Schumacher: “I did exactly what I was supposed to do”

2011 Italian Grand Prix

Michael Schumacher, Mercedes, Monza, 2011

Michael Schumacher, Mercedes, Monza, 2011

Michael Schumacher brushed off criticism of his defensive driving against Lewis Hamilton in the Italian Grand Prix.

Schumacher said his driving was within the rules: “I felt I did exactly what I was supposed to do and as far as I understand there was no request for me to see the stewards so I guess everything is in order.”

During the race Hamilton repeatedly complained to his team that Schumacher was making move defensive moves than he was allowed to, saying “He’s moving all over the place” and asking “I thought he was only allowed to move once?” to which the team replied: “Understood, Lewis. The FIA are aware.”

Schumacher was reminded by Ross Brawn to ensure he left room for Hamilton at Ascari, where Hamilton eventually passed the Mercedes.

After the race, asked if Schumacher’s driving had been fair, Hamilton said “Yeah, that’s racing.”

Hamilton added: “It was a good race. I got some points and I finished, so I can’t really complain.”

He also explained how he ended up behind Schumacher following the safety car period: “At the restart Michael was on the outside of me and I was looking at him in my mirrors.

“And then before I knew it the guys had gone so I missed the opportunity to slipstream Sebastian [Vettel].

“I got caught napping but once we finally got pas t I was able to chase down and I had fun chasing Fernando [Alonso].”

He said his car’s straight-line speed made it hard to pass the Mercedes: “We just lost a little bit on the straights and that’s why I couldn’t pass Michael.”

2011 Italian Grand Prix

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197 comments on Schumacher: “I did exactly what I was supposed to do”

  1. That was a great battle until Schumacher was practically ordered out of the way and let Lewis pass! Embarrasing .. how can Hamilton whine so much.

  2. It just shows, Michael can learn new tricks, from the weave master “LH”, the only reason LH complained was that it was being done to him. I wonder if the tables were turned what would have been the call from McLaren.

  3. I’ve always been under the impression that you can move out once and back once.

    I’d never thought I’d bring myself to say this, but I’m really liking the Mercedes Schumacher more than the Schumacher of the Ferrari/Benetton era.

    I really used to loathe his attitude on track but since the incident in Hungary 2010 I think he’s improved. It’s been painfully slow to watch but he’s showing everyone that he still has got it.

    • AndrewTanner (@andrewtanner) said on 11th September 2011, 19:41

      The past couple of races he’s had have been probably the best two consecutive drives he’s had at Mercedes. As far as I’m concerned he is a welcome addition of experience to the grid.

  4. AdrianMorse (@adrianmorse) said on 11th September 2011, 17:44

    I didn’t think I’d be saying this, but I think Hamilton should take a look at some of Button’s overtakes. Button took Alonso straight out of the first chicane by draining his KERS, and that’s what Hamilton should have tried in the run up to Ascari. I think he had enough pace to close up on Schumacher without using his KERS too much, and then with the combined DRS and KERS he could have gotten past him sooner (because on the run up to Ascari they didn’t reach 330kp/h, at which point Lewis’s rev limiter would kick in).

    • MS let Button by when he chose and then, eventually, let Hamilton by.

      Many thinks this shows more ability by Button. It was just Schumacher demonstrating that he is still up to a great passers ability on a track.

      Helps Baby Shumi,
      Helps Alonso,

      helps removing LH from McLaren at the end of 2012.

      • I don’t think he “let” them by did he?

        I think by the time they passed him his tyres where gone, hence why he pitted straight after.

  5. With one exception (maybe two), Michael defended fair enough today. McLaren Mercedes is a car way much better than Mercedes so I guess it is only Hamilton fault he didn’t succeed. Within a McLaren, Michael would have had no problem to overpass Hamilton.

  6. I think for me, if you are forcing them to have DRS it is seriously disapointing that they then choose to gear the car as if it were not present. This has happened a few times this season.

    What I’m saying is that if we accept DRS as valid way to overtake they are going to need to be forced to run the right ratios or what happened today will happen again and again.

    I loved watching it, really nice battle but he should of been able to pass after a few laps had they not geared it wrong. I’m suprised it makes that much difference, I know the engines are peaky but do they really need to be that precise in 7th? Allow some headroom!

  7. Know what? Schumacher did exactly what he was supposed to do.
    I loved seeing his defensive driving, and although I thought he was crazy he left the right amount of space, precise at the millimetre. Hamilton was as fast as him on the straights but never out-braked him, because Schumy was great at braking late and not runnig wide or locking the wheels. I felt he could’ve made the podium, at the beginning even win the race, but as the tyres deteriorated I put my feet back on Earth and thought 5th place was the best he could do.

  8. I see it as totally fair. The reason Lewis was “put on the grass” was because he went for a gap that wasn’t really there. There was no way he was getting past there unless Schumacher had understeered and run wide… which he didn’t. Thus the door was closed.

    As for the weaving, there was only 1 time where I think he came close to weaving, it was slightly borderline, but as others have said, moving once then moving back to the racing line is within the rules, that’s what he did.

    Hamilton’s problem was that he attmepted to pass too often, and too soon. He was pulling out of the slipstream too early and having to pull back in again. He was trying to get past at every corner whether there was a chance or not. When you do things like that, you just slow yourself down.

    Gear ratios (if indeed they were different) or no gear ratios, Button did not make those mistakes. He made one decisive move and made it stick. Saying Schumacher “let button past” is rather insulting to Jenson for what was a smart overtake.

    Someone in my twitter timeline even went as far as to say (or heavily imply) Schumacher was racist for letting button past but not Hamilton! I mean come on, really? Get a grip!

  9. steve0001 said on 11th September 2011, 18:54

    What we seen today was racing, just seems Lewis fans cry as much as Lewis himself.

    Would be good to see what Schumacher could do with a good car, maybe show these kids how to drive…

  10. mikeycool said on 11th September 2011, 19:27

    I think its fair to admit that Lewis isnt in the greatest of forms as of late, whilst Jenson has been brilliant for Mclaren and outperforming lewis in that respect.

    I do however, believe that its unfair for people to start telling lewis to take a leaf out of Jensons book in overtaking. Hamilton is still one of the best overtakers out there, hes simply in a bad run of form.

    I find it funny that its never the otherway around when Lewis is doing great and Jenson has had a bad race. No one even mentioned Jenson in the same breadth as lewis after the race in China.

    I’m not trying to be Lewis biased. I’m just saying the amount of criticism he has received lately is undeserved. People saying that Jenson is now the teams no. 1 can only make that sort of claim if Lewis is consistently outperformed over a long period of time and not after a few races in 1 season.

  11. AndrewTanner (@andrewtanner) said on 11th September 2011, 19:38

    Fantastic long battle between the two of them, probably the highlight of the race. I tried to watch as much as I could on the huge TV opposite where we were and I didn’t see anything to suggest that Schumacher was misbehaving, of course I could have blinked and missed it though.

    Sounds a little like typical Hamilton to be fair. Somethings not going his way so he complains but retracted it as soon as possible. It’s kind of endearing!

  12. racelitze (@racelitze) said on 11th September 2011, 19:50

    I think it was one of the most exciting battles this season
    20 laps or so – great!

  13. kowalsky said on 11th September 2011, 19:52

    michael is getting on the pace, and is very close in championship points to his teammate. Last year was bad, but he is improving all the time.
    If he beats rosberg at the end of the year, and gets a better car for 2012, who is going to bet against him for podiums, even wins? Not me.
    The world championship? I don’t think so.

  14. You can be assured that had Lewis had driven like this, he would have been straight to the stewards.

    • judo chop said on 11th September 2011, 20:56

      Agree 100%. It was a great battle but how so many posters can say Schumacher’s blatant double move across Hamilton was fair beyond me. Especially compared to when Hamilton was penalised against Alonso in Malaysia.

      • David-A (@david-a) said on 12th September 2011, 1:27

        Schumi’s move was fair. He was allowed one defensive move and a move back to the racing line. He just put his car in the right places, that’s all.

    • Harry Palmer said on 12th September 2011, 16:47

      Paranoid nonsense… the stewards are not known for their leniency with Michael (certainly not this time round) and what he did was within the rules (one move then taking the racing line for the corner). Irrespective of whether it was Michael or any other driver, a penalty would not have been appropriate – or indeed any more or less likely…

  15. “Schumacher was making move defensive moves than he was allowed to”
    Should be “more”.

    Very god duel – excellent advertising for F1. Impressive driving from both. Probably Button had chosen a more fitting gear-ratio.
    I don’t think Schu was defending illegally, and I’m glad that the DRS was not so effective in this race.
    RBR has now destroyed the opposition, by showing that they can also come out on top on tracks like Spa and Monza but nevertheless F1 is still very exciting.
    Good for the Tifosi, that Teflonso made it to the podium, I’m happy for them.

  16. Lets face it, Lewis just didn’t have the balls to pass Mike on the outside,like Vetta did on F.A….now thats what we should be chatting about…anyone post a video of that pass?

  17. Icthyes (@icthyes) said on 11th September 2011, 20:56

    Coming from a Hamilton fan – once you get past the frustration of seeing him compromised in such a bad way (and the gear ratios certainly didn’t help), there was nothing Michael did against the rules. I have to wonder about the Curva Grande incident but in the end Hamilton was going for a gap that was going to disappear.

  18. steve0001 said on 11th September 2011, 21:08

    Everybody wants to be like Mike.

    Was good to watch the difference between a good driver and a world class best of all time driver, if only the car could match Michael’s class.

  19. Glyn Roughsedge said on 11th September 2011, 22:18

    MSC cheats, always has done, gets let off, goes back years.

  20. Warren2185 said on 11th September 2011, 22:41

    I road raced in the SCCA, in the United States, for 16 years. My first instructor said basically, “you can take a protective line to make up for a mistake once-in-a-while, You can take a protective line on the last lap, but if you do it nearly every time during the race to keep a faster car behind…then you aren’t much of a racer”. I can tell you in those 16 years, that’s how nearly all the drivers I met, thought of those people who lap-after-lap, came out of a corner and took the line forcing the guy behind you to take the outside line into the next corner. Drivers had little respect for those that did that very often. Legal yes. But it doesn’t mean I have to respect Shumacher. I think that’s why the commentators had a problem with it too. Because they were drivers at one time. It’s an honor, respect and sportsmanship thing.

    • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 11th September 2011, 22:53

      I know where you’re coming from, but I find it a rather quaint view.

      This is professional motor racing, and drivers who don’t defend their positions are not going to be employed driving cars that cost nine-figure sums to develop. That goes for Schumacher, Vettel, Alonso, Hamilton and the rest equally.

      • Warren2185…you have said well what I think of this matter…and Keith, I’m glad you see where he is coming from even if you find it a quaint view.

        I think that even though this is professional motor racing and drivers must defend their positions in order to keep their jobs, I think that if there was more of what we saw with MS vs LH F1 would soon look like rental go-karts rather than professional. It’s why there is a one-move rule to begin with. Also, with DRS, drivers have been shown to have no defence for the upcoming driver, even look like they are standing still such is the speed differential at times, and they likely will remain employed. Thankfully they don’t just change lines and leap in front of the upcoming driver in a DRS zone in order to keep employed.

        I think that DC and MB had reason to suggest MS’s behaviour might be looked at by the stewards, and that it infringes on the border of sportsmanship if nothing else. They had already suggested it before the really debateable move happened. I don’t think, as some have suggested, that DC and MB say what they say out of some bitterness. And I note nobody has commented on the positive things DC and MB said about MS. The fact that this issue came up is due to some borderline behaviour, and it is behaviour I have never respected, and we have seen so often from MS that I think that is why there is so much debate about it. And why DC and MB comment as they do.

        MS got away with something yesterday, or perhaps he didn’t…the fact that the historically inconsistant FIA decided to do nothing this time does not convince me that what MS did was fair. It was borderline or else there wouldn’t be all this discussion. And to some, borderline is exactly what they are looking for. I’m just grateful that borderline is not so common from so many drivers that it looks like go-karts out there…most drivers don’t go to this length to be so wide because it is not in their makeup and because they don’t want someone in front of them doing the same thing to them.

        There has been many a time when a commentator has explained that this kind of defense only lets the field in front get further away such is the time that it is costing the defending party, and perhaps the tires too…some days it is better for one’s own lap times to let a driver go and fight him back at another corner in the name of keeping the rest of the field close.
        Perhaps that is one of the reasons we don’t see a ton of examples per race of this kind of defending.

        I also wonder how some of the defenders of MS would think if it was LH doing it to him. Or if NR did it? Would they be calling that fair? Just racing? Some would probably say it’s a taste of his own medicine. Some would probably say MS wasn’t fairly treated.

        Somehow I think that just because MS didn’t get a talking to by the stewards, (or perhaps they at least talked to Brawn and told him to remind MS of his behaviour over the radio) this does not mean we are going to see an afternoon full of this behaviour in the next race.

    • David-A (@david-a) said on 12th September 2011, 17:03

      @ Warren – but the nature of having a faster (not equal) car behind you means you have to push and defend harder to keep the other car behind. It’s easier for the faster car to pass because they are faster, regardless of which line the slower car takes.

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