Schumacher criticised for ‘harsh’ moves

Tuesday, 13 September 2011 00:00 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

Reuters: McLaren accused Michael Schumacher of using tough tactics to prevent Lewis Hamilton getting past for much of Sunday’s Italian Grand Prix.

Hamilton, embroiled in countless controversies already this Formula One season, refused to be drawn into a slanging match after complaining about his Mercedes rival over the radio during the race.

“He had a fair amount of provocation and frustration in that race and I think someone drove him off the circuit pretty aggressively at one stage,” McLaren team principal Martin Whitmarsh told reporters.

Asked what he made of Schumacher’s defensive manoeuvres, which finally drew the attention of the stewards and a veiled caution by Mercedes team boss Ross Brawn, Whitmarsh replied: “Pretty harsh.

“I’m not the least impartial but the fact is I think he was warned twice by stewards during the event so they presumably saw it as a bit tough.

“I think the one (move) where he had Lewis on the grass was scary as hell.”

Hamilton, who finished fourth and one place ahead of Schumacher, took 27 laps to make a move stick on the German and was pushed wide at the Curva Grande.

Team mate Jenson Button, meanwhile, caught them both unawares and scythed past to end up second.

“He (Hamilton) complained a few times but in a very calm way. His job is to do that in case the stewards don’t see it,” said Whitmarsh of his driver’s reaction during the race. “And I think it was heartfelt anyway, sincere and reasonable.”

Hamilton’s comments to reporters sounded somewhat disingenuous, as well as being terse.

Asked how much time he had lost behind Schumacher, he answered: “lots”.

Asked whether he thought Schumacher’s moves were fair, Hamilton replied: “It doesn’t make any difference. We had a good race and scored some good points for the team.

“You don’t want to talk too much?,” asked a resigned television interviewer. “Nope,” came the reply.