Grand Prix third for Schumacher | Sports| German football and major international sports news | DW | 25.06.2012
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Grand Prix third for Schumacher

Formula One driver Michael Schumacher reached the podium in Valencia for the European Grand Prix. Vettel and Hamilton failed to finish.

Germany's Michael Schumacher finished third driving a Mercedes in the European Grand Prix in Valencia as compatriot Sebastian Vettel admitted he did not know why his car ground to a halt causing him to retire from the race on lap 35.

The race was won by Spain's Fernando Alonso in front of his home crowd.

With seven championships and 91 race wins to his name, Schumacher is Formula One's most successful driver. He retired from the Ferrari team in 2006 before making a comeback in 2010.

On Sunday Schumacher made it to the podium for the first time in nearly six years. He last walked up to the podium in China in October 2006, which was also his last win.

"I didn't actually think about a podium at all at the end of the race, it was crossing the line that I asked my guys 'Where did we finish?' And then the boys told me 'That's third, that's podium'. I can't believe that. It's something I didn't really expect. You sort of lose count, because I was pretty busy in the last stages of the race," said the German.

Now 43, Schumacher became the oldest driver on the podium since Australian triple champion Jack Brabham finished second in Britain in 1970 at the age of 44.

Before Valencia, Schumacher had scored only two points this season and retired in each of the last three races.

Red Bull driver Sebastian Vettel was leading the race before a collision between Caterham's Heikki Kovalainen and the Toro Rosso of Jean-Eric Vergne left debris on the track. When the safety car pitted after 33 laps Vettel continued for only one-and-a-half laps before slowing, forcing a second retirement in his last 29 races.

Vettel said: "I lost drive and I had to stop. Why? I don't know. There's not much we could have done better, but with reliability we all work on the limit." He added: "Up to that point we had had a perfect start, perfect pit stop, a perfect race."

Lewis Hamilton also failed to finish after being pushed off the track with one lap to go by Pastor Maldonado who was given a 20-second penalty by the stewards.

jm/ccp (Reuters, AP)