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Home > Sports > Formula One > Reuters > Report


Schumacher pole triggers uproar

May 27, 2006 21:02 IST

Ferrari's Michael Schumacher denied dirty tricks on Saturday after securing a Monaco Grand Prix pole that prompted rivals to question his sportsmanship.

The seven times champion stalled his car at the penultimate corner in the dying seconds of qualifying, preventing Renault's world champion Fernando Alonso and others from going faster.

Race stewards immediately called Schumacher in to explain his driving. A Renault spokesman said the team had not made a formal protest because an investigation was already in process.

Alonso, who leads Schumacher in the title standings by 15 points, was forced to slow on his final lap, losing at least three tenths of a second that would have put him on pole.

"I have my opinion and I won't tell it here," said the 24-year-old Spaniard when asked by reporters whether he considered it a sporting incident.

His team boss Flavio Briatore, who steered Schumacher to his first two titles at Benetton, had no such inhibitions.

"I think he is taking everyone for a ride," he told reporters. "Someone who was seven times a world champion wants us to believe that he didn't do it on purpose, it's fairyland.

Ferrari's Michael Schumacher denied dirty tricks on Saturday after securing a Monaco Grand Prix pole that prompted rivals to question his sportsmanship.

The seven times champion stalled his car at the penultimate corner in the dying seconds of qualifying, preventing Renault's world champion Fernando Alonso and others from going faster.

Race stewards immediately called Schumacher in to explain his driving. A Renault spokesman said the team had not made a formal protest because an investigation was already in process.

Alonso, who leads Schumacher in the title standings by 15 points, was forced to slow on his final lap, losing at least three tenths of a second that would have put him on pole.

"I have my opinion and I won't tell it here," said the 24-year-old Spaniard when asked by reporters whether he considered it a sporting incident.

His team boss Flavio Briatore, who steered Schumacher to his first two titles at Benetton, had no such inhibitions.

"I think he is taking everyone for a ride," he told reporters. "Someone who was seven times a world champion wants us to believe that he didn't do it on purpose, it's fairyland.

"Whatever you do in certain moments, your enemies believe one thing and the people who support you believe another," he added. "Some people may not believe it, but unfortunately that's the world we live in.

"I don't care what other teams do. I know Flavio well enough," added Schumacher, who drove for the Italian when he was at Benetton.

The pole, if upheld, will be Schumacher's 67th of his career and third of the season.

Renault's Giancarlo Fisichella starts on the third row with McLaren's Colombian Juan Pablo Montoya, the 2003 winner.

Two times winner David Coulthard qualified a strong ninth for Red Bull but fellow-Briton Jenson Button was a disappointing 14th for Honda.

Ferrari's Felipe Massa will start at the back of the grid after crashing in the first part of qualifying.

The Brazilian speared left into the tyre barrier on the blind crest of Casino Square, briefly stopping the session while the car was removed from the track.

© Copyright 2006 Reuters Limited. All rights reserved. Republication or redistribution of Reuters content, including by framing or similar means, is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of Reuters. Reuters shall not be liable for any errors or delays in the content, or for any actions taken in reliance thereon.
Formula One: The Complete Coverage

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