McLaren unimpressed with defensive Michael Schumacher
McLaren team principal Martin Whitmarsh feels Michael Schumacher's defensive driving was "pretty harsh" as Lewis Hamilton missed out on a podium shot in yesterday's Italian Grand Prix.
In defence of the seven-times world champion, Mercedes counterpart Ross Brawn described Schumacher's 'roadblock' tactics as "vintage Michael".
It was tit-for-tat stuff between the two marques as they reviewed a first half of the race in which Hamilton foundered in his attempts to get past the 42-year-old.
Finally, on lap 27, Hamilton finally conjured a move on Schumacher, but only after Mercedes were given a warning from race control as to the German's driving following complaints from Hamilton to his team over the in-car radio.
Hamilton, punished with a retrospective drive-through penalty in Malaysia for making more than one change of direction to defend his position, felt Schumacher was doing likewise to him.
Assessing Schumacher's tactics, with Hamilton failing in his bid for a top-three place by half a second to Ferrari's Fernando Alonso, Whitmarsh said: "I felt it was pretty harsh.
"I'm not the least impartial person, but the fact is he was warned twice, and the one where he had Lewis on the grass was as scary as hell.
"Lewis complained a few times, but in a very calm way. His job is to do that in case the stewards don't see anything.
"I think it was heartfelt anyway, also sincere and reasonable."
Naturally, Brawn could see nothing wrong, although acknowledged the warning from FIA race director Charlie Whiting who opted not to refer the matter to the stewards.
"Michael drove a fantastic race. We know we haven't got the fastest car, but we have seen everything we know about Michael Schumacher," said Brawn.
"The FIA were watching us and asked us to be careful, and we were. It is a balance between racing and not overstepping the mark.
"Overall, I feel it was great racing, and great for F1."
Mindful of the fact he has been outspoken in the past, Hamilton refused to be drawn on the matter post race.
"It was interesting being behind him," said Hamilton of Schumacher with the utmost diplomacy.
"It was a real challenge to get past. He was incredibly fast, and I was just a little bit slower on the straights, which is why I could not pass.
"He was as fast, if not faster than me down the straight, even when I had my DRS (drag reduction system) engaged, so it was difficult for me to overtake.
"This is not a great result to be honest. We started second and I dropped back two places, so I'm definitely not happy."
Hamilton is now 126 points behind Sebastian Vettel with just 150 up for grabs, leaving his championship challenge almost over for another year.
With little left to aim for, Hamilton added: "With six races left we'll continue to push, and I hope we can get a couple more wins for the team."
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