Greater Noida: Champions have egos and if you are seven time Formula One Champion Michael Schumacher, you would ideally not want hurt his ego by asking something which doesn`t exactly amuse him.
The most celebrated driver in F-1 history with 91-race victories hasn`t won anything after his comeback three seasons ago but probe him about a dent in the legacy that he has created, the answer was an emphatic "NO."
You could immediately sense that Schumacher exactly didn`t like the question.
"There will be lot of opinions. But it remains. It has not changed. I am still capable of fighting but as a team we have not managed. We win together, we lose together. But it (legacy) is not harmed personally," Schumacher, who has decided to retire after this season, said.
He won his first title in 1994 and 1995 and then revived Ferrari with his five consecutive titles from year 2000.
He joined Mercedes in 2010 and has managed just one podium finish. A third place at European Grand Prix this season has been his best result in the comeback.
The German said the tough three years taught him a lot.
"Things have not gone according to the expectations. It`s been tough three years. We have failed as a team, criticised and that`s reasonable and acceptable. I have grown and matured and that`s what happens."
He also said that he does not have much to regret in his career.
"Yes, in the hindsight probably, you have (regrets) but most of the time I have made the right decision."
The German, who enjoys a huge fan-following in India, said he was overwhelmed by the passionate support he got from the country.
"What I take from India is the emotional fan following. It`s been surprisingly high. There are some specific groups (in the world) but here they are too many. It`s beautiful to see I am loved so much. So many people share the passion for sport I love," he said.
Schumacher has himself said that his car is not up to the expectations level. Asked if he would be disappointed if he fails to go on a high, the 42-year-old seemed a bit realistic.
"I know what`s possible. If I get the maximum out of it, I am okay. Podiums and victories are different stories. There`s no point dreaming and you will be disappointed in the end for no reason."
Lewis Hamilton will replace him in the Mercedes team in the next season and German said the team has made the right decision in picking him.
"We know Lewis is one of the top drivers in the field. It was a wise and good decision to negotiate and find an agreement with him. It`s like a family and I wish them best."
Asked what role he has played in the development of the Mercedes car for the next season, Schumacher said,"The development of car started in May. My involvement has been there. It was not in 2010."
Red Bull`s Sebastian Vettel is in line to win his third straight title. Asked if if he thinks his young countrymate can go on to surpass his record of seven titles, he said, he would be happy if Vettel does that.
"Records are meant to be broken. If Vettel gets it, I would be very happy for him."
First Published: Thursday, October 25, 2012, 19:18