This topic has been on my mind for the last few days, since the finish of the Turkish Grand Prix.
While Sebastian Vettel was dominating (boring all the fans) at the front the field, a certain Silver Arrow was mussing around in the back, bouncing off cars and eventually finishing in 12th place.
This man was Michael Schumacher. Seven time world champion and 91-time grand prix winner racing for a spot that was two away from gaining any points. Since his return in Formula 1 in 2010, I’ve been watching this man’s “progression” at Mercedes GP, and I haven’t been that impressed. (More pictures and video after the jump)
Despite what so many people say about Michael’s driving telemetry over the years, I never really thought that he was that great of an all-around driver. He’s fast, but he’s not complete.
Especially when it came down to wheel to wheel combat. When was the last time that you heard of Michael Schumacher out-smarting someone in a duel?
Actually, if memory serves correctly, it was more familiar that you would hear about Michael being outsmarted in a race down to a corner. (Which would then be followed up by the man panicking, an attempting to crash into the other driver.)
Personally when a driver gets of a certain level of experience, I’m expecting to see the speed slow down, but the cleverness start to appear in his driving. You see this a lot in drivers who are classically good at wheel to wheel combat. Tricking opponents to take early apexes, dummy downs, and that sort of thing.
However, what I see from Michael Schumacher is that it reveals what would have happened to him back in his ‘era’, if the drivers around him would have been piloting more equal machinery. He would have gotten trounced.
Now, all that being said. I respect what Schumacher did to rebuild Ferrari back in the 90s and early 2000s. Granted, he didn’t do it all by himself, but he showed serious dedication and commitment to the sport to become what he has.
However, what his comeback revealed is that Schumacher was a driver that never grew up. He never learned how to properly battle in a car cleanly, and most importantly he never learned how to handle defeat graciously.
Michael, what are you going to do?