On first pass, Schumacher says his move was legal; we’ll see

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As best as we can tell here in the United States (where Speed TV went to NASCAR coverage just about immediately after the end of the Monaco GP), the stewards are still trying to determine if Michael Schumacher’s last moment pass of Fernando Alonso was legal.

Schumacher, not surprisingly, says he thinks it is.

Via Autosport:

“No, not really, no,” said Schumacher when asked if he expected a penalty.

“I think there is either this message, or there is the message ‘track clear’ and ‘safety car in’ and that was the message that was given to all of us and when this message is out it means track clear and back to racing. The cars were removed. There was no further need [for the safety car] so I took my opportunity.”

He is also expecting former rival Damon Hill, acting as an advisor for the race stewards this weekend, to understand the situation.

“It will be interesting. He is a good guy so I’m sure he will understand the situation and it’s normal that the other team has a different opinion but we have to see. Maybe we missed something that we are not aware of.”

As best as I can figure, the whole thing hinges on whether the race finished under a safety car. If so, it appears Schumacher’s pass was illegal, per this FIA regulation, No 40.13: “If the race ends whilst the safety car is deployed it will enter the pit lane at the end of the last lap and the cars will take the chequered flag as normal without overtaking.”

It sounds like Ross Brawn is claiming the safety car came in before that “race end”. Stefano Domenicali is, amazingly, arguing otherwise. It’s yet another gray area, but one that the stewards should be able to figure out. Right?

Anyone think they

1. Know which version is right?
2. Which way the stewards will go (knowing it may not necessarily be the way that adheres to the rule)?

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