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?
Arts and Entertainment
From Mean Girls to Mamet: Lindsay Lohan
theatre
Sport
Nathaniel Clyne (No 2) drives home his side's second goal past Arsenal’s David Ospina at the Emirates
footballArsenal 1 Southampton 2: Arsène Wenger pays the price for picking reserve side in Capital One Cup
News
Mike Tyson has led an appalling and sad life, but are we not a country that gives second chances?
peopleFormer boxer 'watched over' crash victim until ambulance arrived
Arts and Entertainment
Geena Davis, founder and chair of the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media
tv
News
i100
Travel
travelGallery And yes, it is indoors
Life and Style
tech
Arts and Entertainment
The Tiger Who Came To Tea
booksJudith Kerr on what inspired her latest animal intruder - 'The Crocodile Under the Bed'
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
British actor Idris Elba is also a DJ and rapper who played Ibiza last summer
film
News
Alan Bennett criticised the lack of fairness in British society encapsulated by the private school system
peopleBut he does like Stewart Lee
Caption competition
Caption competition
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

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

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Account Executive/Sales Consultant – Permanent – Hertfordshire - £16-£20k

£16500 - £20000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: We are currently r...

KS2 PPA Teacher needed (Mat Cover)- Worthing!

£100 - £125 per day: Randstad Education Crawley: KS2 PPA Teacher currently nee...

IT Systems Manager

£40000 - £45000 per annum + pension, healthcare,25 days: Ashdown Group: An est...

IT Application Support Engineer - Immediate Start

£28000 per annum: Ashdown Group: IT Software Application Support Analyst - Imm...

Day In a Page

Syria air strikes: ‘Peace President’ Obama had to take stronger action against Isis after beheadings

Robert Fisk on Syria air strikes

‘Peace President’ Obama had to take stronger action against Isis after beheadings
Will Lindsay Lohan's West End debut be a turnaround moment for her career?

Lindsay Lohan's West End debut

Will this be a turnaround moment for her career?
'The Crocodile Under the Bed': Judith Kerr's follow-up to 'The Tiger Who Came to Tea'

The follow-up to 'The Tiger Who Came to Tea'

Judith Kerr on what inspired her latest animal intruder - 'The Crocodile Under the Bed' - which has taken 46 years to get into print
BBC Television Centre: A nostalgic wander through the sets, studios and ghosts of programmes past

BBC Television Centre

A nostalgic wander through the sets, studios and ghosts of programmes past
Lonesome George: Custody battle in Galapagos over tortoise remains

My George!

Custody battle in Galapagos over tortoise remains
10 best rucksacks for backpackers

Pack up your troubles: 10 best rucksacks for backpackers

Off on an intrepid trip? Experts from student trip specialists Real Gap and Quest Overseas recommend luggage for travellers on the move
Secret politics of the weekly shop

The politics of the weekly shop

New app reveals political leanings of food companies
Beam me up, Scottie!

Beam me up, Scottie!

Celebrity Trekkies from Alex Salmond to Barack Obama
Beware Wet Paint: The ICA's latest ambitious exhibition

Beware Wet Paint

The ICA's latest ambitious exhibition
Pink Floyd have produced some of rock's greatest ever album covers

Pink Floyd have produced some of rock's greatest ever album covers

Can 'The Endless River' carry on the tradition?
Sanctuary for the suicidal

Sanctuary for the suicidal

One mother's story of how London charity Maytree helped her son with his depression
A roller-coaster tale from the 'voice of a generation'

Not That Kind of Girl:

A roller-coaster tale from 'voice of a generation' Lena Dunham
London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice. In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence

London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice

In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence
Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with Malcolm McLaren

Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with McLaren

Designer 'felt pressured' into going out with Sex Pistols manager
Jourdan Dunn: Model mother

Model mother

Jordan Dunn became one of the best-paid models in the world