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Mika Häkkinen is sure that former arch rival Michael Schumacher will return to winning ways after a tough first four races in the German's comeback season. The 7-time World Champion's sixth place finish in Bahrain is his best for Mercedes so far whereas team-mate Nico Rosberg has enjoyed two podium results.
Having claimed double titles in 1998 and 1999, the first of which was also within Schumacher's grasp until the final race of the season at Suzuka, Häkkinen left Formula 1 after a disappointing campaign yielded only two wins for McLaren in 2001. With Schumacher having departed the sport five years later, the Finn understands the desire to return for the Mercedes driver.
"It was clear that he needed a break," Häkkinen told Germany's Bild before explaining why Schumacher's pace so far may have appeared slower than expected. "It is up to the new technology of the cars and the tyres - that takes time to get to grips with.
"Another reason is that he is up against a selection of young drivers who have nothing else in their lives at the moment other than a will to win; their lives consist only of Formula 1 but that's a good thing because this sport requires total concentration and total attention. Age does make it more difficult, though; if you're 41, you have other things in life - a family, for example."
However, Mika is confident that Schumacher will greet a podium's top step at least once in 2010. "I'm pretty sure he will win a race this year," the Finn continued. "I know how he ticks and how obsessed he is with working if he has a goal set; but it is difficult for him because this sport allows no excuses - I'm glad I'm not doing it anymore!"
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