Schumacher's race descends into comedy of errors

By Brian Homewood, Reuters

Posted at Jul 30 2012 06:32 PM | Updated as of Jul 31 2012 02:32 AM

BUDAPEST - Michael Schumacher's 18th Hungarian Grand Prix descended into a comedy of errors on Sunday with the seven-times world champion's problems beginning on the grid and ending with an early retirement.

Schumacher, who took part in the race for the first time 20 years ago, has won four times at the Hungaroring but a fifth victory was out of the question from the moment he parked his Mercedes out of position.

The start had to be aborted and the field re-positioned while Schumacher's car was wheeled into the pit lane.

The 43-year-old then incurred a drive-through penalty for pitlane speeding and had to stop again due to a puncture. Although he fought his way up through the field with typical tenacity, his day ended in retirement from 18th place.

"Today was obviously one of those races that you will not look back at for very long," said the crestfallen German, who also crashed in practice on Friday.

The winner of 91 Formula One races explained that his car's engine temperatures had been very high before the start and he had switched off when the yellow lights came on.

"After I had started from the pit lane, I picked up a penalty and then a puncture. So all in all, the beginning of the race was not very pleasant for us. Everything you do not need came together," said the German.

"We did not have full telemetry before the start and during the period of overheating, and this is why we finally decided to retire so as not risk any damage which might make us suffer in the next race.

"This weekend is not one to remember, but then there are weekends like this which you can only accept. I am sure we will be looking much better in the next races to come."

Schumacher has managed one podium finish since coming out of retirement in 2010, a third place at the European Grand Prix in Valencia in June.

His first two Hungarian Grands Prix also ended in retirement in 1992 and 1993, before he notched his first win on the circuit the following year. (Editing by Alan Baldwin)