Schumacher's Hungary driving under debate
|By Jonathan Noble||Saturday, August 26th 2006, 08:16 GMT|
Michael Schumacher's determined bid to defend his position in the closing stages of the Hungarian Grand Prix was back in the spotlight on Friday night at Istanbul, evoking criticism from rivals and regret from his team.
Schumacher was forced to retire from the Hungaroring race as a result of damage to his front suspension, caused by a collision with BMW driver Nick Heidfeld.
Still using intermediate tyres on a drying track, Schumacher nearly crashed with McLaren's Pedro de la Rosa several times before losing second spot. He then had to deal with a charging Heidfeld, which lead to the two Germans colliding over third.
Those moves were still a hot topic of debate in the Istanbul paddock on Friday night.
Autosport.com understands that at the drivers' briefing, de la Rosa and Schumacher were involved in a heated debate about what had happened in their battle in Hungary. Their discussion involved several other drivers and revolved around the etiquette of defending positions.
While this was going on, Ferrari technical director Ross Brawn admitted that his team should have intervened to tell Schumacher not to defend his position too hard so he could guarantee himself vital points in the title fight.
"I don't know if it was desperation, but it was not a good race for us," said Brawn, who revealed the team had been reluctant to switch Schumacher to dry tyres because of graining issues on a 'green' track surface on the Friday.
"In retrospect, what we should have done as a team is told Michael not to fight for position. His job as a racing driver is to fight for position all the time; it is not in his nature, in his DNA, to give up a position without fighting for it.
"We as a team should have said, 'hang on Michael, stop, let's just try and get this car to the finish'.
"It wasn't easy for de la Rosa to overtake because there was only one dry line and going off the line on dry tyres was tricky.
"But that is the thing. We look back, and what I wish I had done was tell Michael to keep his pace up and not fight so hard for position.
"All we can do now is learn from it and fortunately it is not a common occurrence for Michael or the team. We will put it down in the history books."
Schumacher was eventually classified eighth, scoring one point in a race that saw championship rival Fernando Alonso retire with no points at all. The gap between the two now stands on 10 points, with five races left.