Schumacher: ‘Crazy’ move or crazy penalty?

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Mercedes GP driver Michael Schumacher has been penalized for a defensive move he made against Williams F1’s Rubens Barrichello in the Hungarian Grand Prix today. The race Stewards deemed the move as, “illegitimately impeded car 9 during an overtaking manoeuvre.”

Barrichello was outraged at the move calling it “crazy” after the race saying:

“No, and I won’t – because it won’t resolve things,” said Barrichello when asked if he would speak with Schumacher. “You know Michael – you talk to him and he will always feel that he is right.

“I just think I am a just guy, and justice was made today in a way because I think he has been stopped three years and he didn’t change a thing. He is still the same guy.”

“If we touched there, then to be honest with you I think he would flick over and go into the wall head on,” he said. “So it was more of a danger for him.

“I couldn’t move any more to the right because the wall was there, and if you take a photograph of the wall and us there is not [enough room for] a hair in there. It is unbelievable.

“Then you can see that I had to move it back because I went through the grass and so on. I am very glad and very lucky that we are here to talk, honestly.

As Barrichello says, Schumacher does indeed feel he was right to make the move he did telling BBC:

“We know certain drivers have certain views and then there is Rubens,”.

“As a driver, you have the ability to change the line once. That’s what I was driving to. Obviously there was space enough to go through. We didn’t touch, so I guess I just left enough space for him to come through.

“I’m known not to give presents on the track. If you want to pass me you have to fight for it, and so it was.”

“There is not much to say other than he obviously had fresher tyres and my job was to get the last corner spot on,”.

“I had a line of about five centimeters that I had to hit and that lap I obviously ran a little wide and started sliding, so my exit speed was a bit compromised.

“I knew that he was coming so, from my point of view, I was moving over to the inside to make it very obvious and clear to him ‘go on the other side, there’s more space for you.’ He didn’t choose to, so it got a bit tight”.

Regardless of the view, the move will now cost Schumacher a 10-grid space penalty for the next race which is the Belgium Grand Prix at Spa Franochamps.

What’s your view? Was he within the regulations to make one defensive move or was that too defensive? Mercedes GP team boss Ross Brawn doesn’t feel it was harsh:

“Pretty tough – a tough move by Michael and a tough decision by the stewards,”.

“I don’t think for a moment that Michael was trying to put Rubens in the wall – but he was trying to discourage him from coming down the inside because he thought that was where he would be vulnerable.

“But at the end of the day he gave him enough space. You can argue that it was marginal but – tough racing.”

“Later in the manoeuvre you can see he moved away from Rubens, I don’t think he expected Rubens to be exactly where he was at that time because it is a sort of manoeuvre that happens when you enter a corner not that far up a straight,”.

“Rubens got a very good run out of the last corner with his new tyres so I think there is lots of way arguing it – but these things happen in a fraction of a second.”

“It may have ended up in a dangerous way but that wasn’t the intent I am sure by Michael,”.

“Michael was defending his position, trying to encourage Rubens to go around the outside. I don’t think for a moment that he saw Rubens there and thought ‘I will squeeze him’.

“But it is a pretty tough business F1 and if you open up every time someone tries to attack you then you know the drivers in F1 who don’t defend and those that do.”

Barrichello suggested there was some history that prompted Schumacher’s move but Brawn denied that as well:

“Certainly not from Michael’s perspective!” Brawn replied when asked if the ‘history’ between the two drivers had been a factor.

“Michael didn’t comment on that. I know Rubens has commented on the history between them, but Michael hasn’t at all. It is obviously something that is paramount in Rubens’ mind.”

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