Father turns peacemaker after shunt

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The Independent Online

In a re-run of countless childhood squabbles, Michael Schumacher blamed his younger brother, Ralf, for their shunt in Sunday's Spanish Grand Prix.

"He looked for the fight and he started it," Michael told the German newspaper Bild yesterday.

While scrapping for third place in the middle of the race, Michael made contact with his brother's Williams before Ralf got past. Michael's Ferrari team-mate Rubens Barrichello overtook both of them while they were sorting out family business.

"I don't know what Ralf is so upset about," said Michael, who also accidentally injured Ferrari's British mechanic Nigel Stepney during a pit stop and eventually finished fifth - just behind his brother.

"If he's not happy, that's too bad. He could have overtaken on the outside but, no, he had to try the inside."

Ralf, in public at least, sidestepped the issue. "I would prefer to watch the video of Barrichello overtaking me before saying anything more about this manoeuvre," he was quoted as saying.

Bild quoted the brothers' father Rolf, who watched the race, as saying he hoped to help his sons make up. "I'll have to talk to the two of them to make sure they get reconciled," Rolf Schumacher said. Michael, a double world champion, admitted at the British Grand Prix that he tended to back off his brother in a way he would not do for other rivals.

In his first season in Formula One in 1997 Ralf, who then had a reputation for reckless driving, ran his brother off the track on the first corner of the Luxembourg Grand Prix.