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Q & A with Michael Schumacher

Although Mercedes has not yet given Michael Schumacher to fight for wins in his comeback season, his personal form has improved to the point where questions over the wisdom of his return have all but gone away.

As he prepared for this weekend's Canadian Grand Prix, the German legend spoke to the press, including AUTOSPORT, about progress so far and his hopes for the rest of 2010.

Q. Is there any policy between team-mates at Mercedes to avoid the Red Bull case in Turkey?

Michael SchumacherMichael Schumacher: You know, what happened in Turkey is a big subject, but there's no reason for me to enter this subject. I'm sorry!

Q. You had a lot of success here in Canada, the most successful driver here. How do you feel coming back?

MS: It's indeed one of the highlights of the year. There are two reasons - one is that it always offers me an opportunity to do something unusual outside of Europe, some entertainment. The other point is that coming here, you always feel the whole city lives this grand prix. The emotion, the fans and it's very spectacular. That's what makes it special.

The track itself isn't that challenging; in a way, it's a stop and go track but with the atmosphere and with the possibility of overtaking due to the nature of the track it makes it a bit different.

Q. How far away are you from turning things around and getting to where you want to be?

MS: We are in a build-up process with the team that is going extremely well. I'm very happy with how we work together, how we progress. We don't have the package to be in front right now, and after winter testing it was not expected to be. But when I see where we are going, it's very good.

I'm sure it's part of it, but we had an upgrade anyway on the car on the aero side for Turkey, so it's a natural process that we are going through. In Turkey, it moved us ahead of Ferrari but that doesn't mean it will be the case here.

We have seen certain happenings, with one team in front or back again it's sometimes a little difficult and weird to understand why that is the case. We hope that we can stay on the forward end and so far we have always managed to pull the maximum out of our package. Nico [Rosberg] did a fantastic job to get the podiums.

Q. Is a podium possible this weekend?

MS: A wet race certainly offers lots of opportunities.

Q. What expectations did you have for yourself coming into this season?

MS: You think in terms of the championship, that's what is my aim and my focus. But then at one point you understand that your package is where it is and from there on you have to do a certain programme and process and that's what we are going through.

The year is still long. I don't think on my side that I'm really in a position to win the championship, it's more building up and organising things for what happens from next year onwards. But you never know, it's still a long year with many points to give.

Q. You've had two fourth places is a podium finish the next step for you?

MS: Whether I have another podium or not, it doesn't change anything in my records. The fact is, I like to see that we from our own strengths can drive to that position and right now we are not in this position. I was given a position due to [Sebastian] Vettel's exit in Turkey.

Right now, we are in third position in terms of the team situation and we must really work. That's what we are doing to get, out of our own possibilities, onto the podium and win races. That's what we want to do and we can do, but it takes time.

Q. Now you are in front of Ferrari, is that because of the F-duct?

MS: I'm sure it's part of it, but we had an upgrade anyway on the car on the aero side for Turkey, so it's a natural process that we are going through. In Turkey, it moved us ahead of Ferrari but that doesn't mean it will be the case here.

We have seen certain happenings, with one team in front or back again it's sometimes a little difficult and weird to understand why that is the case. We hope that we can stay on the forward end and so far we have always managed to pull the maximum out of our package. Nico [Rosberg] did a fantastic job to get the podiums.

Q. Does it still give you a huge amount of satisfaction to take a team, work with it and build it up?

MS: That's part of the reason that I am here. The driving is one thing, but working closely and having a good understanding and good atmosphere with the team, that is what is very satisfying.

Q. Does it add to it that it is a team from your home country?

MS: Certainly, if you look back at how I started when Mercedes supported me to step into F1, yes it does all fit very well together.

Q. You said before that your personal level was following a trend and that except for China it was working well for you. Would you say that Turkey was your best race of the year?

MS: No. In Turkey, I was driving the car home and I wasn't able to do anything to the front because they were far too quick for us. I was just protecting and driving to the level that nothing would happen to go backwards.

Q. So which was your best race?

MS: There's hasn't yet been a best race. Sometimes you have these very special races and moments where things really fit together perfectly and we are not there yet.

Q. Do you miss that?

MS: I know I am coming there. It's part of the reason that I'm doing this, to get to that point. But you need certain ingredients and we are still searching for those.

Q. Would you like to race at Le Mans again?

MS: It was beautiful when I did it, it was great fun. I am concerned from the safety point of view and that's why after all those years, after Formula 1, there is not much that can challenge you but the safety put me away from it.

Q. What is the main difference in your life now to how it was when you left the sport?

MS: I'm probably enjoying it a lot more because I just take the important things seriously.

Q. Is it happier to do it this way you have less stress?

MS: I'm very happy with how the whole package of my life is going, for the family, the excitement. I've no reasons to complain at all. I feel very relaxed.

Q. Is the stress one of the ingredients that makes you faster, more hungry?

MS: No. I don't need stress!

Q. Are you faster than ever because you are more relaxed?

MS: I don't think I'm faster. I just think that I'm enjoying it more.

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