Drivers lifted by Schumacher news

Andover Advertiser: A number of drivers have been boosted by recent news regarding Michael Schumacher's condition A number of drivers have been boosted by recent news regarding Michael Schumacher's condition

Formula One's top stars expressed hope Michael Schumacher is now on the road to recovery in light of the latest positive report.

Almost 100 days after Schumacher sustained severe head injuries in a skiing accident that resulted in him being placed in an induced coma, manager Sabine Kehm claimed the seven-times champion was "making progress" by showing "moments of consciousness and awakening".

Although Schumacher remains far from out of the woods just yet, there is at least a glimmer of light at the end of what has so far been a long, dark tunnel.

Certainly the news lifted many in the paddock ahead of Sunday's grand prix at the Bahrain International Circuit, especially fellow Germans Nico Rosberg and Sebastian Vettel.

"It was fantastic to hear some good news," said Rosberg, who was team-mate to Schumacher for three years at Mercedes prior to the latter's second retirement from F1 at the end of 2012.

"I'm very happy; everybody in the paddock is very happy about that.

"For sure they are going to be cautious before saying something good, so it must be a real positive step. It's great. I hope he continues to make progress."

As for four-times champion Vettel, who has made no secret of the fact Schumacher was his hero growing up, the Red Bull star said: "It is very good to hear it's going in the right direction.

"But naturally he still has a long process ahead of him, but for sure we wish him the best."

Britons Jenson Button and Lewis Hamilton also offered their thoughts, with the former stating: "I've heard the news and hopefully it is good news, so that is a positive."

Hamilton, who along with Rosberg has been carrying the message 'Keep Fighting Michael' on the side of his Mercedes this year, said: "That is really good to hear."

On track, following his victory in the Malaysian Grand Prix, Hamilton was quickest in both practice sessions in Bahrain, and comfortably so.

With a lap of one minute 34.325secs, set under floodlights as this year's event is a night race as part of Bahrain's 10th anniversary celebrations of their event, only Rosberg was remotely within touching distance of Hamilton, and even then he was 0.365secs adrift.

As for the rest, they were all at least a second off Hamilton's pace, led by Ferrari's Fernando Alonso.

Hamilton, though, refused to get too carried away, saying: "It's definitely good to come here off a positive weekend, with that momentum.

"But we still have a lot of work to do to really dial in the car, both in qualifying and the race.

"It's still going to be tough, a real challenge, particularly with the temperatures dropping all the time, so the balance is shifting throughout the run.

"But we feel strong, I feel strong in the car, so let's hope it is the case."

McLaren's Button and Vettel were sixth and seventh quickest, but with both 1.2secs down.

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