Schumacher unrepentant in feud with Montoya

The legendary champion Juan Manuel Fangio once told Ayrton Senna during a visit to Adelaide for the Australian Grand Prix: "You are a great driver, but you are not yet a great champion." In the time left to him, Senna took that to heart and did his best to abide by Fangio's maxim: "You must always try to be the best, but you should never believe that you are."

The legendary champion Juan Manuel Fangio once told Ayrton Senna during a visit to Adelaide for the Australian Grand Prix: "You are a great driver, but you are not yet a great champion." In the time left to him, Senna took that to heart and did his best to abide by Fangio's maxim: "You must always try to be the best, but you should never believe that you are."

One wonders what words Fangio might have spoken to Michael Schumacher on Sunday, after the sport's No 1 driver appeared to shoot himself in the foot after clashing yet again with a lapped Juan Pablo Montoya, of BMW-Williams, while they were running behind the safety car. Schumacher was leading but only because, of his main rivals, Jarno Trulli had made his final pit stop, and a crash by the other Ranult driver, Fernando Alonso, had necessitated deployment of the safety car.

Schumacher and Montoya, not surprisingly, had widely divergent views on culpability. The two have clashed several times since Montoya laid a marker down with an audacious pass on Schumacher in the 2001 Brazilian Grand Prix.

It took Ferrari almost four hours to decide their media line on the incident, and Schumacher confined himself to a put-down by suggesting that he had been pushed off by "a backmarker". Montoya publicly confined himself to his version of the facts. After another clash in the recent San Marino GP at Imola in April, however, he said: "Michael has always done these manoeuvres and he gets away with them. What he did to me at Imola was the same as he did to Alonso on lap one at Silverstone last year. The rules have got to be the same for everybody - it doesn't matter if you are called Michael Schumacher, if you drive for Ferrari or anything. We should be racing on a level playing field."

So what did Schumacher do? He braked hard, which drivers are entitled to do when they run behind the safety car, because otherwise the slow speed leaves the brakes so cool that they lack initial bite when used for the first time once racing resumes. It was how he did it that drew criticism. By braking hard enough to lock the left front wheel in the tunnel (he claimed the safety car slowed abruptly but television evidence did not tend to support that), he obliged Montoya to take avoiding action, and then appeared to chop back across the Colombian's bows. Since there was a wall holding up a hotel to the right of the Williams, Montoya had nowhere to go and they collided.

It is not the first time such tactics from Schumacher have caused an accident. At Monza in 2000 he did the same thing, causing Jacques Villeneuve, Ralf Schumacher and Giancarlo Fisichella to take sudden evasive action and the rookie Jenson Button to crash.

"I blame Michael for what happened," Button said then. "He came very slowly out of Ascari corner, then accelerated so that everyone spread out. But then he braked again [on the straight] and the cars concertinaed. I thought you weren't allowed to do that. When Jacques braked again as Michael had, Ralf and Giancarlo went either side of him and I had nowhere to go so I had to take to the grass to avoid hitting them. In doing that I just about missed a marshal who was stood out on the circuit."

On that occasion Schumacher apologised after the race. "I was doing that to warm up my brakes and I thought everyone expected me to do that," he said. "I'm sorry if I caused any problem for the cars behind." There was no apology this time for Montoya.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

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

Career Services

Day In a Page

The Greek referendum exposes a gaping hole at the heart of the European Union – its distinct lack of any genuine popular legitimacy

Gaping hole at the heart of the European Union

Treatment of Greece has shown up a lack of genuine legitimacy
Number of young homeless in Britain 'more than three times the official figures'

'Everything changed when I went to the hostel'

Number of young homeless people in Britain is 'more than three times the official figures'
Compton Cricket Club

Compton Cricket Club

Portraits of LA cricketers from notorious suburb to be displayed in London
London now the global money-laundering centre for the drug trade, says crime expert

Wlecome to London, drug money-laundering centre for the world

'Mexico is its heart and London is its head'
The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court that helps a winner keep on winning

The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court

It helps a winner keep on winning
Is this the future of flying: battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks?

Is this the future of flying?

Battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks
Isis are barbarians – but the Caliphate is a dream at the heart of all Muslim traditions

Isis are barbarians

but the Caliphate is an ancient Muslim ideal
The Brink's-Mat curse strikes again: three tons of stolen gold that brought only grief

Curse of Brink's Mat strikes again

Death of John 'Goldfinger' Palmer the latest killing related to 1983 heist
Greece debt crisis: 'The ministers talk to us about miracles' – why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum

'The ministers talk to us about miracles'

Why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum
Call of the wild: How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate

Call of the wild

How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate
Greece debt crisis: What happened to democracy when it’s a case of 'Vote Yes or else'?

'The economic collapse has happened. What is at risk now is democracy...'

If it doesn’t work in Europe, how is it supposed to work in India or the Middle East, asks Robert Fisk
The science of swearing: What lies behind the use of four-letter words?

The science of swearing

What lies behind the use of four-letter words?
The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won't have him back

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won’t have him back
Africa on the menu: Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the continent

Africa on the menu

Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the hot new continent
Donna Karan is stepping down after 30 years - so who will fill the DKNY creator's boots?

Who will fill Donna Karan's boots?

The designer is stepping down as Chief Designer of DKNY after 30 years. Alexander Fury looks back at the career of 'America's Chanel'