Tuesday, 3 August 2010

Old Habits Die Hard

In the heat of battle, sportsmen employ ruthless, choleric tactics to manufacture the most minuscule advantage over their opponents, but no-one could ignore the events that unfolded on lap sixty-five at the Hungaroring, overshadowing what had been a truly enthralling Grand Prix.
The harsh, cold light of day has hit Michael Schumacher hard during the season heralded as comeback time for, statistically, the greatest Formula 1 driver in history. Deep down past his steely nerves, Schumacher must know his time is up. His teammate Nico Rosberg sits on 94 points to Schumacher’s 38, hard evidence of how far the The Baron has fallen from grace. Conspiracy theorists may highlight that Rubens Barrichello recently dethroned "The Stig" from his pinnacle on the Top Gear lapboard, thirteen months after Stiggy removed his helmet to reveal his true identity as, yep, Herr Schuey himself. While Top Gear portrays about as much serious motoring advice as Pineapple Dance Studios, the issue of ramming adversaries into concrete walls at 180mph is no laughing matter.
Like Monaco 2006, Jerez 1997, and Adelaide 1994, Schumacher still toils to apologise or admit transgression. He is clearly a passionate, ruthless competitor whose hunger shows no bounds, but even the most fervent Schumacher fan would struggle to refute his seemingly inherent malevolence. For that reason, it was warming to see Barrichello finally wrestle his way past the inexorable Mercedes GP driver as retribution for five years of faithful service as Schumacher’s back-marker at Ferrari.
In contrast with the nauseating events of Hockenheim the previous weekend, Ferrari’s current darling Fernando Alonso produced a solid drive characteristic of his profound raw talent, which merited his second place finish and thwarted a Red Bull rout.
Despite team director Christian Horner’s sustained proclamations of calm and civility between his duelling drivers, the body language of Sebastian Vettel towards his teammate suggests otherwise. While Mark Webber’s victory saw him vanquish the championship lead from Lewis Hamilton, Vettel apparently lacks the experience required to devise an effective racing strategy when all the tools at his disposable have proven fruitless. Conversely, Webber possesses such knowledge in abundance, and has the car and mental strength to take the championship flag. He is one of the good guys - one accolade that Michael Schumacher will struggle win.