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Sunday October 14, 2012

More trouble for Mercedes driver Schumcher

YEONGAM (South Korea): Mercedes were fined US$13,000 for an “unsafe release” after Michael Schumacher was involved in a near-collision with Lewis Hamilton in the pit lane in South Korea yesterday.

The German seven-time world champion pulled sharply out of the garage during qualifying for Sunday’s race, causing the McLaren man to swerve to avoid hitting him.

Hamilton, who was third-quickest for today’s race, brushed off the incident.

“I think when you are in the pit lane everyone wants to get out as fast as possible but I was already up to the speed limit when they released him,” he said.

“It wasn’t a problem, I just - instead of braking right down - sort of drove around him. So it wasn’t an issue.”

The 43-year-old Schumacher’s faltering conclusion to a glorious career hit another bump on Friday when he was officially reprimanded for impeding two other cars in practice.

He was adjudged to have got in the way of the HRT pairing of Pedro de la Rosa and Narain Karthikeyan in the afternoon practice at Yeongam, where the Mercedes driver qualified in 10th.

Schumacher, who announced in Japan last week that he was retiring for a second time, was reprimanded after a similar incident earlier this year at Barcelona.

The German was handed a 10-place grid penalty for last week’s Japanese Grand Prix after he ran into the back of Toro Rosso’s Jean-Eric Vergne in the previous race in Singapore.

Then at Suzuka he took the blame for another high-speed accident during practice, saying he misjudged the entrance to the Spoon curve before sliding across the run-off area and ploughing into the barrier, losing his front wing.

“The positive aspect about today’s performance was that we made a step forward relative to last weekend and got into Q3,” said the German legend yesterday.

“But overall, it was an average kind of day. We were expecting to end up somewhere between positions eight and ten, but things didn’t go quite right in the final sector of my quick lap.” — AFP

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