Schumacher’s neck still raises doctor concerns

FRESH concerns over the long-term fitness of Formula One comeback king Michael Schumacher surfaced
yesterday after his personal doctor was seen monitoring his progress during testing in Valencia.

Schumacher, 41, completed 40 laps in his Mercedes on his first return to F1 on Monday, showing no signs of the neck injury which prevented him from racing for Ferrari last year.

Doctor Johannes Peil looked on closely from the paddock of the Spanish circuit, but did little to inspire the confidence of reporters when asked if the seven-time champion would be fit enough to sustain a long, arduous season. Asked if his neck would be hold up under the challenge, Peil simply replied: “We will have to wait,” while
Schumacher himself insisted “I feel very good.”

Meanwhile, Lewis Hamilton said he was happy with his first test in his new McLaren yesterday, despite being beaten into third by Ferrari’s Felipe Massa and the Sauber of Kamui Kobayashi.

“It’s a different feeling compared to the first lap of the first test day of 2009, it’s a positive feeling,” he said. “The problems I had [last year] I don’t have in this car.”