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Nick Fry – Schumacher is still able to challenge for the 2010 title

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Nick Fry Mercedes GP CEO insists that Michael Schumacher is still able to challenge for the 2010 title, in spite of being 75 points and the precise equal of three race wins off the Drivers’ Championship lead subsequent the first eight rounds of the season.

Halfway during next weekend’s European GP, Formula 1 will hit the half distance point for the 2010 campaign, with Schumacher having made his come back in Bahrain three months ago. But, despite being hit by a run of helpless bad luck early in the season, critics have slammed 7-time Champion’s latest Montreal performance.

Particularly, ex team-mate turned BBC television pundit Martin Brundle labeled the Canadian Grand Prix as the German’s ‘worst ever’ – an agreed feeling with on-screen coworker Eddie Jordan, whose team offered Schumacher with a first F1 drive in 1991. Despite the heavy criticism, though, Fry defends his driver.

“I’m surprised people have reached those conclusions,” he told The Guardian on Wednesday. “He was in a good position until the puncture but, when something like that happens, you get out of sequence.

“We also put him on the Option (softer compound) tyre slightly earlier than we maybe should have done, otherwise he would have been able to defend better than he did, but certainly from inside the team we see things in a totally different perspective.

“We don’t really see any significant difference in performance between Nico (Rosberg) and Michael – one is getting the breaks and the other isn’t at the moment.

“In sport, what goes around comes around. For those who have a run of luck that frequently comes to an end and the opposite happens. So we’re very comfortable with Michael’s performance and I can’t see any reason why he won’t come well. He continues to improve and he is going make a good job of it.”

Asked if title chances are shelved for this year, Fry’s response was clear: “Absolutely not. It’s all part of the learning process. I think he, and we as a team, will continue to work hard this year and do the best we can. We still want to be in the top three. Red Bull and McLaren are fairly dominant but Ferrari have had a mixed season.”

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