Motor Racing: Lauda's blast for `madman' Ralf

Ralf Schumacher yesterday came in for strong criticism for causing the crash at the Luxembourg Grand Prix that virtually ended Ferrari's Formula One title hopes.

Derick Allsop, at the Nurburgring, found Niki Lauda forthright in his condemnation of the Jordan driver.

Most of them were speechless, heads bowed in bitter resignation. The championship appeared all but gone, and Michael Schumacher's devoted mechanics could not raise so much as a whimper in anger or despair.

One member of the Ferrari camp, however, was less restrained. When you have been to hell and back, speaking your mind is no big risk and Niki Lauda was not about to turn diplomat just because it was Michael's younger brother, Ralf, who effectively scuppered their hopes of a first driver's title for 18 years.

Lauda, who won the first two of his three championships with Ferrari and in between almost died following a crash on the old circuit here, was scathing of the Jordan-Peugeot driver's part in the crucial first- corner collision in Sunday's Luxembourg Grand Prix.

Lauda, now a consultant with Ferrari, said: "If you are the brother of a possible world champion you ought to use your head once in your life. It was the action of a madman. He should lie down on a psychiatrist's couch. An intelligent driver knows a race will not be won at the first corner."

It is ironic, but perhaps not unfathomable, that Ralf, until now derided for being over supportive of his big brother, should suddenly be portrayed as the black sheep of the family.

He made little attempt to challenge Michael for fourth place at the Hungarian Grand Prix, much to the consternation of some within the Jordan camp. Here he unflinchingly fought the Ferrari from the grid. To his and his brother's dismay, Giancarlo Fisichella, in the other Jordan, wanted to negotiate the first corner at the same time.

Both Jordans were eliminated and the Ferrari, crippled by Ralf's car, had to stop after two laps. Jacques Villeneuve, further aided by the retirements of the McLaren-Mercedes pair, Mika Hakkinen and David Coulthard, won the race and now leads the championship by nine points with two grands prix remaining. Any position in the points ahead of Schumacher in Japan, on Sunday week, will give the Williams-Renault driver the title.

Schumacher, however, summoned words of defiance. "What happened was a big disappointment and it leaves me in a difficult situation," he said. "But no way do I give up the title. Many things can happen."

Even victories at Suzuka and Jerez might not prove sufficient to deny Villeneuve, but the Canadian, who along with Heinz-Harald Frentzen will be driving for Williams again next season, also insists the contest is not over.

"Things went my way here but it could be a different story in Japan," he said.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Tradewind Recruitment: English Teacher

Negotiable: Tradewind Recruitment: My client is an excellent, large partially ...

Tradewind Recruitment: Science Teacher

£90 - £140 per day: Tradewind Recruitment: I am currently working in partnersh...

Tradewind Recruitment: Year 3 Primary Teacher

£100 - £150 per day: Tradewind Recruitment: Year 3 Teacher Birmingham Jan 2015...

Ashdown Group: Lead Web Developer (ASP.NET, C#) - City of London

£45000 - £50000 per annum + Excellent benefits: Ashdown Group: Lead Web Develo...

Day In a Page

Isis hostage crisis: The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power

Isis hostage crisis

The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power, says Robert Fisk
Missing salvage expert who found $50m of sunken treasure before disappearing, tracked down at last

The runaway buccaneers and the ship full of gold

Salvage expert Tommy Thompson found sunken treasure worth millions. Then he vanished... until now
Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Maverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
Assisted Dying Bill: I want to be able to decide about my own death - I want to have control of my life

Assisted Dying Bill: 'I want control of my life'

This week the Assisted Dying Bill is debated in the Lords. Virginia Ironside, who has already made plans for her own self-deliverance, argues that it's time we allowed people a humane, compassionate death
Move over, kale - cabbage is the new rising star

Cabbage is king again

Sophie Morris banishes thoughts of soggy school dinners and turns over a new leaf
11 best winter skin treats

Give your moisturiser a helping hand: 11 best winter skin treats

Get an extra boost of nourishment from one of these hard-working products
Paul Scholes column: The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him

Paul Scholes column

The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him
Frank Warren column: No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans

Frank Warren's Ringside

No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans
Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

Homeless Veterans appeal

MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

Comedians share stories of depression

The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

Has The Archers lost the plot?

A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

14 office buildings added to protected lists

Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee