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GP Week : Issue 82
Schumacher slapped by Stewards -- led by his old foe ... MICHAEL Schumacher was given a 20 second penalty for overtaking Fernando Alonso for sixth place in the closing seconds of the race. The Safety Car had come in that lap but, say the rules (Article 40.13 of the Sporting Regulations, fact checkers!), racing cannot restart before the cars cross the line. And given this was the final lap, that apparently means 'racing over'. What confused matters was that the drivers were shown green flags as soon as the Safety Car has entered the pits. "On previous occasions when it has been necessary to complete a race under a Safety Car, full course yellows are maintained, as in Melbourne 2009. On the last lap, we therefore advised our drivers that they should race to the line and Michael made his move on Fernando for sixth place. "We have appealed the decision of the stewards," said Ross Brawn in a statement. The stewards decision carries added drama when one considers Damon Hill was one of the four men on the panel. Hill and Schumacher have had some well-known battles in the past and given the German's ruthless behaviour at the 1994 Australian Grand Prix, which cost Damon the title, you might wonder if Hill had it in for Schumi. However, Hill was at pains to clarify that he is completely unbiased, as he told GPWEEK -- see this week's '5 Minutes with...' GPWEEK doesn't believe there was any malice on the stewards'part, and that it's generally understood that the track remains yellow before the new lap starts. But that means there should be yellow flags out until the line, not green. Mercedes has a case.