Mercedes head defends Schumacher's driving at the Italian Grand Prix

Michael Schumacher's robust defence against Lewis Hamilton at Monza last weekend has been praised by the head of Mercedes-Benz cars as 'pure racing'

Mercedes head defends Schumacher's driving at the Italian Grand Prix

Dieter Zetsche, who is chairman of Daimler as well as head of Mercedes-Benz, told media at the Frankfurt Motor Show that he was excited at seeing Schumacher fighting so hard near the front of the field.

"Michael did a great job with a car that is still not yet quite at the same level as our best competitors," said Zetsche.

"It was a thrilling battle over twenty laps; it was pure racing. I was so excited that I almost wanted to climb inside the TV! It was absolutely of the highest class.

"And if Nico [Rosberg] hadn't been crashed out by another car on lap one, we could even have seen two drivers in that position. It was a great race."

Zetsche, who was speaking after Mercedes-Benz this week unveiled its new 2012 DTM car, the C-Class Coupe, added that he expected the touring car championship to take a big step forward in popularity next year thanks to there being three manufacturers.

"F1 is naturally the highlight in motorsport; it is highly emotional and top class," he said. "That much is clear. In parallel, the DTM has developed to an exciting level. It can be thought of as easier for people to relate to and, of course, the cars more closely resemble our production models. Those are the reasons why people love this series.

"And now that we will once again have three manufacturers, it will take another step forward. People like to describe the DTM as a German series but that's not true any more, because there are a lot of international races.

"In this respect, the value of the platform grows from year to year, the races are even more entertaining to watch with genuine wheel-to-wheel action - and sometimes even a bit more - which is what motorsport fans love.

"It's also about the drivers. There are some well-known names and, as always with motorsport, they are the centre of attention. That's true in the DTM too and that makes it a great series, which is growing even bigger, just like F1."

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