BBC Sport formula1

IN ASSOCIATION WITH

Related BBC sites

Page last updated at 17:36 GMT, Monday, 2 August 2010 18:36 UK

Schumacher right to say sorry

Mark Webber wins the Hungarian Grand Prix

Hungarian Grand Prix in 90 seconds

Martin Brundle
By Martin Brundle
BBC F1 analyst

Michael Schumacher has taken the unusual step of admitting blame and apologising for his incident with Rubens Barrichello in the closing laps of the Hungarian Grand Prix.

It's the right thing to do - Schumacher was out of order saying Barrichello chose the wrong side to try to pass.

Barrichello was coming back from his late stop and was looking to take 10th place from Schumacher - and the Williams was catching the Mercedes at between two to three seconds a lap.

Schumacher made a mistake in the last corner, and then watched in his mirrors while constantly moving right as Barrichello advanced, until he had him pinned against the pit wall and into the pit-lane exit at 180 mph.

I dread to think what would have happened if someone had been exiting the pits or they had tangled wheels. It would have been an aeroplane crash if Rubens hadn't somehow squeezed through.

The 10-place grid penalty for the next race in Spa is the absolute minimum punishment Schumacher could have received. Many were calling for a ban.

Schumacher fans will claim we're beating up on him. Well, I'm a Schumacher fan. I think he was a driving god and delivered performances of a barely believable quality on numerous occasions. That is even more reason not to run a driver off the road who is on new, softer-compound tyres and who has been catching you at vast speeds for 10th place.

Rubens Barrichello and Michael Schumacher

Barrichello and Schumacher disagree over near-miss

Schumacher has never been able to differentiate between hard racing and beyond the reasonable line - and clearly he still can't.

At the front of the field, Mark Webber had a fairly lacklustre weekend in Hungary by his recent standards right up until he saw his chance to win the race. He grabbed it with both hands to regain the world championship lead.

The Australian had been solidly beaten to pole by his Red Bull team-mate Sebastian Vettel, had a relatively poor start on the dirty side of the grid, and subsequently couldn't make any impression in the turbulent slip stream behind Fernando Alonso's Ferrari. Vettel in the other dominant Red Bull was just waltzing away.

Fate then played into Webber's hand, but as he said himself fortune hasn't often smiled on him and so he'll take it.

Stuck behind Alonso he was always going to need an out-of-sync strategy to get him past the Ferrari.

This probably drove Red Bull's decision not to pit Webber under the safety car which came out when Vitantonio Liuzzi deposited parts of his Force India front wing near the racing line on the exit of the fast Turn 11. They did pit Vettel with a very late call and he was forced to bump heavily over the pit-entry kerbs without apparent damage.

It was easy to initially perceive it as risky and potentially disastrous decision for Webber but now in clear air he had impressive pace at the front.

But would the super-soft tyres last long enough to eke out sufficient advantage to clear the pack and even Alonso?

Webber felt for the first 10 laps that it seemed easy while others got up to speed after their change to harder compound tyres under the safety car. His front left tyre started to fade but he eventually built a 23-second lead, which was enough to have a calm pit stop and return to the front.

Mark Webber with the BBC F1 forum

Webber refuses to get carried away

It's ironic that Webber's hassling of the safety car's boot lid ready for the restart ended up contributing to Vettel losing the race after he was forced to serve a drive-through penalty for breaking the safety-car rules. He didn't maintain the less than 10-car distance, which is stipulated to avoid the pack being strung out too much and breaking up a race.

Vettel absent-mindedly expected Webber to leave some space to the safety car.

But Webber was so keen to get to work he was hustling well ahead of the pack. Vettel was backing up the field, presumably subconsciously operating as if he was the leader, which of course he had been up until the safety car.

There is so much going on at that point, the drivers don't always know the rules back to front and apparently he was having radio issues. He did admit to being "asleep", which is admirable.

Andrew Benson's blog

It was Webber's prerogative to do what he liked as leader, regulation clause 40.11 enables the leader of the pack to fall more than 10 cars behind the safety car when it is due in at the end of the lap - but that rule does not apply to everyone behind him.

Alonso seemed to struggle a bit in traffic - all six cars of the three new teams finished the race, if rather off the pace - and he was also defending Vettel quite hard on occasions. Vettel's only consolation was race fastest lap.

Even the mighty pace of the Red Bull wasn't enough for either Webber or Vettel to get past Alonso, who was driving faultlessy and placing his car very well for defence.

The turbulent air behind the Ferrari was largely to blame, as you are driving into air that has already been worked hard to generate downforce with resultant drag. Then you ask it to work seamlessly hard again on your car - and it can't.

The problem Webber has got now in defending his championship lead is that Ferrari are focusing on one car - Alonso - and I can see McLaren doing that with Lewis Hamilton sooner rather than later.

What will Red Bull do? They have the pace and two main contenders, although the equivalent of less than a race win covers the top five so it's not that straightforward.

Lewis Hamilton

McLaren remain focused after disappointing weekend

The team orders controversy means it is going to become more critical from here on in terms of how the teams manage the end of the season over the next seven races.

Hamilton's team-mate Button had a very lacklustre race. He got beaten by two Red Bulls, two Ferraris, a Renault, a Williams and a Sauber, and he was well behind Hamilton before his transmission failed. That's how bad JB's day was.

Hamilton was doing another great job of minimising the pain but the writing is on the wall now after his retirement. McLaren have to find more pace, although the smooth high-speed layout of Spa in a month's time will suit them much better.

There was plenty of other drama during the race. All hell broke loose in the pits when the safety car was deployed.

It was a miracle somebody wasn't seriously hurt in the pits as Adrian Sutil's Force India and Robert Kubica's Renault came together when Renault's lollipop man misread who was coming down the pit-lane.

Then there was the errant rear wheel which departed Nico Rosberg's Mercedes as he left the pitstop garage. A Williams mechanic bravely grappled that into submission.

That basically wrecked Mercedes' best chance of a result - and it went from bad to worse for them later on.



Print Sponsor


see also
Schumacher 'sorry' for manoeuvre
03 Aug 10 |  Formula 1
Schumacher's legacy tainted - Jordan
02 Aug 10 |  Formula 1
Schumacher danger move punished
01 Aug 10 |  Formula 1
Webber seals vital win in Hungary
01 Aug 10 |  Formula 1


related bbc links:

related internet links:
The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

bbc.co.uk navigation

BBC © MMX

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.