That Michael Schumacher has been less than successful in his return from retirement is no great secret. The seven-time world champion – empirically demonstrable as the best driver in the history of motorsport – has yet to score a single podium finish in the past three seasons since returning to the grid. To his credit, the German driver has stuck it out in an effort to rediscover the pace that put him and Ferrari on top for so many years prior to his retirement. But surely he's due for a win sometime soon. He has, after all, done it a staggering 91 times before.

Pirelli just so happens to agree. The Italian rubber company that supplies all the tires to Formula One is expecting that Schumacher could stand to claim the checkered flag in the European Grand Prix this weekend at Valencia. And they ought to know: Schumi has always been a driver who knows how to get the most out of his tires – particularly during the good old days when Bridgestone was creating special compounds around his driving style.

If Paul Hembery, Pirelli's motorsport guru, proves right, it would make for the eighth race winner in as many grands prix so far this season. And in the process it would prove that Schumacher hasn't lost his touch, or has found it again. Although Schumacher has won the European Grand Prix six times before – more than any other driver – those were all at the Nurburgring. The race was only moved to Valencia after he retired. And of course with five other world champions on the grid, each of them younger and at least as hungry for the win, it's still anyone's race. We'll be watching to see how it goes down.

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