Michael's demon lap

If anyone hadn't quite grasped that Michael Schumacher was merely riding shotgun for team-mate Rubens Barrichello in Hungary, the world champion made it fairly obvious with a demon fastest race lap in the closing stages of the race

Michael's demon lap

Race lap time evidence suggested that Schumacher could have taken the lead at either pit stop if he had wanted to. Both times he drove much quicker 'out' laps than Barrichello but, in both cases, the following lap was considerably slower than the comparable lap from Rubens, suggesting that Michael backed off between the start line and Turn 1, probably as he observed Rubens coming down the pitlane and judged his speed accordingly.

But if anyone hadn't quite grasped the situation, Michael dropped another clue in the closing laps. As the Ferraris cruised the final laps of the race at around in the 1m19s and 1m20s, Schumacher allowed himself to fall four seconds or so adrift then suddenly, in one lap, was back on Rubens' gearbox with a fastest lap of 1m16.20s.

Just playing?

"Well," Michael explained, "At Silverstone Rubens was behind me and we weren't pushing any more but he put in the fastest lap of the race. We were actually in the slowing down stage, so I asked him: 'When did you do that?' So today I went on the radio and asked Ross what the fastest time was and he said that it was a 1m16.8s for him (Rubens). I thought okay, I'll pay him back. I needed the gap in order to do the lap."


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