Himself a former returnee, Niki Lauda is a man to judge Michael Schumacher’s comeback.
Now in his third season since his F1 return, Michael Schumacher can’t implore the fact his been away for three years to justify his bad performances. Luckily, so far in 2012, he hasn’t had to explain why he’s slower than his Mercedes teammate Nico Rosberg, because he’s not.
He’s out-qualified the young Rosberg twice in two races, and scored the team’s only point. Mercedes is not having a particularly good start of the season, but Schumacher is.
"When you go away for three years, like Michael has, and you come back and the car they give you is no good, you have to fight it all the time," explains Lauda to Germany's Auto Motor und Sport.
"Rosberg didn't have to so much because he wasn't re-learning to drive on top of it."
This year, the Mercedes AMG W03 – unlike the W02 and the W01 – suits the driving style of the seven-time world champion.
"Finally, Schumacher can push the car the way he likes to. Nico too, pushes to the limit. But when you have in your hands a car that doesn't forgive mistakes, it's not enough. He's made a few so far and may be it's getting in his head."