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Mixed views over Schumacher's return


Michael Schumacher's comeback performance earned him a name he won't have seen often before in his native Germany: "Creeping Schumi."

That was the mass-circulation Bild daily's front-page headline Monday after the seven-time champion finished sixth on his Formula One comeback in Bahrain.

It asked: "How long will Schumi be trailing behind?"

"Thanks to the Schumacher comeback, Germany was back in a Formula One rush," commentator Matthias Bruegelmann wrote, "but the hangover is heavy."

Fernando Alonso won the race for Schumacher's former employer, Ferrari. The BZ tabloid headlined its Schumacher story: "Red Goddess steals Schumi's show."

The daily Sueddeutsche Zeitung captioned its front-page picture of Schumacher with the words "third-best German" - a reference to the fact he finished behind Sebastian Vettel and Mercedes teammate Nico Rosberg.

The daily Berliner Kurier wrote that the 41-year-old is "top-fit and can easily keep up with the whippersnappers."

Schumacher was "better than the world champion," Jenson Button, said Berlin's Tagesspiegel.

Schumacher himself accentuated the positive.

"All in all I have to say: I am very, very happy and proud about how it went, considering I was completely out for three years and did not have a lot of driving for preparation," he said on his Web site. "It would be strange to assume that I would come in, sit in the car and drive circles around the others. I, for my part, did not assume that in any case."

 Schumacher said that, physically, "this race was not at all difficult for me and I was not exhausted at all."

Hype surrounding Schumacher's comeback helped boost television ratings for Sunday's race. RTL television, which aired it live in Germany, said Sunday's race drew an average 10.51 million viewers - up from 5.35 million for last year's Bahrain race.


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