Mercedes: Schumacher fifth after Hamilton battle

2011 Italian GP team review

Michael Schumacher and Lewis Hamilton fought hard but the Mercedes driver had to settle for fifth.

Michael Schumacher Nico Rosberg
Qualifying position 8 9
Qualifying time comparison (Q3) 1’23.777 (-0.7) 1’24.477
Race position 5
Laps 53/53 0/53
Pit stops 2 0

Mercedes drivers’ lap times throughout the race (in seconds):

http://www.f1fanatic.co.uk/charts/2011drivercolours.csv
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 51 52 53
Michael Schumacher 121.354 142.879 138.728 90.519 90.319 91.913 89.815 89.682 89.57 89.473 89.58 90.103 90.132 89.324 90.025 94.101 107.904 88.823 88.713 89.037 88.474 88.695 88.654 88.796 89.001 88.32 88.77 89.154 87.991 88.202 87.748 87.777 87.92 87.996 87.587 87.729 91.041 106.725 88.068 87.69 87.599 87.816 87.709 87.799 87.639 87.402 87.663 87.654 87.597 87.587 87.677 87.944 88.431
Nico Rosberg

Michael Schumacher

Michael Schumacher, Mercedes, Monza, 2011

Michael Schumacher, Mercedes, Monza, 2011

Start tyre Soft
Pit stop 1 Soft 22.709s
Pit stop 2 Medium 22.014s

Schumacher made another of his flying starts, this time moving up from eighth to fourth. In the last five races, he’s gained a remarkable 22 places on the first lap alone.

He pounced on Hamilton at the restart, claiming third position, and even briefly had a look at Fernando Alonso for second.

This began possibly the best battle of the season between two drivers. It took the McLaren driver 23 laps to make a pass stick as Schumacher used the Mercedes’ straight line speed to his advantage.

At one point Hamilton got ahead at the Rettifilio but Schumacher neatly reversed the move with a pass at the della Roggia.

On lap 16 Jenson Button appeared in Schumacher’s mirrors in place of Hamilton. Button quickly passed the Mercedes, saving his KERS to attack as Schumacher began to struggle with rear tyre wear.

Schumacher made his pit stop and stayed ahead of Hamilton, but he was now having to defend ever more vigilantly against the McLaren driver.

His defensive tactics were cause for some debate after the race. But looking at the footage again it’s clear he adhered to the ‘one move’ rule, which has always allowed drivers to move off the racing line to defend and then back towards the line afterwards.

Ross Brawn was heard twice telling Schumacher not to squeeze Hamilton when returning to his racing line. Shortly after the second warning, Hamilton finally made it through on the way into Ascari.

Brawn said afterwards he had been talking to Schumacher on the radio at the time and he hadn’t got a gear change right. When Hamilton passed him, he was much further alongside Schumacher in the braking zone than he had been previously.

From that point he Schumacher was secure in fifth place – Felipe Massa took only a second or two out of him over the final stint.

“The fighting against Lewis was big fun, and my mirrors seemed to be very small at times,” said Schumacher.

“We are both known for driving on the limit, and that is what we did. I had to make my car as wide as a truck, and had to stretch the possible as much as I could, but in the end, as expected, he was still faster.”

Michael Schumacher 2011 form guide

Nico Rosberg

Start tyre Medium

A KERS problem for Rosberg in second practice meant he didn’t get to do a low-fuel run on the soft tyres.

He ran the softs early in third practice but, unusually, elected to do without them in Q3, running on mediums he said. He was last of the drivers to set a time, lining up ninth.

Sadly, how he might have done starting on mediums will remain a mystery, as he was taken out of the race by Vitantonio Liuzzi on the first lap:

“Liuzzi flew like a torpedo over the grass and put me out of the race. It’s a pity because I had a strong strategy and, as Michael’s good result showed, our car was very strong this afternoon.”

Nico Rosberg 2011 form guide

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35 comments on Mercedes: Schumacher fifth after Hamilton battle

  1. I hope a lot of posters will agree when I say that F1 is far,far more exciting since Schumi came back.
    His latest resurgence is lighting up the track.What he needs now is a better car to compete with the front runners.

    • snowman said on 12th September 2011, 15:15

      100% agree. It would be great to see him have a car to compete at the front again.

    • gavmaclean said on 12th September 2011, 16:04

      Completely agree, and now that he is finally coming up to speed, it can only get better. Especially after last year when people were making a big deal about lapping him, its great to see him back to being a mean machine.

      I have enjoyed the blogging on this site about the Schumi issue. After Canada where Schumi was mugged by the new technology, it was good to see him just being an utter beast on the defensive driving.

      Roll on 2012.

      • 1 of the 3 said on 12th September 2011, 18:06

        “This began possibly the best battle of the season between two drivers”, Yes indeed!

        Hamilton and Schumacher are both awesome, and it’s worth saying that Hamilton has massive respect here in Italy where some incorrectly often assumes he’s hated. Racers are respected in a culture that has Formula Uno running in its veins.

        But what’s up with Button’s ‘not bright’ post race comments about Schumacher? Is he trying to embarrass his fans-himself?

        GO Hamilton, GO Schumacher!

      • I think what I said 3 races ago is still what I think: Race pace is good, race craft and car positioning is becoming more consistent, but qualifying still isn’t good enough. It’s a real mystery as to why he can’t qualify the car faster. Rosberg was faster in Q2 by some margin.

    • I don’t agree with you. I wouldn’t say “far far mor exciting”. In fact his return has been more delusional than exciting. He had a good race in Suzuka 2010, Canda 2011, and yes, yesterday in my opinion was fabulous. Let’s hope he can keep that performance and that he could have a better car next year.

    • wasiF1 (@wasif1) said on 13th September 2011, 2:56

      DUKE

      Can’t agree more.

  2. beneboy (@beneboy) said on 12th September 2011, 14:54

    It’s a shame Nico was taken out so early; it would have been interesting to see if the strategy of starting on the harder tires would have allowed him to do a one-stopper or even just a two stopper but with the advantage of the softer tires for the last stint while everyone else was on the harder tires.

  3. I Mercedes people have a great base for 2012. That car has an “anti-DRS” system! However, Michael was moving too much and Lewis was surprisingly very patient and fairly complained over the radio. Jenson was very hard on Schumacher after the race while complaining Hamilton said “That’s racing”…

    I really hope Ferrari, McLaren and Mercedes match Red Bull from day one next year, because Schumacher seems on it again and it would be great to see four teams fighting for poles and wins in every race.

    • snowman said on 12th September 2011, 15:13

      Ya, Mercedes “anti-DRS” system good job! Would be great to see Schmacher & Rosberg having the car to fight at the front next year.

      About Schmacher moving to much, read Four Of F1′s Unwritten Rules

    • Eugenux said on 12th September 2011, 15:35

      actually.., they don’t!, they just use a very low angle on his spoilers and elerons(wings); that is why LH was planted in every corner behind his and MSC’s Mercedes was “dancing all over the place”.

  4. Ya, a real shame we didn’t get to see how NR’s strategy would have played out since he was the only driver in the top ten on the harder compound tires. I have a feeling though that by starting on the tires he did he would have finished one spot behind MS, or perhaps behind FM or in a fight with him, such is the pecking order amongst the manufacturers ie. I can’t see NR doing worse than 7th, perhaps 6th.

    With DRS in existance I thought it would only be a matter of a small number of laps before MW, LH, and JB would slingshot their way past MS in a DRS zone. Didn’t happen when MW went out and of course when LH got stuck behind MS. Perhaps that’s the nature of DRS with minimal downforce venues.

    • Babis1980 said on 12th September 2011, 15:45

      NR could have been a great surprise….. he had two brand new sets of options and immediately after the safety car he would change his medium tyres. So he could have a great race exactly like Webber in China. In my opinion this was the plan, not to loose many places until lap 8 or 9 and then start the hunt for 5th or 6th.

  5. A stunning performance by MSC. We’ve seen glimpes of the ‘old fella’ a lot more this year, and it’s great to see him battle hard, as at Montreal and Spa.

    Great defending and we have to thank him because he made the race very exciting for 30 laps.

    • Well I guess you should be thanking LH for the excitement too…it takes two to tango, and if LH had just decided to sit back and conserve his equipment until the opportune moment to pass, both MS and LH might have gotten closer to the field in front, and MS wouldn’t have had a need to be as wide as a truck. So thank LH too.

  6. Schumacher’s battle was great, but by far I’m disappointed that Rosberg didn’t get a chance. But I doubt he would have defended as Schumacher did.

  7. Schumacher looks like a strong candidate for the DotW. I am not gonna vote for him myself but I believe he had a really good weekend and got the best result that was realistically possible.

    At one point, the German TV commentators were questioning Schumacher’s tactics. For sure, he lost many seconds by defending all the time and it’s hard to imagine how he would be able to keep Hamilton behind until the finish line. But if I were MS, I would do the same. No driver should ever simply give up a place even if he’s in a HRT and a Red Bull is flying from behind. (I’m not talking about lapping here.)

    I still think Schumacher’s comeback wasn’t a good idea. That said, he has been entertaining the spectators a lot.

    • bosyber said on 13th September 2011, 15:28

      I was also wondering if MSC could have been faster had he not fought with HAM for so long, for his position it wouldn’t have mattered (well, after Massa was hit by Webber, taking Webber out). Given that, maybe HAM should have done like Button and waited, letting both drive faster, but I wouldn’t expect MSC to just let HAM past, that’s just not very like him is it!

  8. 72defender (@72defender) said on 12th September 2011, 15:50

    I was hoping their battle lasted the entire race, but it was not meant to be.

    Given the characteristics of this unique circuit, it perhaps may have been possible they could have slipped streamed each other closer to the front runners.

  9. Schumacher’s two consecutive excellent races can give him further motivation in the following events, and maybe he can get a podium in a day when Mercedes is strong and the top three teams have some problems. If next year’s car will be better, he can challenge for podiums.

    • TheBrav3 said on 12th September 2011, 20:40

      Sure wont be next race singapore is going to be hard for both mercs and could cause some people most probably eddie jordan to start questioning them all over again if they finish in the points it will be a good result.

  10. Earlier this year I thought that Schumacher should retire. This race proved me wrong! Great stuff MSC.

    Agree it would be great if 2012′s Merc was much better, sad that he had ‘wasted’ 2010 & 11 to some extent. Even getting 1 victory next year would be nice to see.

  11. wasiF1 (@wasif1) said on 13th September 2011, 2:59

    Pity for Nico he too could have had a good race but for Schumacher well what can you say his showing in the last two races should stop people talking about him retiring in 2011.

  12. joseph said on 13th September 2011, 6:59

    Hamilton used to wish in 2007 that schumacher was still racing so he could race him. In Monza he got his wish.

    It looked like Schumacher gave the place up to hamilton in the end, probally due to charlie and ross

  13. It comes down to modern F1 has become a lot more about the car than the driver , but that’s how it is and nothing can be done , but MSC defence against LH goes to show he is still a great driver and as hungry as ever to succeed. And so is LH for that matter. Sometimes though , their aggressive style will result in “tears” (and the negative criticism of all the well known pessimists , which inadvertantly follow). Very entertaining , none the less.

  14. Found this on another site. Bit of a laugh:

    Engineer: Michael, we’re concerned you might get a penalty for blocking.
    Michael: Why?
    Engineer: Because Race Control just warned us you were blocking.
    Michael: Blocking? Why – it’s my own team-mate?
    Engineer: No, it’s Hamilton. That yellow helmet is Hamilton not Nico.
    Michael: Oh (pause) I can’t see anything in my mirrors.
    Engineer: Are the mirrors broken?
    Michael: No, somebody has stuck a nice photo of Kobayashi in the left mirror and Petrov in the right mirror.
    Engineer: Can you repeat that?
    Michael: Only joking – hang on a second, we’re coming up to Ascari …Yes! And again he fails to take The Schum! Get in there mein Sohn!
    Engineer: Michael, you have to stop blocking.
    Michael: We are having a nice battle.
    Engineer: Charlie doesn’t see it that way.
    Michael: You know I wonder if I can get him onto the grass this lap…
    Engineer: If you don’t stop blocking I’m going to get Ross.
    Michael: Not listening!
    Ross: Michael, this is Ross. You have to leave room for Lewis at Ascari
    Michael: There is plenty of room.
    Ross: You need to leave a car’s width of tarmac, not just a car’s width between yours and the barrier.
    Michael: This really is a nice lot of fun.
    Ross: Michael, you have to leave Lewis room, if you collide-
    Michael: He’ll get the blame. He always gets the blame for everything. It won’t be a problem.
    Ross: We had enough trouble with Rubens last year.
    Michael: Schum, Schum, Schum Schum, Schuuuuuuuuuum!
    Ross: If you don’t move over I’ll tell people about 1994.
    Michael: Er…you know, I think my tyres are going off.

  15. antonyob said on 13th September 2011, 13:21

    Im not quite up there with the fanboy comments but i am finding the constant criticism of Michael “donkey” schumacher a bit much. Alonso’s move across Vettel was in its way more dangerous than MS on Lewis but it was deemed as hard but fair.

    Without getting into the tediousness of what constitutes a move and what is positining the car for a corner i think finger wagging puritans like Coulthard show more about themselves than they do about MS. Maybe thats why he was never world champ.

    Its supposed to be difficult to overtake and in the modern age drivers do defend vigorously. Just like Lewis gets picked out for anything he does, so does MS.

    Having DC read the rulebook out live on air was pathetic, he needs to grow up and forget his dislike of MS. And for that matter stop going overboard with his praise of Di Resta…who he manages.. and over the top defence of RedBull who he is still on the payroll of.

    Hes on the beeb now, well for now and he should start acting like he is.

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