Just to be sure we all understand, controversy is nothing new to Michael Schumacher in fact it casts a long, dark shadow over his other unquestionable achievements. His indiscretion at Monaco during qualifying though smacks of a type of arrogance that beggars belief. Let me paint the picture, it’s a few minutes to the end of qualifying and Michael Schumacher has provisional pole, his main rival Fernando Alonso is about 15 seconds behind him on a hot lap and is already a couple tenths faster than Schumacher in what will be his last attempt to get pole. Pole at Monaco is crucial to winning as overtaking is virtually impossible around the streets of this principality. Last corner before the start / finish Schumacher ‘parks’ his car beside the barrier, thinking that we will be so naïve to believe that he overcooked it coming into the corner, bringing out yellow flags and thereby preventing anyone from improving their time and securing pole.
Its this kind of behavior that really leaves a bad taste in the mouth but its by no means the first time. 1994, title deciding race in Australia, Michael takes out Damon Hill to secure his first championship. 1997, substitute Jacques Villenuve for Hill, the FIA exclude Schumacher from the championship. 2002 Austrian GP Rubens Barrichello is told to move over to let Schumacher win, 2003 US GP Michael conspires to let Barrichello thru to win saying it was repayment for Austria the previous year before changing that story saying he misjudged the finish line.
To make it worse a driver of Schumacher’s caliber does not have to resort to this, he is after all a seven time world champion, holder of nearly every conceivable record in Formula One. Maybe this fact gives him the right to think he can do what he wants. It has often been said that Ferrari winning is good for F1 which make you wonder how much has been done by the FIA to accommodate Ferraris whims.
Nevertheless justice was served and Schui sent to the back of the pack, at least this sends a message if anyone should think of doing that again. The prospect of another Alonso / Schumacher duel postponed for now but it was still an enthralling race. Alonso had a lights to flag win but Kimi Raikkonen was pushing him all the way until his Mercedes engine blew, Mark Webber was in with a shout before he too suffered engine failure, Montoya lasted to gain second place as did Coulthard to complete the podium, Schumacher battled to a creditable fifth place, by far the high point of his weekend.