamilton to replace him.

Schumacher's 20 years in F1

The German made a comeback in 2010 after three years in retirement with the aim of winning the championship again, but managed only one podium finish in three years.

But although Mercedes have won three races this season, Schumacher said there was no element of frustration or regret that he was not still driving.

"I'm not missing being involved in the machinery of the competition of a full season of F1," he said.

"I wouldn't have had the energy for further years. I just was empty at the end. I have no regrets.

"People asked me whether I'm still good enough to be in F1 - whether I am as good as I used to be is another question, who can answer that?

"People probably now understand a little bit more what was my quality and what I have been capable of.

"The difference was I had a three-year break and I wasn't that young coming back. But by the end of the three years my level was pretty much acceptable.

"People were expecting from a seven-time world champion more results than we were able to deliver.

"But if you look what we had in our hands [in terms of machinery], what we were able to play with, I wasn't capable to do more. That's what it is.

"To explain this is difficult and sometimes not important. What is important is the people you work with trust in you and believe in you and that's what I had."

Top Stories