I saw an MS interview of Michael on Star Sports (Singapore). They asked if he was planning on coming back next year. MS gave the same answer I had read from an Autosport interview earlier, word for word. He tried to look relaxed, but managed an expression of a deer caught in the headlights, trying to smile.
It is exactly that expression that tells the whole story - the smile that isn´t a smile. He is not a good actor, rather he looks like a clown, you see the sadness behind the facade. I have been criticized for the clown analogy, but I stay with that analogy, as it is true and symbolic of the story that is Michael Schumacher in 2010.
That he is not a good actor we have seen when he was lying (Monaco 2006, anyone?), so nothing new there.
The only question - how else should he look like?
Should he look downcast, desperate? Then people would immediately start writing him off. "He has given up", they would say, "he is not even believing in himself anymore". He can not look triumphant either, so at least the arrogance that used to be in his expression is gone. Not that he starts to show true humility or kindness as a human being like Trulli, that would not be Michael....
So the best he can do is to try to smile it all away (behavioral psychology states that a smile in such circumstances is usually a sign of insecurity), thus not showing anything negative or desperate and still keeping to a certain degree the smile that constitutes a winner´s psychology. Only that you can see behind that smile, and it looks like a frightened deer expecting the impact. What if 2011 turns out worse or as bad as 2010? How will he save his face then?
This is not to take anything away from his historic record, Michael did not return to the sport to prove his historic record. He returned because he wanted to show that he can still do it now. Maybe the fact that he was basically ousted by Montezemolo in 2006 plays a role in this - Schumacher wants to demonstrate:"I still have what it takes, and I don´t need Ferrari for it!"
So let´s look at the positive version then, the 2011 Mercedes suits Michael´s driving style to a degree that he will beat Nico in it. Then he has proven the point that he still has it and he can do it anywhere, not needing Ferrari for it.
Like I said from the very beginning of his comeback, I´d be happy if he wins one GP, then it is mission accomplished, he is still a winner. If he can really go and mount a championship campaign against the formidable drivers of today? I doubt it.