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2012-06-26 12:44

A GRAND PRIX PODIUM AT LAST: Michael Schumacher earned his first podium since his return to F1 at the 2012 European Grand Prix.

Even the end of a 2000-day podium drought is not enough to curb the speculation about Michael Schumacher's Formula 1 future.

Although it was powered in part by Sebastian Vettel and Lewis Hamilton's misfortunes at the European GP, Schumacher's return to the podium was an emotional moment.

Veteran engineer and manager Joan Villadelprat, who worked with Schumacher at Benetton, admitted he watched Schumacher's celebrations through "blurred eyes".


It was Schumacher's 156th career podium, but he was so excited at Valencia that he forgot the "routine" and spoke in English when asked to address his fans in his native German tongue.

Realising his mistake, he roared with laughter and then started again, "Maybe in German now."

Asked if the emotion of the moment was the reason he decided to return to F1 from retirement, Schumacher agreed: "Yeah, it's those moments that definitely you enjoy deeply.

"The team and myself have been criticised here and there, particularly lately, and this is the best way to answer and therefore I'm proud, thankful and very excited."

So with a podium now in 2012 could it be time for the F1 veteran to think about a new contract for 2013?

Schumacher said: "If I may apologise, I have no further news on that matter. So give me the time that I need and we will see."

Triple world champion Niki Lauda said Schumacher is still on top of his game.

Lauda said: "His qualifying at Monaco was world class, and as we saw in Valencia, he is still one of the fastest if everything fits."


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