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post #1 of 24 (permalink) Old 09-12-2011, 04:06 PM Thread Starter
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Schumacher of old returns to haunt Hamilton

BBC - Andrew Benson: Schumacher of old returns to haunt Hamilton
BBC BLOGS - Andrew Benson
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Schumacher of old returns to haunt Hamilton

Andrew Benson | 17:52 UK time, Sunday, 11 September 2011

Since Michael Schumacher returned to Formula 1 at the beginning of last season, he has not provided many glimpses of the man who dominated Formula 1 for so long - but that all changed at the Italian Grand Prix.

It is still not clear whether the German legend has the speed he had in his first career, despite two impressive drives in the last race in Belgium and now on Sunday in Monza.

But it was blatantly obvious in Italy that he is as willing as ever to push the boundaries of acceptable behaviour up to and beyond their limits.

Schumacher's driving in defending his position from Lewis Hamilton will split opinions - as BBC Sport's own experts proved.

"In sporting etiquette between racing drivers," David Coulthard said, "that was right on the line and he had one foot over it. He gave Lewis the chop."

But while Coulthard went on to add that he did not feel Schumacher deserved a penalty for his behaviour, chief analyst Eddie Jordan disagreed: "You cannot move twice. It's certainly questionable. If I was a judge I would have to reprimand him."

Schumacher's defence of the position over 21 enthralling - and occasionally heart-stopping - laps was certainly robust.

But there were two incidents in particular for which many will argue he was lucky to get away without a penalty.

The first was on lap 16, when Hamilton dived down the inside of Curva Grande - taken flat out at 190mph - and Schumacher pushed him on to the grass.

The second was four laps later, when Schumacher appeared to change his trajectory twice while defending from Hamilton out of the second chicane and into the first Lesmo corner.

Article 20.2 of sporting regulations says: "Manoeuvres liable to hinder other drivers, such as more than one change of direction to defend a position, deliberate crowding of a car beyond the edge of the track or any other abnormal change of direction, are not permitted."

It should be no surprise that Schumacher is prepared to drive like this - after all, he did it so much in his first career that his dubious tactics are remembered just as strongly as his results, which takes some doing when you have won nearly twice as many races as anyone else in F1 history.

What is perhaps more surprising is that he was not punished - particularly for the 'two moves' incident. Although this looked less dramatic, it was probably the one that further exceeded the boundaries of acceptability.

The blocking move into Curva Grande was, as one veteran F1 observer put it on Sunday evening, "a bit naughty but entirely predictable" - and Hamilton was anyway a bit optimistic in trying to go down the inside there from as far back as he was.

Race director Charlie Whiting warned Mercedes about Schumacher's driving - and team principal Ross Brawn was fully aware of how close they were to being penalised. He went repeatedly on to the radio to warn Schumacher to give Hamilton enough room.

Back in Malaysia in April, Hamilton was given a 20-second penalty after the race for changing his line twice while defending his position from Fernando Alonso. Many will look at Schumacher's behaviour in Monza and conclude it was at least as bad, if not significantly worse.

Hamilton himself was clearly unimpressed. "I thought you were only allowed one move!" he said in exasperation over his radio.

After the race, though, he kept his counsel in public. As he had made it clear he wanted to stay out of trouble to try to end the tumultuous run of events that have derailed his season, that is perhaps not a surprise. It remains to be seen whether it stays that way.

Ironically, it was the first of those two incidents that led to Schumacher losing what at the time was third place, a position he found himself in after his customary superb start, and then taking advantage of Hamilton being caught napping at the re-start after the safety car period that was prompted by a first-corner crash involving backmarkers.

In backing off after being forced onto the grass at Curva Grande, Hamilton was overtaken by team-mate Jenson Button, who used his momentum to close rapidly on Schumacher and pass him in a brilliantly audacious move around the outside into Ascari.

Button said his own move on Schumacher was one of the bravest he has ever pulled, but another earlier in the race surely surpassed it - when race-winner Sebastian Vettel passed Alonso for the lead around the outside of the Curva Grande and into the second chicane.

Alonso edged Vettel far enough to the left for the Red Bull to have its left-hand wheels on the grass while flat out in top gear. But Vettel kept his foot hard down, controlled what must have felt like a scary wobble, and nailed the Ferrari down the inside into the chicane.

It puts to bed any unfounded criticisms that Vettel cannot win from behind - and the world champion elect was still a little wide-eyed about it after the race.

"I was on the grass there," he said to Alonso with a smile as they waited to go out on to the podium. "Yeah," the Ferrari driver responded.

It was a heart-in-the-mouth moment, certainly, but was this as bad as Schumacher's chop on Hamilton into the same corner a few laps later?

Schumacher appeared to turn in early on Hamilton and gave him no room at all, and the McLaren driver had no choice but to take to the grass with at least half of his car. Vettel, by contrast, had the option to back out of the move, but chose not to.

This was almost certainly because - as with team-mate Mark Webber's pass of Alonso into Eau Rouge at the last race in Belgium - he knew Alonso would be hard, but could trust him to leave him just enough survival space.

It was mighty close. "Very hard but fair," was Vettel's post-race verdict

What was particularly impressive about Vettel's decision to commit was that he did not need to - as he himself said, he could easily have waited and got him in one of the zones where he could use his DRS overtaking aid that lap or the next.

Vettel has such a huge championship lead that he does not need to take any risks - and yet his hunger for victories, to stamp his absolute authority on this season that surrendered to him months ago, remains as intense as ever.

This was his eighth win of the year and one of the most impressive, and suitably it brought him to the brink of his second title.
Vettel will be crowned the youngest double champion in history - taking the honour from Alonso, ironically enough - in Singapore if he wins and Alonso does not finish third and Button or Mark Webber do not finish second.

On current form, that is entirely possible, and even if he doesn't do it there, Vettel will certainly tie it up sooner rather than later.

At the age of 24, he has 18 wins to his credit, a second title in the bag, and 25 pole positions. Schumacher's records - 91 wins, 65 poles, seven titles, which seemed unbeatable when he set them - look within reach, unless the other teams can do something about Red Bull's superiority. And perhaps even if they do.

Vettel's remarkable progress prompted superlatives from Coulthard after the race. "Are we witnessing one of the true greats - one of the legends of the sport. It's always difficult to judge when it's so early in someone's career but his results are remarkable."

To truly judge Vettel, he needs to go up against another great - Hamilton or Alonso or perhaps, on current form, Button - in an equal car. But there can no longer be any doubts that he is right up there.
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post #2 of 24 (permalink) Old 09-16-2011, 07:56 AM
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Two comments on the post:

1. They apparently forgot Schumie's brilliant drive in the wet in Canada this year so Belgium wasn't the first

2. Schumie's moves were not penalized in my opinion because his second move in each case (the perceived blocking move) was to position the car for the next apex.

3. Yes, I am Schumie biased

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post #3 of 24 (permalink) Old 09-17-2011, 10:01 AM
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completely agree. One move and then position the car for the turn. This is F1, not ball-room dancing or a ballet performance.

Lewis has gotten used to many people just giving him the positions simply b/c he will force himself in the position.

And yes, as it is pure fact. Schumacher is the GREATEST F1 driver of all time. Regardless of what DC says.

2nd place...is just the first loser.
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post #4 of 24 (permalink) Old 09-18-2011, 07:54 AM
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Hungarian Grand Prix. Justify that if you can.

XFactor: Where the bewildered are wheeled out to be sniggered at by multi millionaires.

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post #5 of 24 (permalink) Old 09-18-2011, 02:20 PM
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Originally Posted by R. Reyes View Post
completely agree. One move and then position the car for the turn. This is F1, not ball-room dancing or a ballet performance.

Lewis has gotten used to many people just giving him the positions simply b/c he will force himself in the position.

And yes, as it is pure fact. Schumacher is the GREATEST F1 driver of all time. Regardless of what DC says.
R.Reyes

Hamilton himself did not comment on Schumacher's driving.

However Mercedes' Team Principal, not his engineer, warned Schumacher twice about his driving and following the second warning Hamilton passed Schumacher.

Regardless of what DC says Schumacher is not the greatest F1 driver of all time.

Senna is.
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post #6 of 24 (permalink) Old 09-18-2011, 05:53 PM
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R.Reyes

Hamilton himself did not comment on Schumacher's driving.

However Mercedes' Team Principal, not his engineer, warned Schumacher twice about his driving and following the second warning Hamilton passed Schumacher.

Regardless of what DC says Schumacher is not the greatest F1 driver of all time.

Senna is.
Comparing drivers from different eras, driving under different rules and technology, dead or alive, isn't possible. For that reason there isn't a "greatest F1 driver of all time".

However, Schumacher does have more records than any one driver.

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post #7 of 24 (permalink) Old 09-20-2011, 11:47 AM
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Comparing drivers from different eras, driving under different rules and technology, dead or alive, isn't possible. For that reason there isn't a "greatest F1 driver of all time".

However, Schumacher does have more records than any one driver.

tuttebenne,

I was just being playful.

However, I was quoting Schumacher.

As you point out he has most of the F1 records but not the universal respect given to the likes of Fangio, Clark and Senna.
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post #8 of 24 (permalink) Old 09-20-2011, 01:13 PM
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tuttebenne,

I was just being playful.

However, I was quoting Schumacher.

As you point out he has most of the F1 records but not the universal respect given to the likes of Fangio, Clark and Senna.
Many younger fans only know about Schumacher. Since he did so well, they don't have to think too much about who preceded him. This is unfortunate because, you are right, there were great drivers long before him. I've only read about Fangio, but knowing he earned his five championships driving for at least three different manufacturers indicates how special his skill set was. My awareness of Clark however is weak; admittedly, shame on me for not knowing more about why people rank him so highly. Senna on the other hand, I was able to watch. He was a polarizing figure in F1. I wasn't too happy when he and Prost would have their "commings together" but always enjoyed when the proud Brazilian fans would run from the stands to give Senna the Brazilian flag on his cool down lap.

In each era, there are challenges the others never had to face. Senna drove a Rolls Royce in comparison to the cars Fangio had to drive. Fangio didn't have to compete in as many races as Clark or Senna. In the era Schumacher won his championships, the difference between the slowest and fastest competitor was much tighter. There were different challenges requiring different responses. They each were above the rest in their time and they answered those challenges with new and exciting tactics.

As F1 becomes more and more technology based, the driver's contribution becomes more difficult to observe. Nonetheless, they ARE making a contribution. We are only beginning to peel away the layers with Vettel. Who knows how many championships he will win. Will it be three? Five? More? If he does, will he be better than Senna?

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post #9 of 24 (permalink) Old 09-20-2011, 03:30 PM
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Many younger fans only know about Schumacher. My awareness of Clark however is weak; admittedly, shame on me for not knowing more about why people rank him so highly.
tuttebenne,

No shame.

Jim Clark died in 1968 which is a lifetime ago but for many he is one of the top three formula one drivers:

72 starts
25 wins
32 podiums
33 pole positions
28 fastest laps

Thats a better wins to start ratio than Senna or Schumacher
Thats a better better pole position per start ratio than Senna or Schumacher
Thats a better fastest lap per start ratio than Senna or Schumacher

Two F1 WDCs and an Indy 500 win and with two runners-up positions Clark had the best Indy qualifying run of the whole 1960s.

Clark could drive and did drive anything including Nascar, touring cars where he won the 1964 British Touring Car Championship, sports cars at Le Man where came first in his class and rally cars where he nearly won the RAC British rally.

He was killed driving a Lotus during a Formula 2 race at Hockenheim in Germany in 1968. His teamate Graham Hill went on to win that year's F1 title.

In the final analysis will Vettel be remembered in the same way as the true greats? Too early to say.

Even the mighty Schumacher with all his records has not been accorded that honour.

In the end I think the decider has nothing to do with the records themselves but the esteem in which the man is held by his peer group and those that really know what makes a good driver truly great.
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post #10 of 24 (permalink) Old 09-20-2011, 04:57 PM Thread Starter
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Since my father took me to the old Nuerburgring at the age of 9 I have been hooked on F1.
Living for a few years in West Africa, and later 10 in Iran before the advent of satellite tv or the internet, the short wave radio was an important source for information.
Getting racing magazines air mailed was another.
I have been lucky enough to have seen Phil Hill, Jack Brabham, Bruce McLaren, Mario Andretti, Jackie Stewart and many others race.
I was at the Zandvoort track, in the dunes right across where Piers Courage crashed and burned to death in his magnesium chassis DeTomaso.
Before my time, but one of my favorite racing legends is Tazio Nuvolari.
The name alone sounds fast.
Tazio Nuvolari - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
One of the old timers (forgot the name) lost his steering wheel but finished in the top by using a wrench / spanner. They don't make guys like that anymore.
I am acquainted with an older Argeninian Gentleman from North Hollywood, who is from Fangio's hometown, and accompanied him as personal mechanic to Alfa Romeo, Ferrari, Maserati, and Mercedes. At Mercedes he was part of the team that developed the fuel injection system.
Great stories.
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