Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Michael Schumacher on receiving end of Damon Hill decision

Monaco Grand Prix:

It was almost inevitable. As soon as Damon Hill was announced last week as one of four stewards for Sunday's Monaco Grand Prix, there was perhaps always going to be a controversial decision involving his old nemesis Michael Schumacher.

Penalised: Mercedes driver Michael Schumacher was demoted to 12th place at the end of the Monaco GP after a stewards' panel decided his move on Fernando Alonso was illegal

Sure enough, 16 years after losing the 1994 championship by a single point to the German after the pair tangled in Adelaide, Hill had the opportunity to exact some small measure of revenge.

Schumacher had passed Ferrari's Fernando Alonso on the last corner of the race following the departure of a safety car and crossed the line sixth, prompting a stewards' inquiry because rule 40.13 states that "if the race ends whilst the safety car is deployed it will enter the pit-lane at the end of the last lap and the cars will take the chequered flag as normal without overtaking".

The German was confident he would escape sanction, telling reporters that he had received a message saying "Safety car in. Track clear".
"If that's given then its racing," Schumacher argued. "You can have the message 'safety car and finish under safety car rule', it's a different message."

However, the stewards found against the German, who was handed a 20-second penalty dropping him to 12th and out of the points. Mercedes are appealing against the decision.
Hill said later that his only concern had been that "the right thing" was done.

But the 1996 world champion admitted that there was a wry smile from Schumacher when he saw Hill as he entered the stewards' room.

By Tom Cary

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