James Lawton: Schumacher reigns supreme to cast huge cloud over rivals

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The Independent Online

When the first raindrops came at Indianapolis on Sunday we knew for sure that a little ice touched the hearts of all Michael Schumacher's rivals.

In a sport where the brilliance, and the financial backing, of the engineers is ever more crucial to the outcome of a Formula One race, the rain is a professional inconvenience to all but the drivers of genius. Schumacher is one; Ayrton Senna was another.

It is impossible to forget the expression on Senna's face when, after driving like a god through the spray of Donnington Park to win a European Grand Prix, he heard second-placed Alain Prost complain about both the conditions and the performance of his career. Contempt does not really convey quite the ferocious disdain displayed by the late Brazilian.

A much younger Schumacher was similarly dismissive when he sabotaged the hopes of Damon Hill with a majestic drive on the rain-slicked track near Barcelona. After spinning on the track, Hill said the conditions were impossible. Schumacher drove on, unblinking.

His latest victim was the brilliant Colombian Juan Pablo Montoya. Montoya has tweaked the tail of the great man with some exquisite overtaking moves on occasion. But on Sunday he was relegated to the pack. Montoya is very, very good. But Schumacher, of course, remains out on his own.