MONZA, Italy, Sept 8, 2012 (AFP) - Michael Schumacher, making what may be his final appearance at the famous Autodromo Nazionale circuit, proved he still has plenty to offer when he qualified fifth for Mercedes for Sunday's Italian Grand Prix.
The 43-year-old German, a seven-time champion, said he was sticking to his decision not to discuss his future until October after a performance that confirmed his ongoing speed.
"I think we can be satisfied with our qualifying performance as we have performed consistently all weekend," he said.
"Our car clearly suits this circuit more than those at the last races, but we've had a couple of hiccups along the way in practice.
"Our guys back at the factory and here at the track did a good job to sort out the problems and compliments to them.
"Solid points should be a realistic target. The fact that I will start from fourth is another small positive point, because here the even numbers on the grid are probably the better start positions."
Mercedes team-mate and fellow-German Nico Rosberg said: "Starting from sixth here in Monza is a decent result from a tricky qualifying session today.
"I wasn't happy with the balance of my car by Q3 and, although it started well, I then lost the right balance so I couldn't improve my time. I'm looking forward to the race and I hope we can gain some positions."