I’m grateful to Russell Batchelor, the photographer who took this amazing photo, for sending me a high resolution version so you can see more clearly exactly what was going on between Michael Schumacher and Rubens Barrichello on the Hungaroring pit straight, late in Sunday’s race.
There’s a full size version at the bottom of this post which really does it justice.
We’ve had hundreds of comments about this incident, with some calling for Schumacher to be banned and others arguing that Barrichello should stop bleating.
I’ve picked out one recent comment from Andrew C, which I thought was very interesting and well written to go with the picture for a calm re-consideration of the situation now that a few days have passed. What I like about it is that he isn’t bogged down by a partisan pro Schuey or anti Schuey mentality, he’s approaching it from the point of view of someone who loves F1 because it is the best drivers in the world doing things the rest of us cannot imagine doing.
I’m not saying he’s right or wrong about his conclusions on Michael’s ethics, but I found the approach really refreshing and it reminds us all of why we are so passionate about F1, whether we are insiders of outsiders.
Here it is:
Andrew C writes: “I must have rewinded the tape 15 times to watch the absolutely excellent pass Rubens put on Schumacher. Funny thing was, Martin Brundle stating seconds earlier that Rubens didn’t have the ‘cajones’ to do the work. The best way to look at the move is in real time… and not still photos.
“It is two of the most experienced, and winning drivers ever, giving each other centimetres of space. The move takes place in a time/ space — call it ‘reality’ — that the average bloke simply could not understand, adjust to or follow through on.
“Sure, subsequently, Rubens could call it the most dangerous moment of his driving career but it was also one of his finest. He had his eye firmly planted on the end of the edge of the pit wall and knew precisely how much driving was needed to pass Schumacher.
“Unbelievable. And to think that in that same instant, Schumacher also knew just how much was too little a width to offer. Within centimetres and at 180mph.
“These guys know each other better than you and I could ever do. There may be some competitive angst towards each other but it is balanced against a knowledge of their ‘craft’ that makes them one of the hundred or so people ever to win a F1 GP.
“It is the kind of thing that sets apart an F1 pilot from the rest of us.
“I’m pleased about the penalty. It wasn’t ‘reckless’ driving in the sense that both drivers put their cars into spots which only left the likelihood of one coming out in front. Rubens persevered.
“So I answer the survey as ‘tough but fair’.”
Almost 10,000 of you have responded to the JA on F1 poll in the last two days and Andrew C is one of the 21% who said the move was “hard but fair.”
Unfortunately for Michael, 73% went for “outrageous”.
FIA steward and former racer Derek Warwick says that he would have called for Schumacher to be black flagged if the race wasn’t about to finish and said he was ‘disappointed’ by Schumacher’s attitude when interviewed by the stewards after the race.
He added that a 10 place grid drop penalty might not sound much, but at a place like Spa, it will effectively ruin his race. So although he’s there and the fans can see him, he won’t take anything from the weekend so it has a similar effect to taking him out for a race.
That’s fine, but as we know at Spa with rain and safety cars, anything can happen…
We are moving on from this story now, but before we do, we have a JA on F1 competition.
Predict where Schumacher will start the Belgian Grand Prix on the grid and where he will finish it. Remember that he will go back ten places from where he qualifies. So if he qualifies 10th, he will start 20th.
Usual rules apply, you can only enter once and if we have more than one correct answer we will go back through the comments log to find the first one submitted chronologically.