Stefano Domenicali is confident Ferrari will soon challenge for title and that Schumacher has more to give the sport.
|A racer known for his own forceful driving Hamilton chose to remain tight-lipped on Schumacher’s moves [GETTY]|
McLaren accused Michael Schumacher of using tough tactics to prevent Lewis Hamilton getting past during the Italian Grand Prix on Sunday.
Hamilton, embroiled in countless controversies already this Formula One season, found himself in the victim role as he was forced onto the grass by an aggressive Schumacher.
Although the McLaren driver refused to be drawn into a slanging match after complaining about his Mercedes rival over the radio during the race, both McLaren team principal Martin Whitmarsh and teammate Jenson Button criticised the German’s defensive driving.
“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,” said Whitmarsh.
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”
McLaren’s Martin Whitmarsh
“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.
Button, meanwhile, caught them both unawares and scythed past to end up second.
Hamilton’s comments to reporters after the race 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.
Probably a wise move from a driver whose own aggressive driving, and post-race comments, have already got him into trouble this season.
Looking ahead to the inaugural Indian Grand Prix next month, Team Lotus owner Tony Fernandes has said that Karun Chandhok has a good chance of racing his home GP.
“I’d like him to. It’s up to the team to see (whether he will),” the Malaysian entrepreneur said at the Italian Grand Prix.
India’s Chandhok, the team’s reserve driver, has already raced once this season after replacing Team Lotus’s veteran Italian Jarno Trulli at the German Grand Prix in July.
He has also taken part in several Friday practice sessions.
Team Lotus announced on Sunday that Trulli’s contract had been extended to the end of next year but Fernandes said the Italian would be most likely to step down if Chandhok was given the nod to race.
“Yes, I think Heikki (Kovalainen) is our number one driver, although Jarno’s outqualified him here,” he said.
If Chandhok does race in India, there should be two homegrown drivers on the starting grid for the October 30 race in New Delhi with Narain Karthikeyan set to be behind the wheel for struggling HRT.