I posted this in the Rosberg vs Schumacher thread already, it also seems appropriate here.
Ironic that back in the day Michael Schumacher was lauded as being able to extract 110% from a dog car, now some are using the opposite argument to explain Michael's lack of performance vs Rosberg, almost every comment I read from his faithful fans derides the the car as a POS, so it should follow that this is an advantage for Schumacher relative to Rosberg not a disadvantage . Considering Schumacher's much touted ability to "ring the neck" of a bad car and extract everything it has to offer and more, he should be showing a clean set of heels to Rosberg at all times.
When you add up all the advantages Schumacher had at Ferrari and no longer enjoys at MB it becomes clear that these new circumstances are just to much for the old boy to deal with. No preferential treatment in the team, no tailor made tires, limited testing, no best car in the field, no special help from FIA ... now that Schumacher has to compete fair and square with a top flight driver it is abundantly clear that he was never as good as some might have us believe he was.
As the old saw goes "The older I get the faster I was"
Do you really see that today though? I don't see anyone in this current generation of cars taking a car that wasn't near the pace or at the very least consistent on 90% of the tracks to the front. It simply doesn't happen anymore because the field is so close. Back in the 80's and 90's a good driver could flatter the car because the gaps between the teams were so big, a driver could take a car and slot it into a place it shouldn't be. Now in 2012, there isn't even a second between McLaren and Toro Rosso with the simplicity of the regulations.
Take 2008 and 2009 for example. Alonso was basically no where most of the time, and Lewis had a tough time for most of the season in 2009 with a car that was totally off the pace, even going out in Q1 at some Grand Prix. But neither of those cars were qualifying 2+ behind pole, it's was just a sign of the times. Both actually made pretty silly errors in this period too incidentally.
In the current formula with small rear and big front wings, we have seen some pretty random performances. Force India are a perfect example. In 2009, no where most of the season, suddenly the quickest at Spa and Monza. Why? Because in this formulae you seem to have different cars excelling in different conditions. You didn't get that before 2009.