Felipe Massa the New Michael Schumacher?

Adam PooleAnalyst IOctober 12, 2008

With the antics of the Japanese Grand-Prix out of the way, let's take a look at the driving style of one of the main championship competitors: Felipe Massa.

Turn ten, lap one saw Felipe Massa bump and spin Lewis Hamilton, causing Lewis to drop to the back of the grid. OK? So, Hamilton made a mistake at turn one which would a drive through penalty, but he would have pitted from third, or at least near there. 

Yes, he would have been at the back of the grid anyway, with the field still relatively close. But, he wouldn't have had the mental implications that a spin can force upon a driver.

Whether you believe that the move by Massa was done on purpose or not, you will agree that coming into contact with your main championship rival does look a bit suspicious.

A similar incident happened with Michael Schumacher in the Damon Hill championship winning days and in the 1994 Australian Grand Prix. 

Damon Hill simply had to finish the race in the top 6 to win the drivers championship. He was catching Schumacher when the German driver again ran off the track, bounced off the wall, and came back onto the racing line.

Prior to turning into the following corner, Schumacher was making constant corrections to the left in order to keep his Benetton in a straight line, suggesting that his car was damaged. He returned to the track at reduced speed but still leading the race.

Hill had just come through the fifth corner of the track when he saw Schumacher running slowly ahead of him. At the next corner, Hill attempted to pass and the two drivers collided, with both retiring from the race (YouTube Video Here).

That begs the question: if Michael had a damaged car, and was coasting along at a slower speed, why was he even on the driving line?

There was no way this was an accident, and the move was always going to be investigated right? Wrong! We have to remember that Michael was always an FIA favorite, which, for some unknown reason, became invisible to the race stewards and race control.

Another dirty move by the German driver can also be seen here. When Jacques Villeneuve braked late into the corner, Michael insisted on trying to cut him off. However, it failed and Schumi ended up in the gravel and out of the race. Villeneuve then went on to win the Championship and Schumi was disqualified from title. 


I am in no way saying that Michael Schumacher wasn't a fantastic driver; he was, without a doubt one of the best F1 drivers in history.

But, when it came down to the wire, and a championship was at stake, he would do anything to win. 

Lewis Hamilton made a mistake into turn one at Fuji by out-braking himself and he gets bad mouthed by everyone, drivers and fans alike. Schumacher has a similar incident and is seen as a hero, with his actions classified as "Schumacher Tactics."

This begs another question: with the Hamilton/Massa incident into turn ten in Japan, is Felipe Massa becoming the next Schumacher? Will Massa try to win the Championship at any cost? 

This isn't the first time we have seen Massa play dirty. And I can tell you now, it won't be the last either.