Schumacher blocks out the past but Monaco traffic jams refuse to go away

Click to follow
The Independent Online

As the drivers brace themselves for problems when all 24 cars are running together in the first qualifying session here, Michael Schumacher, the man who caused the most infamous traffic jam in Monaco's history, preferred to look forward rather than back.

The seven-time champion deliberately blocked the track by parking his Ferrari broadside across the Rascasse corner in the dying moments of qualifying in 2006, intent on frustrating title rival Fernando Alonso's efforts to wrest pole position from him. He was demoted to the back of the grid.

Schumacher, fresh from his best outing since he came out of retirement – fourth place in last Sunday's Spanish GP – was unamused when the subject reared its head yesterday. "I don't want to talk about 2006," he kept repeating, as if his needle had stuck. "I want to look to the future."

"It's 2010, and that was a long time ago," Lewis Hamilton said, when asked about the incident. "I wasn't involved then. I think we need to look forward."

That is what most of the drivers will be doing this weekend, but at least six of them will inevitably be trying to do that while keeping an eye on their rearview mirrors as plans to split the first qualifying session to minimise the effects of traffic on fast lap times fell by the wayside when the teams could not agree on a suitable format.

"Normally, if you're on a flying lap and hit traffic you try and find space for the next lap, but I just think now you've got to keep hammering round," Hamilton's McLaren team-mate Jenson Button said.