Michael Schumacher's Season: Is An Old Teammate About To Make Things Worse?
It has been a little too easy to criticise Michael Schumacher this season. His much anticipated return fell flat as a pancake, and what we are left with is an extended season's worth of underwhelming results.
Essentially, his credibility as a seven-time World Champion, and his reputation as one of the all-time greats took a major blow.
As the season draws to a close there is just one indignity left that Schumacher may face. With his teammate almost 100 points ahead of him, Michael now has the worrying prospect of an 11th-place Championship finish.
As the season has progressed, a lackluster, but solid ninth-place finish looked on the cards. Only Adrian Sutil in the Force India looked likely or able to dislodge Michael from this found position.
Yet now it is his former teammate, Rubens Barrichello, who is breathing down his neck in the hunt for that top-10 finish.
Williams started off amongst the latter midfield. Points finishes were hard to come by. For Rubens, it could easily have become the beginning of the end.
The team since then has come on in leaps and bounds.
Barrichello consequentially has bulldozed himself in the right direction, with his points tally rising dramatically. With four races remaining, he now lies only seven points shy of Schumacher, and eight short of Sutil.
For Schumacher, the safety car period in Singapore highlighted the possibly inevitable prospect of Schumacher sliding behind his former teammate, and the man who was forced for multiple seasons to play a No. 2 role.
Barrichello rounded a consistent weekend's racing by finishing sixth. And despite the Force India's recent pace issues, Adrian Sutil plucked two points in ninth to move back ahead of Schumacher in the drivers standings.
At one point in the season Michael looked to have progressed. Fourth-place finishes in Spain and Turkey looked to signal a resurgence.
Now however he just appears to be a fallen hero, deep in decline.
And for Barrichello what better karma could you get from eclipsing the main driver who halted his title challenges? He can presently inflict an unwelcome indignity on the man who overshadowed his own career for many years.
Schumacher's realistic hope of a top-10 finish now relies much upon the performance Adrian Sutil, or rather that of the Force India team.
At this moment in time, Adrian Sutil is a much stronger competitor than Michael. Adrian should really be afforded in future seasons a car that will give him race wins. But Force India can look back, and unless improvements are seen, Sutil may find himself scrapping for points at best.
Subsequently Schumacher could acquire a top-10 finish out of the misfortunes, and not the lack of ability of another driver.
The German would take this for sure, a hollow victory of some sorts. Then, it is only a matter of time for him to exit the sport once more. If he does finish 11th, it may just be the final nail in the coffin.
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