Waspish Schumacher hits back at his critics and sets sights on eighth title

RETURNING track legend Michael Schumacher hit back at criticism of his driving style yesterday as he took the latest step towards his long-awaited comeback.

The seven-time world champion responded waspishly when asked if he hoped to show he could win the title in the right way – a reference to controversial tactics he has employed in the past. “Ninety-one victories, seven titles, you win only in a bad way. Absolutely. Yeah, you’re right, I need to prove [myself] now,” said the German at his official presentation as a Mercedes GP driver.

The 41-year-old attracted criticism for collisions with Damon Hill in 1994 and Jacques Villeneuve in 1997 as he battled them for the drivers’ title.

The 2010 championship also looks like being a dogfight, with four former champions all on the grid as well as rising star Sebastian Vettel and the experienced Felipe Massa.

But Schumacher, who retired in 2006, said: “With the experience Ross [Brawn, team boss] has, and with what he did last year, and with Mercedes’ know-how and the quality they have, I’m sorry, but there is only one target [the title].”

Brawn added: “He wouldn’t do this if he wasn’t convinced he could do the job, and I’m convinced he can.”