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Schumacher of old returns to haunt Hamilton

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Andrew Benson | 17:52 UK time, Sunday, 11 September 2011

Since Michael Schumacher returned to Formula 1 at the beginning of last season, he has not provided many glimpses of the man who dominated Formula 1 for so long - but that all changed at the Italian Grand Prix.

It is still not clear whether the German legend has the speed he had in his first career, despite two impressive drives in the last race in Belgium and now on Sunday in Monza.

But it was blatantly obvious in Italy that he is as willing as ever to push the boundaries of acceptable behaviour up to and beyond their limits.

Schumacher's driving in defending his position from Lewis Hamilton will split opinions - as BBC Sport's own experts proved.

"In sporting etiquette between racing drivers," David Coulthard said, "that was right on the line and he had one foot over it. He gave Lewis the chop."

But while Coulthard went on to add that he did not feel Schumacher deserved a penalty for his behaviour, chief analyst Eddie Jordan disagreed: "You cannot move twice. It's certainly questionable. If I was a judge I would have to reprimand him."

Schumacher's defence of the position over 21 enthralling - and occasionally heart-stopping - laps was certainly robust.

But there were two incidents in particular for which many will argue he was lucky to get away without a penalty.

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The first was on lap 16, when Hamilton dived down the inside of Curva Grande - taken flat out at 190mph - and Schumacher pushed him on to the grass.

The second was four laps later, when Schumacher appeared to change his trajectory twice while defending from Hamilton out of the second chicane and into the first Lesmo corner.

Article 20.2 of sporting regulations says: "Manoeuvres liable to hinder other drivers, such as more than one change of direction to defend a position, deliberate crowding of a car beyond the edge of the track or any other abnormal change of direction, are not permitted."

It should be no surprise that Schumacher is prepared to drive like this - after all, he did it so much in his first career that his dubious tactics are remembered just as strongly as his results, which takes some doing when you have won nearly twice as many races as anyone else in F1 history.

What is perhaps more surprising is that he was not punished - particularly for the 'two moves' incident. Although this looked less dramatic, it was probably the one that further exceeded the boundaries of acceptability.

The blocking move into Curva Grande was, as one veteran F1 observer put it on Sunday evening, "a bit naughty but entirely predictable" - and Hamilton was anyway a bit optimistic in trying to go down the inside there from as far back as he was.

Race director Charlie Whiting warned Mercedes about Schumacher's driving - and team principal Ross Brawn was fully aware of how close they were to being penalised. He went repeatedly on to the radio to warn Schumacher to give Hamilton enough room.

Back in Malaysia in April, Hamilton was given a 20-second penalty after the race for changing his line twice while defending his position from Fernando Alonso. Many will look at Schumacher's behaviour in Monza and conclude it was at least as bad, if not significantly worse.

Hamilton himself was clearly unimpressed. "I thought you were only allowed one move!" he said in exasperation over his radio.

After the race, though, he kept his counsel in public. As he had made it clear he wanted to stay out of trouble to try to end the tumultuous run of events that have derailed his season, that is perhaps not a surprise. It remains to be seen whether it stays that way.

Ironically, it was the first of those two incidents that led to Schumacher losing what at the time was third place, a position he found himself in after his customary superb start, and then taking advantage of Hamilton being caught napping at the re-start after the safety car period that was prompted by a first-corner crash involving backmarkers.

In backing off after being forced onto the grass at Curva Grande, Hamilton was overtaken by team-mate Jenson Button, who used his momentum to close rapidly on Schumacher and pass him in a brilliantly audacious move around the outside into Ascari.

Button said his own move on Schumacher was one of the bravest he has ever pulled, but another earlier in the race surely surpassed it - when race-winner Sebastian Vettel passed Alonso for the lead around the outside of the Curva Grande and into the second chicane.

Alonso edged Vettel far enough to the left for the Red Bull to have its left-hand wheels on the grass while flat out in top gear. But Vettel kept his foot hard down, controlled what must have felt like a scary wobble, and nailed the Ferrari down the inside into the chicane.

It puts to bed any unfounded criticisms that Vettel cannot win from behind - and the world champion elect was still a little wide-eyed about it after the race.

"I was on the grass there," he said to Alonso with a smile as they waited to go out on to the podium. "Yeah," the Ferrari driver responded.

It was a heart-in-the-mouth moment, certainly, but was this as bad as Schumacher's chop on Hamilton into the same corner a few laps later?

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Schumacher appeared to turn in early on Hamilton and gave him no room at all, and the McLaren driver had no choice but to take to the grass with at least half of his car. Vettel, by contrast, had the option to back out of the move, but chose not to.

This was almost certainly because - as with team-mate Mark Webber's pass of Alonso into Eau Rouge at the last race in Belgium - he knew Alonso would be hard, but could trust him to leave him just enough survival space.

It was mighty close. "Very hard but fair," was Vettel's post-race verdict

What was particularly impressive about Vettel's decision to commit was that he did not need to - as he himself said, he could easily have waited and got him in one of the zones where he could use his DRS overtaking aid that lap or the next.

Vettel has such a huge championship lead that he does not need to take any risks - and yet his hunger for victories, to stamp his absolute authority on this season that surrendered to him months ago, remains as intense as ever.

This was his eighth win of the year and one of the most impressive, and suitably it brought him to the brink of his second title.
Vettel will be crowned the youngest double champion in history - taking the honour from Alonso, ironically enough - in Singapore if he wins and Alonso does not finish third and Button or Mark Webber do not finish second.

On current form, that is entirely possible, and even if he doesn't do it there, Vettel will certainly tie it up sooner rather than later.

At the age of 24, he has 18 wins to his credit, a second title in the bag, and 25 pole positions. Schumacher's records - 91 wins, 65 poles, seven titles, which seemed unbeatable when he set them - look within reach, unless the other teams can do something about Red Bull's superiority. And perhaps even if they do.

Vettel's remarkable progress prompted superlatives from Coulthard after the race. "Are we witnessing one of the true greats - one of the legends of the sport. It's always difficult to judge when it's so early in someone's career but his results are remarkable."

To truly judge Vettel, he needs to go up against another great - Hamilton or Alonso or perhaps, on current form, Button - in an equal car. But there can no longer be any doubts that he is right up there.

Comments

Page 1 of 9

  • Comment number 1.

    I loved the race and I really loved the chanting 30 minutes before the end of the program. Maybe we will see it again in Asia, thousands of miles from the UK.

  • Comment number 2.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 3.

    Schumy was wrong in his action - which is why Ross Brawn was the one on the team radio - a point that was confirmed by Brawn post race.

  • Comment number 4.

    Andrew you ask "was this as bad as Schumacher's chop on Hamilton into the same corner a few laps later"

    If it was "deliberate crowding of a car beyond the edge of the track" then it doesn't matter if it is "as bad". A wrong is a wrong- you cant have in betweens in this sport (safety)?

  • Comment number 5.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 6.

    A point on the Schumacher Barrichello incident (Hungary 2010) where he crowds Barrichello.

    I know Barrichello was close to the wall, but should he have even been there? The white line "race track boundary" was there- it should have been clear to Barrichello that he was going to cross it half way through the over take. He should therefore have backed out a lot earlier.

    The incident looked bad but only because Barrichello stuck in

  • Comment number 7.

    Nothing wrong from MS as far as I`m concerned, Alonso was as robust with Vettel and there is nowhere near the same noise about him...also Hamilton was actually quite some way behind at Curve Grande if you study it, watch it a few times so the shock of the incident wears off and then you`ll realise he did not have a hope of getting past and so MS took the line, basically Lewis drove off the track. Micheal blocked robustly all afternoon but against a car that basically had not really a chance of coming by anyway. Not much noise about Liuzzi either who probably pulled the most dangerous move we have seen all year.....considering he would have finished last anyway why was he doing those things at the rear of the field ???

  • Comment number 8.

    I think Michael was wrong - I think the stewards got it right, however. Not enough for a penalty. Got to feel that if it was Lewis he might have been penalised though. Call me a fanboy. Pleased Schumi had a good-ish race anyway.

    The race was alright. The championship is definitely over now. The only interests championship wise will be who finishes 2nd - and if Hamilton can keep his clean record of beating every team-mate he's had in F1. If Lewis and Jenson can get a few 1-2's then they might, just might be able to overhaul Red Bull in the constructors considering Webber's run of bad form.

    Pleased for Alguersuari. His drives in the second half of the season might have just secured himself for a drive next year. Solid from Senna, I can see him being a regular points scorer soon. As for di Resta, I'm very impressed with his attitude and racing. Would be interesting to see how he does in a better car. Then again, I could say that about many drivers. Kobayashi and Rosberg to name but a few.

    Bring on Singapore.

  • Comment number 9.

    A thoroughly enjoyable race, great overtaking again. Yes, Michael Schumacher drove a hard race - but that's what his fans expect and Jenson managed to overtake Lewis and him in a brilliant move. MS did back off when reminded by Ross Brawn and I don't think it affected the outcome of the race - but it was good to watch!

    I drove from Skye to Wiltshire yesterday to be home from my annual holiday in time to watch the race live. Obviously there's no way I'd do that for extended highlights. I'm glad the pressure is still on for some sort of fair outcome for the F1 fans who, like me, can't afford SKY and want an accountable BBC. Incidentally, the people in a B-and-B I stayed in had just cancelled their SKY subscription, they are not F1 fans (they prefer cricket), they just felt they couldn't in all honesty pay them a subscription after the recent phone-tapping shennanigans.

  • Comment number 10.

    I think we should set up an online poll asking "will you buy sky sports to watch F1 next year" so what maybe SKY will understand they are wasting their money and pull out of the deal! If the BBC, Ecclestone, F1 teams don't change this situations, then that means it is up to sky to back out!

    ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    It's a done deal, time to let it go.

    Great race today by the way.

  • Comment number 11.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 12.

    Yes, proper Schumi is back. The one who hacks off the british press by being a 7 time world champion.

    What you actually saw today is a 42 year old man showing the suppose "elite" of the younger generation on how to race despite being in a slower car. If you were to take the Schumacher and Hakkinen of 1998-2000 and stick them into 2 of the current top cars I have absolutely no doubt that it would be 2 way fight for the championship between themselves and no one else would get a look in.

  • Comment number 13.

    Schumacher's on track antics are well documented, he has pushed the boundaries of acceptability all his career and is as much a part of his legacy as his race 91 wins and 7 titles. What saddened me was race control's unwillingness to penalise Schumacher. Blocking Hamilton allowed Button to catch up and the front runners to edge clear and Button benefited from the Schumacher chop on Hamilton while Schumacher seemed content to interfere with Hamilton's race rather than behave in a sporting manner. Schumacher spoiled what should have been a great race between Vettel, Button, Alonso and Hamilton. Formula 1 needs to be managed evenly and if Hamilton was penalised for a double manoeuvre in Malaysia then so should Schumacher.

    What worried me most of all was Lewis Hamilton's reaction after the race. If he sees this kind of behaviour as part of F1 with such a resigned look on his face then maybe this is the first sign of him seeing his future in racing beyond F1 - maybe in the US where he could make millions. Formula 1 needs Lewis Hamilton.

  • Comment number 14.

    I think the 2011 season can be summed up by... Great races (apart from valencia), boring championship.

  • Comment number 15.

    Off blog topic. Ted from the pit lane as ever is brilliant- you should give him more time!!

    I thought EJ was a bit harsh on Ted when he was on BBC explaining that Lewis/Jenson could have won the race. I think he was just trying to say "Lewis/Jenson could have challenged / the race victory would not have been that 'easy'"

  • Comment number 16.

    Hamilton could have backed out, Schumacher was in front fighting for position as he is perfectly entitled to do. Have to say I'm not a big fan of DRS, gives the drivers behind too much of an advantage and is unfair on the car in front.

    Good to see Schumi back fighting near the front.

    NO TO SKY, NO TO SKY, NO TO SKY!
    BRILLIANT

  • Comment number 17.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 18.

    This season, the race leader must have got the least amount of tv time of practically every driver. Vettel never appears on the TV, shows how dominant the Red Bull is.

  • Comment number 19.

    Schumacher blocked Hamilton. Hamilton was not quick enough, that's why Schumacher could block him, that's why Button went past Schumacher without as much as breaking a sweat! The stewards did well by not penalising Schumacher!

    Vettel had an amazing race.... What a legend!
    I expect him to be crowned world champion in a fortnight, even if he doesn't get it then, he will still win the top prize this season without a doubt!

  • Comment number 20.

    I completely disagree with Andrew Benson. Schumi did little wrong. In fact he provided the entertainment in todays race, which otherwise would have been dull. I don't agree that he held lewis up as when lewis did pass him, schumi took the place back again. I do not feel that vettel has answered his critics as having one overtake is not really proving that you can overtake consistently. I am really looking forward to f1 moving to sky as the bbc coverage has become increasingly biased towards red bull. I don't wish to see christian horner 4 times throughout the programme. Also having to listen to D.C's comments through commentary is wearing thin. Bring on 2012!!!!!!

  • Comment number 21.

    Its clearly one rule for Hamilton and another for the rest of the drivers as far as the stewards are concerned. Hamilton has been penalized multiple times for much less this year, Malaysia was the worst example.

    The Stewards and their decisions are a complete joke.

    I wonder if Schumacher was so robust with Lewis because he knows the clear bias against him and was thinking he's unlikely to get blame for any incident or a penalty.

  • Comment number 22.

    I hate to say it, but I agree with DC on Schumi's driving, it was the right on the limit of acceptable driving, which is exactly what every driver should be doing all the time, it's their job !

    I was getting really sick of the constant BBC Schumi bashing, with DC as the main protagonist, but recently they seem to have calmed down. This is a total over reaction to what was the most entertaining aspect of the race.

  • Comment number 23.

    Great race loved the MS and LH battle glad to see LH not rise to the baited questions asked of him.

    I think there must of been some problem at the track today ie no one wanting to answer twitter or emails(at least the ones the bbc dont intend to answer)

    As for the mass of fans chanting no to sky the bbc did have trouble blocking them out you could always try the tactics the do in china to silnce protesters(ask for pointers at the next gp).

    As for the deal being done not quite yet the bbc still have to speak to dan foster on that one(and the top brass at the bbc cant hide from them).

  • Comment number 24.

    Schumacher has always pushed the boundaries, you even say so yourself. Last year he had Rubens grazing the pit wall in Hungary.

    So why are you always so surprised when it happens again? He pushes everything to the absolute limit, and sometimes strays beyond it - just as Lewis does when overtaking (except for today, apparently). It's part of what makes them both such formidable opponents.

    To be perfectly frank I really thought the British media might have got over their hatred of the guy after twenty years, but after Mark Hughes' piece last week and now this one I'm left with little choice but to conclude that you just like to kick the guy at any possible opportunity.

    Oh, and down with the Sky/BBC deal, etc.

  • Comment number 25.

    "It is not the critic who counts, not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly...who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, who spends himself in a worthy cause, who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who have never known neither victory nor defeat."

    -Teddy Roosevelt

  • Comment number 26.

    King Lewis is all lucked out this season. How many times has he been reprimanded this season? What action was taken against dick dastardly? Its bizarre.

  • Comment number 27.

    Amazing race, the Schumacher-Hamilton scrap was unbelievable. I think that was on the edge of hard racing, on the limit but he wasn't giving in. I miss the hard defence of positions and the edge of the limits overtaking from Vettel and Button, both absolutely stunning moves especially with Vettel's car half off the circuit with the pedal to the floor. Some real old school driving today and I'll be watching highlights of this race for a long time.

    I can't help but disagree with this though: "To truly judge Vettel, he needs to go up against another great - Hamilton or Alonso or perhaps, on current form, Button - in an equal car.". He's surpassed Hamilton on career wins, pole positions and soon world championships too. Vettel is beginning to prove his race craft with today, Spa and Catalunya earlier this year. He's done it all at a younger age as well. I think Alonso is the last one he has to prove himself against, I'd say he's surpassed Hamilton already.

  • Comment number 28.

    I don't really understand the current way F1 works. I don't understand why last week, when as far as anyone sane can see, Mandenardo side swipes Hamilton and smashes his car, - and Hamilton gets a rep.
    In this season, when Hamilton pushes the limits. He gets pulled into the stewards. When others - and specifically others do it, and especially if its against Hamilton, very little is said or done.
    I'm not at all surprised at his post race attitude and interview. The guy must wonder whats going on.

    *I'm not advocating meddling stewards. I prefer real wheel to wheel racing and action packed racers, and you won't get that with stewards meddling everytime there is an overtake. Let them race. I have no problem with Schumachers robust racing defense, so long as everyone can fight as hard.

    On Kers and DRS - both terrific. Its a shame they seem to choose bad places for DRS, and IMHO DRS is badly needed due to the nature of the aero in formula one. The disturbed air from a car in front creates a very serious penalty to a following car, and for a long time now, the tow became more irrelvant as the following cars lose downforce and grip and suffer in the wake of a car in front. And the argument that it is unfair isn't right. If you get taken on DRM, and your core package matches or is close enough, you get the benefit to do the same on the following lap/zone.

    Anyway, good race.

  • Comment number 29.

    Lee Mckenzie got up to her dirty tricks yet again trying to goad Lewis into another Ali G comment but Lewis is very wise to her agenda now and gave the perfect answer robbing the BBC of the Hamilton bashing headline they were looking for. You could tell by Lewis' face he wanted to say more but knows for sure he has no friends in the BBC.

    It's interesting that JBs overtake on MS when Lewis couldn't gets so much over-hyping by the pundits yet when exactly the same thing happened last year when Lewis overtook MS and Jenson couldn't it got completely ignored.

    Now with the co-ordinated attempts with Lee Mckenzie and the rest of the pundits today to try and elevate JB to number 1 in the team the BBC's agenda has never been clearer. EJ is as subtle as a sledge hammer and you can see through him straight away.

    Hats off to Jenson for correcting the BBCs attempts to take his comments out of context.

    The BBC is a disgrace.

  • Comment number 30.

    Brundle and Coulthard ruined the Grand Prix today. They did nothing but complain about Michael Schumacher, hoping that the stewards actually value their pitiful, tantrumatic opinions. The race was great, but to hear these pair go on lap after lap, envious of Schumachers ability to compete at a higher level now, than they were able to in their prime. Can someone please tell me the total amount of combined F1 championships they have secured between them during their careers? Just out of interest.

    By all means have an opinion, but at least Lewis did finish the race and eventually overtake, unlike many of his own victims in the past! These 2 (Brundle & Coulthard)are hard listening at the best of times, but today they were pathetic. Especially when David 'Bee Gee dress sense' Coulthard started reading the FIA rule book word for word. I hope in the interests of 'balance' they now show as much interest in all the other drivers antics, and quote the rule book to all us watching at home on each individual incident.

    If the BBC are running on a tight budget, I could recommend 2 very effective spending cuts, that would keep millions of viewers happy!

  • Comment number 31.

    'Entertaining' it may have been for some but Schumacher destroyed the race. Had it not been for Hamilton falling asleep and allowing him in front so he could once again practice his dubious tactics, at least Hamilton if not both McLarens could possibly have challenged Vettel… now that would have been far more entertaining for the race and the championship… but some 'spectators' prefer instant gratitude and fail to see the bigger picture. Even Button said Schumacher was "moving around a bit too much".

    Not only Schumacher was an unpenalised twit today. Alonso made a great start but went for a gap that wasn't there and put two wheels on the grass to make the gap… and what if he'd lost the back end and taken out all of the front-runners?

    Likewise with Vettel's refusal to back-off from Alonso with two wheels on the grass… very heroic but very stupid and dangerous. Do we really need to wait for one of these dodgy moves to back-fire and cause serious damage or worse before FIA finally acts… and penalises the right drivers for a change?

    Finally, no suprise to see that Massa and Webber, two drivers who would prefer a shunt than to yield, come up against each other… that one was was always going to end in tears!

  • Comment number 32.

    Not really seeing the controversy here. Thats the way of the Beeb though, if no controversy exists, manufacturer it.

    As I saw it, Lewis was attempting to go into a gap that either did'nt exist or was closing rapidly. Plus when he started the move on schumacher, he was WAY too far behind to try it from there. He never would have made it stick in the first place.

    I dont "blame" either driver. It was quite frankly a nothing event in every sense of the word. Nice try for the tabloidism stakes though.

  • Comment number 33.

    Andrew, you said, "To truly judge Vettel, he needs to go up against another great - Hamilton or Alonso or perhaps, on current form, Button - in an equal car". Well, Top Gear had done so, had they not? and Vettel topped the lead - way a head Button and Hamilton.

  • Comment number 34.

    I think the writings on the wall for Lewis who is still the best driver in the world.

    The general driver community don't like him because he's the best the FIA don't like him becuase he flouts their version of the rules.

    It's time to leave and have fun racing in the USA becuase he will not be 'allowed' to win the world championship again in F1.

  • Comment number 35.

    P.S Lee McKenzie is getting exactly what she deserves from Hamilton. Nothing. I said that would happen. You might as well get someone else to interview him from now because he will never open up to her again (and no less than deserved).

  • Comment number 36.

    Utter rubbish from Andrew Benson as usual. Andrew you continually show how biased you are and a pure lack of knowledge for sport. The Curve Grande move was nothing. Schumacher was ahead of Hamilton and had the line. Hamilton didn't get alongside(Vettel did), could've backed out but didn't. There was no move on there and it was idiotic to try. Hamilton should've waited and the decision not to cost him the place and rightly so. The second move was more questionable as Schumacher did effectively move back onto the racing line. However Hamilton was was way behind and simply followed Schumachers path. there was no malice in the move and was again nothing hence why the stewards who have always been hard on Michael did nothing.

    A quite brilliant drive from Michael in a car nowhere near on the pace of the McLaren or Ferrari. Driver of the day by a mile.

    Andrew - i urge you to change your article which is quite simply terrible. Try and stop making yourself look so stupid with anti-Schumacher waffle like this.

  • Comment number 37.

    To be honest it was a good race and I don't see why your all here crying about what Schumacher done at the end of the day its Motorsport why should the driver going for the overtake be able to make more than one move and the defending driver only get to make one? Schumacher was defending himself from Hamilton and then taking up his driving line for the corners. and at least half the time if not more Hamilton. Yet again we are seeing tale tale signs that Schumi is coming back to us he has just had to re adjust himself to the new rules,cars and tyres. He's a legend in the sport and probably one of the greatest drivers to ever grace it, its not his fault the rules favour the attacking driver instead of letting them race at the limits,

    and on a side note congrats to Vettel on yet another race win!

  • Comment number 38.

    Andrew, you said, "To truly judge Vettel, he needs to go up against another great - Hamilton or Alonso or perhaps, on current form, Button - in an equal car". Well, Top Gear had done it, had they not, in their reasonably priced car and he topped the lead - way a head Button and Hamilton

  • Comment number 39.

    'To truly judge Vettel, he needs to go up against another great - Hamilton or Alonso or perhaps, on current form, Button - in an equal car.'

    Hamilton - a great????

    Button - a great????

    I think you are dreaming Mr Benson.

    Vettel has already proved he is in a different league to either of these 2. Vettel would be first on any team managers list of drivers and rightly so. He is the new benchmark in F1 and is already on a level of consistent, mistake free speed that Hamilton especially will never get to.

  • Comment number 40.

    >"To truly judge Vettel, he needs to go up against another great - Hamilton or Alonso or perhaps, on current form, Button - in an equal car."


    I think he's already doing that - this season. Claims that the Red Bull car is massively superior are unfounded. Webber, in the same car, is not having anything like the same success.

    The 1988 McLaren's were dominant cars (ten 1-2 finishes), as were the 2002 Ferrari's. (nine 1-2 finishes)

    The RB team has only two 1-2 finishes this year, which is hardly the sign of a team with a significantly faster car.

  • Comment number 41.

    *Hamilton was to far behind him to get it to stick anyway

  • Comment number 42.

    Hamilton has been taught a valuable lesson in patience today by Schumacher and another in clinical overtaking by Vettel and Button, hopefully two lessons that will stick with him.

    NO TO SKY NO TO SKY NO TO SKY........ wonderful!

  • Comment number 43.

    Macaublue:

    Had it not been for Hamilton falling asleep and allowing him in front so he could once again practice his dubious tactics.....

    And who's fault is that then? Forgive me if I am wrong, but has it not been Lewis's driving that has been questioned by all other drivers over the past 2 months or so, but defended by McLaren!

    Schumacher is old school. He raced in F1 when it wasn't health and safety conscious. He went wheel to wheel with real drivers, and has seen drivers and their careers come and go over the years. Schumacher has a record 7 x World Championships to his name. I personally doubt Lewis or Button will get more than 1. There is a new, very dominant and unique driver in F1 now, and that is Vettel.

  • Comment number 44.

    >"He is the new benchmark in F1 and is already on a level of consistent, mistake free speed that Hamilton especially will never get to."

    Vettel last year was a lot like Hamilton this year - fast, but with a lot of mistakes and crashes. I get the impression that McLaren are leaning on LH to learn from what Vettel is doing this year.

  • Comment number 45.

    From Twitter some support from Jake:

    “@jakehumphreyf1: Great day, great fans...they're a vocal bunch out here in Italy!! Hope you enjoyed the #bbcf1 coverage today ;-)”

  • Comment number 46.

    first one-Hamilton should have learnt from Canada that you get blocked off, nowt wrong with.
    second one-how do you expect Schumy to take the corner without coming back to that side of the track, it's alright for Lewis aint it?

    Typical british response to a british driver not getting their own way against Schumacher.

  • Comment number 47.

    Fantastic race today, some superb drives all round. The myth that Vettel can't overtake/lacks racecraft has been truly disproven today. Phenomenal driver in a good car means lots of race wins. Again on the point of Vettel going up against other top drivers; he's up against Mark Webber, a very fast, albeit often unlucky driver. Not much more to prove for me has Vettel, he's just too fast for the rest.

  • Comment number 48.

    P.P.S Could someone please tell Jake that when drivers are being interviewed and giving answers to questions, this is the time to shut up and listen, its not the time to keep interrupting these people with unfunny one liners. It's very distracting for the person being interviewed (as Jenson had to point out to him today) and he's starting to annoy me because he does it constantly. Not only is it unprofessional, its also quite rude. You dont have to have an unfunny one liner for every statement a driver makes you know? You CAN just let them talk. A revolutionary idea I know, maybe Sky will get that one right.

  • Comment number 49.

    The reason I no longer watch Formula1 is because of Hamilton.

  • Comment number 50.

    You have to say, if the boot had been on the other foot, Lewis would have been rollocked by the whole paddock now and people asking for him to be banned.... but of course, Schumacher doesn't get any form of penalty or punishment. Wonder if that has anything to do with the fact that he is a former Ferrari driver..... and guess who is the FIA President? As others have said too, the BBC are making it quite clear that you have an anti-Lewis agenda. Hang your heads in shame.

    As for the race (and the season itself for that matter), I cannot agree with Eddie Jordan when he said 2011 has been a really exciting season. Come to your senses EJ, the 2010 season is gonna take some beating and for me, that was the pinnacle of the current era of F1. I thought the coverage was terrible today, the standards are slipping! Perhaps it is related to the subject that I shall not mention in this thread.

  • Comment number 51.

    Vettel is actually by far the best driver on the circuit. The Mc Larens are at the moment more than competitive for the Red Bulls. But especially Hamilton got no clue. He is driving without using his brain. Button the opposite! Smart driver and for me the number one competitor for Seb! Why? He is a smart driver! F1 is not only attacking it is also especially keeping the car on the track :-) . Webber by the way got the same car as Seb but has not the same succes . . . . . . . . By the way take a look after every race how Button treats Seb. With respect and really lucky for him. A real sportsman. Take a look to Hamilton when he looses again against Seb how he reacts . . . . . . .

  • Comment number 52.

    Im surprised at Brundle as hes old school this is how it was done back in the day you would never see senna or mansell give way when fighting for points.

    Schumacher was racing not driving to the shops he was in a slower car he was passable.
    Must be hard for the bbc as they quite often like to bad mouth both Lewis and michael must of had trouble who it pick to demonise between the two.
    You never know it might not be like this next year when sky is incharge(they would never stoop to something as low bias reporting.... oh wait lol).

  • Comment number 53.

    >"I don't really understand the current way F1 works. I don't understand why last week, when as far as anyone sane can see, Mandenardo side swipes Hamilton and smashes his car, - and Hamilton gets a rep. "


    It's true, you really don't understand F1. Hamilton received a warning, and Maldonado was penalized five grid spaces. If Hamilton had been penalized you'd have grounds for complaint.

  • Comment number 54.

    Although up until this season passing has been hard, it has been to easy, for the first time this season we seen some successfully defending. With the DRS it is a guaranteed pass. Dont get me wrong passing is good, but its far far too easy!!!!! maybe the DRS should deactivate when the cars are side-by-side. Its all attack nowadays so great to see some defending

  • Comment number 55.

    35. At 20:09 11th Sep 2011, Riggadon wrote:

    P.S Lee McKenzie is getting exactly what she deserves from Hamilton. Nothing. I said that would happen. You might as well get someone else to interview him from now because he will never open up to her again (and no less than deserved).
    ------------------------------------------------------
    Absolutely spot on!!!!!

    Lewis has been nothing but open and friendly with the BBC from the start of his F1 career and they have repaid him with constant back stabbing in the hope of getting into his head and affecting his game so that their preferred Brit Jenson can get on top.

    If this is what Lewis gets from his fellow British journalists in the BBC I definitely wont be paying to see it 10 times worse on SKY.

  • Comment number 56.

    Benson in anti-Schumacher jibe!! Shock horror.

    Couldn't really see what all the fuss was about Schumacher to be honest.

    In one breath the commentators were saying 'He's just the right side of the (metaphorical) line'....the next they were criticising him. Surely it's either right or wrong, but typically Schu's reputation precedes him.

    I really enjoyed seeing Schumacher going wheel to wheel with Lewis, and found his defensive driving excellent. A real art form that you don't often see in modern day F1. I think he's doing an amazing job at 42, remember Luca Badoer? I hope the Merc is competitive next year to see him mix it at the front.

    It was also interesting seeing Lewis keep a cool head and not making a risky move when you could just sense how frustrated he must have felt.

    Other than that and the incident at the start it was very routine. Vettel and the Red Bull are just too good.

    Lee McKenzie is desperate for another Lewis 'sound-byte', Eddie Jordan changes his mind like the weather regarding Schumacher and is generally very irritating and Di-Resta is the worlds most boring man.

  • Comment number 57.

    "Vettel last year was a lot like Hamilton this year - fast, but with a lot of mistakes and crashes. I get the impression that McLaren are leaning on LH to learn from what Vettel is doing this year" --> the only different is that Vettel did lots of mistakes on his way to championship - and he did learn from his mistake and becomes more mature driver. It seems the other way around with Hamilton, does it... I always think Button is way much better driver than Hamilton, really do not understand why people here seems thinking Hamilton is a great driver...

  • Comment number 58.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 59.

    @Hartmann -- totally agree... Vettel becomes and still putting his head down to learn and keep pushing for better result each time. And Button is definitely 100 times better than Hamilton, he uses his head and not just his muscle..

  • Comment number 60.

    yawn - Schumacher was doing what all the other guys would do in that situation, block as hard as you can within the laws - the interpretation on his side is you can move once, then return to the racing line to take the corner, which he was doing and yeh he was 'taking advantage' of that allowance, as you would expect any driver to do. when warned that it was borderline, he obeyed.

    it wouldn't have been an issue had poor old Lewis got passed in one move, but he couldn't so schu had plenty of opportunity to give a masterclass in preventing a guy from getting by.

    Ham was just as hard on webber at silverstone - remember "i gave him just enough room to stay behind me..." so he couldn't really complain and wouldn't no matter how annoyed he was, he was just beaten in that dule. and i wanted him to pass and catch the others btw!

    the bbc media coverage of Hamiltons 'problems' and this 'Schumacher being hard to pass' - whilst raving about 'team leader' Button is so over the top it makes me want to V***T.

    one race its 'the stewards have all the data and tv angles, we should trust them' the next race it's 'why no penalty?!!'

    its as clear as glass how opinion changes to fit the story of the hour.

    leave schu alone, he was fun. give ham a break, stop eulogising button. taa -

    p.s i enjoyed webber and ricciardo at redbull speed jam cardiff last week, not that well advertised but good fun.

  • Comment number 61.

    @38
    actually vettel's lap in top gear was in the dry a 144.0 whereas LH lap was in the wet and oliy at 144.7 (with deductions it should be 4secs off) and JB lap was 144.7 (Hot -2seconds) so therefore vettel was always gonna be top. just realised Hamliton can't win the title any more correct me if i'm wrong

    Don go to sky!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Comment number 62.

    I'm getting sick of hearing and reading 'robust'. Who started it?

  • Comment number 63.

    >"I always think Button is way much better driver than Hamilton, really do not understand why people here seems thinking Hamilton is a great driver..."

    I'm certainly no LH fanboy, but at his best I think he's a quicker driver than Button. Button is more consistent though, and that's what Hamilton needs to work on. I think he IS working on it - this was the sort of race he often crashes/gets penalized in, but today he was patient and took the points that were available.

  • Comment number 64.

    Schumacher was on the line, as DC and MB said. He did nothing illegal, in fact Alonso did the same thing to Vettel on the outside, though it was easier for Vettel to carry on committed to the overtake.
    In fact what Schumacher did was quite clever, he made his one move across, then had to move back to retake the racing line for the upcoming corner. So it looks like weaving, but it was most certainly legitimate.
    I think you have to take into consideration that Schumacher grew up racing in the generation of Senna and Prost, and if they pulled off some of their famous collisions in a present day environment, I suppose the reaction would be the same. They say you can't teach an old dog new tricks, but then it's not so much of an excuse.
    Schumacher is famous for pushing everything to the limit, why do you think he won so many Grand Prix and world championships? Every lap, pushing the car to the limit, racing to the limit, for every place, every position, it's what makes racers, well, racers. And Schumacher is probably one of the most diehard racers on this planet. Even Hamilton shows glimpses of this, it's what makes all winners great winners.

  • Comment number 65.

    Absolutely loved Schumacher getting one over on Hamilton - its just such a shame that Schumacher and Rosberg don't have the car to prove to everybody that they both could easily win races in a competitive car.

    Anyway, on a slightly different note, but I have a slight complaint about Martin Brundle since he's become the lead commentator. Is it just me, or has this season he developed a really annoying habit of throwing in references to his career, as if to say to viewers "Its not just DC who used to drive you know, I was good as well!"

    I have never heard him drop so many references in to his past performances as he has done this season. Its always little remarks about how he came just behind Senna in one race, or how he finished ahead of Schumacher in one race or something. Ok Martin, we get it.

    I have always been a big Brundle fan but it definitely feels like this season he's been trying to push his own agenda and have viewers consider him as a successful driver of the past when unfortunately the reality is his results were above average at best.

    What is perhaps telling is the fact that DC clearly doesnt feel the need to go on about any of his numerous wins or at the time record points haul for a Scottish or English driver. You rarely hear of him boasting, if anything he slags himself off when it comes to his career. Brundle needs to drop this annoying new habit!

  • Comment number 66.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 67.

    @anna

    "Button is definitely 100 times better than Hamilton, he uses his head and not just his muscle"

    I agree e.g. take the brilliant drives from Button when the it was raining . . . . . . .

  • Comment number 68.

    Woeful, biased article against Michael Schumacher. In my opinion, Schumi was stiff with his defense, but not over the limit. He HAD to be hard with his defensive driving, he is in a car that is no where near the level of Red Bull, McLaren or Ferrari. Jenson proved that Schumacher is more than fair IF the attacking driver is going to get past.

    Hamilton was just annoyed because Button made it look easy, something he defiantly didn't do. The McLaren was quicker than Red Bull again today, something that must of been said at the majority of tracks. For all doubters, look at Webber's win column. Vettel was supreme today as he has been all year long. Quite a frightening racing driver. I used to think Alonso, Hamilton or Kubica in the other Red Bull and we would see him crack. I no longer think this. Vettel is the new benchmark!

  • Comment number 69.

    "Button is definitely 100 times better than Hamilton, he uses his head and not just his muscle"
    ---------------------------
    This is the kind of drivel you get when ill-informed viewers buy into the constant Button hype and Hamilton bashing from the BBC.

  • Comment number 70.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 71.

    Running with low gearing on a high-speed track like Monza sounds crazy, but Red Bull have been making a lot of very astute strategy calls this year.

  • Comment number 72.

    well first congratulations to the top 5 they all drove very well

    as for schumacher i think he did absolutely nothing wrong... he defended his position BUT the stewards have created a precedent by penalising lewis so much so they had to warn schumi but i think penalising him would have been too much... and im a hardcore lewis fan...
    schumi is a great sportsman but he seemed to be particularly focused on not letting lewis pass and then when button came didnt defend too much... but fair play to him thats sport as long as its fair

    button for the first time beat lewis hamilton fair and square congrats to him but he will need to do it a few more times without the help of whithmarsh if he wants to be taken seriously... and nah andrew hes far from being a great yet...

    lewis for the second time looked to struggle on the straights and i wonder if his drs actually worked because he didnt have enough speed to bother schumi tbh...

    finally it look as if leiws had his team put more downforce in his car... if so he will no more struggle with tyres i thinkand they didnt lose any pace so its perfect... and its a good start imo :=)

  • Comment number 73.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 74.

    I thought Schumacher drove a great race, but a couple of his moves were questionable; however, as he drove like that in the first part of his career its not really suprising. What is suprising though is that he does appear to be improving - I didn't think he be able to regain his old form.

  • Comment number 75.

    Scarlet7

    Yes, Hamilton's fault for allowing Schumacher past but the difference is that Hamilton made a rash momentary move or two (deemed by the stewards) at Monaco and Canada… criticised by Massa, one of the worst ever practitioners of aggressive defensive driving. Hamilton's driving was actually defended by Alonso, who knows what he's doing. As for Schumacher, he spent the whole of today's race driving over the acceptable limit.

    As your name suggests, you'll never have a bad word said against x 7 WDC Schumie but now that he's obviously lost the plot – getting regularly annihilated by his unrated team-mate – obviously you feel the need for a new replacement hero and somehow convince yourself that after a season in a vastly superior car, The Finger has suddenly risen in talent above all others?!?! Ferrari handed the championship to Vettel last year after he himself tried to throw it away in Turkey and at Spa to name but two races… erm, remember those?

    Look through F1 history… even drivers like Riccardo Patrese and John Watson looked effortlessly great in superior machinery.

    But, like you say… it's YOUR opinion

    If those who work in F1 day in, day out, who watch from the track-side lap after lap, who talk to the team engineers and analyse the data from every practice session, qualifying and race – many of who I have spoken to – reckon that Vettel is still not quite as good as Hamilton or Alonso, who are you, sitting in your armchair watching your telly to judge?

  • Comment number 76.

    I think the fact that many on here, who would claim not to be Schumacher are defending him is really refreshing and shows that the real fans of f1 are able to make up their own minds about how Michael drove today. He defended very toughly, and why shouldnt he?

    Andrew, a truly terrible article. DC and Brundle really took the excitment out of the show today.

    Can I also say that the way the bbc f1 hompage is littered with Schumacher stories as if its some big controversy is disgusting.

  • Comment number 77.

    Vettel has never made the errors that Hamilton makes time and time again. Vettel made a handful of errors in his first few season but learned from them and also had way more car failures than errors that he made. Hamilton is the most mistake prone driver on the grid time and time again. he has made more errors than any other driver in every season he has been in F1. Quite simply Vettel is faster, doesn't crack under pressure(in fact is probably better under pressure, truly stunning) consistent, a nice guy, younger, more intelligent, races without taking other off and doesn't make mistakes.

    Quite simply Vettel is a much better driver than Hamilton. A different league in fact, people should stop comparing, it isn't fair on Hamilton.

  • Comment number 78.

    Oh Andrew, Andrew.

    I've always thought that you had a bit of a chip on your shoulder when it came to the subject of Michael Schumacher. I was wrong. It's the whole potato field!

    All I saw today was a racing driver, almost twice the age of most of his rivals, robustly defending his position from a driver that is considered to be one of the best of the current generation. There was absolutely no contact between the two cars and at no point was Hamilton ahead on the track. Why should Schumacher defer?

    Watching the old maestro in an inferior car holding off a much quicker opponent lap after lap was a joy to watch.

    Schumacher made one move into Curva Grande and, as the following driver, it was up to Hamilton to back out of the move. As for making more than one move to block, remember Hamilton blatently weaving in front of Petrov all the way down the start/finish straight in Malaysia last year?

    The problem is that F1 has become sanitised of late. The current generation of drivers expect others to jump out of the way as soon as they get close. Wouldn't have had this conversation in the no holds barred days of Mansell, Senna, Piquet etc. Schumacher is one of the old breed and watching his driving today was a reminder of what real F1 used to be like.

  • Comment number 79.

    All of the BBC pundits are a disgrace today after and during a quite brilliant race from Schumacher all they wanted to do was beat up on him.

    Appalling from the BBC. When will this anti-Schumacher rubbish that we have endured for years and years come to an end?

    When you have two driver that Schumi continually thrashed it probably never will.

  • Comment number 80.

    GUYS, GUYS, GUYS......

    I just heard the news....Every other driver apparently has to jump onto the grass when Hamilton comes up behind them and let him by. It's only fair to lewis apparantly.

    It's a new rule introduced by the Hamilton fan club Andrew benson, Martin Brundle, David Coulthard and Jake Humphreys!

  • Comment number 81.

    I've just been re-running my recording of the race and the chants at the end are definitely not in favour of this deal.
    Once again, very good race and Heikki certainly does not appear to squeeze Luizzi,in fact he seems to move away the moment Heikki saw Luizzi. It looked like it was inevitable the moment he left the line.
    Once again, nothing from the missing duo.............. I reckon one has gone back to his old employer with a big pat on the back and a 'Well done, mission accomplished!' and the other is just too dense to realise what is going on.

  • Comment number 82.

    I've just seen Ted Kravitz's pit lane report - I love his closing comment about Eddie Irvine lol.

  • Comment number 83.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 84.

    As others have said, Schumi provided fantastic entertainment today, but your article is entirely as I would expect from you.

    Schumacher was hard, but fair, which is what F1 should be about. When Lewis took to the grass he was not in front of Schumi, not alongside him, but in fact some way behind him.

    The BBC commentary from MB and DC is so blatantly biased against Schumacher that it cannot be taken seriously. DC getting his rule book out was pathetic.

    You give high praise to Vettel for his pass on Alonso at Curva Grande, and it was a good move, but unless I'm mistaken Schumacher re-took Lewis in exactly the same place without any drama.

  • Comment number 85.

    Benson was feel like a complete idiot now! haha

  • Comment number 86.

    Michael Schumacher and Lewis Hamilton - racers and winners. It was truly thrilling to watch.

    So sad the BBC lay down to Sky and we won't have the benefit of seeing it all again live next year.

    Separately but in another indication of falling standards at the BBC, can you have a word with Sarah Holt? The opening sentence of her report on the website reads "Sebastian Vettel fought back to win Red Bull's first Italian Grand Prix..."

    We can all work out that she meant "Sebastian Vettel fought back to record a first win for Red Bull at the Italian Grand Prix," but that's not what she wrote. Her piece reads as though it was Red Bull's first Italian Grand Prix, not their first victory at that race.

    Ho hum...

  • Comment number 87.

    It's all very well that a lot of people are jumping to Schumacher's aid because he drove as he always used to do, but the facts are the facts: he made a double move, and a MUCH greater and MUCH more blatant double move than the one Hamilton got punished for when he made a minor kink along a straight in Malaysia.

    It's a double standard. It doesn't matter who the drivers are - it's simply a double standard - and it always is. Hamilton has made some big errors this year - Massa and Maldonado at Monaco, Webber in Canada - but he gets punished for these any many more. There are many incidents in the season where other drivers have made similarly egregious (or considerably worse) moves - but invariably they get away with them.

    That's what's wrong. It's not that Schumacher drives hard and to the limit - it's that Hamilton got punished in Malaysia for much less. It's not that Button made a driver's error when he drove Hamilton into the wall in Canada - it's that Hamilton inevitably would have been penalised if it was the other way around.

  • Comment number 88.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 89.

    Lets face it, the only reason people are making a fuss about Schumacher not being penalized is because we know if the tables were turned and Lewis was making those moves he would have been penalized 100%.

    The stewards have destroyed their credibility by being so hard on Hamilton and at the same time they seem to open a different rule book when it comes to other drivers.

  • Comment number 90.

    @f1fan01: 89

    One can only hope that next year they decide to be less blatantly unfair.

  • Comment number 91.

    Hamilton has, in his own words, had a bad season but what major sportsperson hasn't? He'll be back stronger than ever. I think it's fantastic that there are two such amazing British drivers in one team and with such with contrasting styles. I hope to see them together for seasons to come. Hamilton actually did a great job today and had he had one more lap would have been on the podium.

    Shumacher has had 2 great races... he's very competitive and maybe did obstruct somewhat but he does always push boundaries. After the last 2 races I am not surprised that Hamilton didn't take too many chances. He needed a good steady race and got that. His final charge was still classic Hamilton taking fastest lap after fastest lap.

  • Comment number 92.

    Alonso move was far worse...there was nothing wrong with Schumacher as Hamilton wasn't along side.

  • Comment number 93.

    BBC remove this nonsense and replace with an article on an outstanding Schumacher drive

  • Comment number 94.

    Given that Schumacher's car was slower round a lap than this probably the only way he was going to try and defend his place.

    It hardly looked as tough as Gilles Villenueve used to be when his Ferrari was slower than half the field. I know regaukations have changed but given the diffrence in performance with two grades of tyre a degree of tough defending a position is required unless the idea is that alll passing takes place during the pit stops.

  • Comment number 95.

    Shoes darling....
    Not the maker.
    It's all about the shoes.....

  • Comment number 96.

    Schumacher should have been penalised! If the rules says you have 1 movement, then stick it it rather then double standards, its stupid to give a penalty to one driver (Hamilton in an earlier race) and then not give it to Scbumi, he has to stop doing this or someone will be killed like he did last year with Rubens, that was very dangerous.

    Plus, is anyone getting bored of thie races now? I am, the same winner is runing great passing and I saw 5 Live held a poll and it came out the majority would still watch the races if the Championship had been won...I dont think I would.

  • Comment number 97.

    More Schuey bashing from the beeb.

    Yeah, he pushed it to the limits today, but to the limits, not beyond, just ask the stewards. To be fair, the guy's driving for a team that are desperate for success. What you saw today was an old hand doing all he could to get them a podium in a slow car thats had loads of money thrown at it and should in theory be getting 7th and 8th places.

    As for the serving towards Lesmo 1 - do me a favour. That happens every year with countless drivers, especially on lap 1... or doesn;t that count if its not Schumacher.

    Loved the "No more Sky" chants at the end of the race. Shame, we could have been watching it all for free on Channel 4 next year. Ah well, such is life.

  • Comment number 98.

    Never been a Schumi fan, never will be, but he drove a blinder today - proper F1 racing like it used to be.

    NO TO SKY

  • Comment number 99.

    Article is full of Benson's personal opinions which as always are completely inaccurate.

  • Comment number 100.

    I thought Schumacher's greatest bit of gamesmanship was drawing up alongside Hamilton while behind the safety car to ensure the Briton would have to look in his mirrors instead of watching Alonso at the restart. Amazed none of the commentators bothered to mention it.

 

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