Schumacher spat - Ralf unhappy with Michael

Ralf Schumacher has had a pitlane bust up with his brother Michael after the Ferrari ace pulled in front of Schuey Jr at the start of the European Grand Prix

Schumacher spat - Ralf unhappy with Michael

Ralf started Sunday's race from second on the grid behind polesitter Michael and was forced to lift off as he was forced towards the pitwall on the run down to the first corner. The 25-year-old, who has just re-signed for the Williams-BMW team until 2004, confronted his brother in the scrutineering garage after the race.

The confrontation was witnessed by David Coulthard as they were heading for the podium. The McLaren-Mercedes driver, who saw his title hopes suffer another blow as he finished third while Schumacher Sr triumphed for the fifth time this season, criticised the world champion's actions even though they are not against the rules.

"It was nice to see Ralf having a chat with him after the race and clearly not happy," said Coulthard. "But Michael wouldn't have been happy if it went the other way."

The Schumacher brothers have been battling hard this year and finished first and second in Canada two weeks ago in Ralf's favour, but had yet to come to blows.

Coulthard was one of the drivers who lobbied last year to get clarification on overtaking after a spate of moves at the beginning of races with cars cutting in front of rivals.

"We looked for clarification last season and the powers that be gave it," said the Scot. "But I still maintain that if you do something that makes someone else take avoiding action, or be forced to brake then that can't be right."

But he said the 10 second stop-go penalty which destroyed the 25 year-old's chances of victory was a tough but fair decision.

Coulthard inadvertently benefited, later in the race, from a stop-and-go penalty given to Ralf after crossing a white line when exiting from a pitstop. DC was able to steal third position and the final place on the podium, but sympathised with the German.

"It was very tough on Ralf," he said. "It was cruel to get that [the penalty], but we all understand the rules and have to accept them. It did help me minimise the damage to Michael."

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