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GP Week : Issue 153
Michael Schumacher will start the forthcoming Monaco Grand Prix five places further back on the grid from where he qualifies after he was blamed by the race stewards for causing a race-ending collision with Williams’ Bruno Senna. Schumacher careered into the back of Senna’s FW34 at the end of the main straight on lap 13, but Schumacher’s claims of weaving in the braking zone fell on deaf ears when it came to the post- race investigation. Speaking just after retiring from the race, Schumacher explained that Senna had moved back to the left just before braking for Turn 1, leaving him with nowhere to go but into the Williams’ rear wing. “It is not easy to see from the TV replays but what happened from my viewpoint was that he went to the right to defend the inside line, and then suddenly, shortly before the braking point, went to the left,” Schumacher said. “When you are so tight together in the braking zone, you have no other choice than to try to react and avoid hitting but it was too late.” Senna was running eighth at the time of the collision, having not yet pitted. He suspected Schumacher had been caught out by his earlier braking point, but insisted he was not to blame for the contact. “Of course he's not going to say it's his own fault, but at the end of the day he had much newer tyres than me, I was on very old rubber by then, so I guess our braking points were uneven for Turn 1,” said Senna. “When I went to brake, he probably just tried to cross and he hit me, so what can you do?” The stewards agreed with the Brazilian and duly slapped Schumacher with a five- place grid penalty for the Monaco Grand Prix in a fortnight’s time. Kimi Raikkonen was left frustrated and disappointed for the second race in a row despite notching up another podium finish, as his Lotus once again fell just short of victory. Going into the weekend Lotus was expected to challenge strongly at the front, a feeling that was further emphasised by them locking out the second row on the grid, but come the race the E20 was unable to live with the pace of the Williams and Ferrari up front. The second stint was particularly costly for Raikkonen, on the soft tyre, as he dropped from just three seconds behind Maldonado after his first pitstop to 18 seconds behind the Venezuelan after their second pitstops. A mediocre third stint was followed by a competitive final stint however, and the Finn closed in to within a second of Alonso at the finish. Had the race been a lap longer he may well have snatched second place. “I’m a bit disappointed. I expected us to be a bit stronger in the race, especially at the beginning,” said Kimi. “At the end we were very good, but it was too late. We were not fast enough and quick enough to race and that’s why we couldn’t fight for a win. But we showed in the end that we have to speed but we just have to look at what we did. “Maybe we took the wrong choice in the first pit stop,” he added, referring to the team’s decision to opt for the soft tyre for his second stint. Maldonado and Alonso by contrast took on a set of the hard tyre, allowing them to open a healthy lead over Raikkonen. “In the end, like I said we were not fast enough in the beginning and that cost us the race, so I was not so disappointed during the race because I saw that I couldn’t follow them at the beginning. But at the end when you catch them up almost 20 seconds then you get a bit of a disappointed feeling after wards, when you just needed a few laps to be even able to fight for the first place. “That’s racing and at least I scored some good points and we’re going in the right direction.” Team-mate Grosjean took fourth place in the sister Lotus, consolidating the team’s third place in the constructors’ championship. SCHUMACHER HANDED FIVE-PLACE GRID PENALTY FOR SLAMMING SENNA German claims Brazilian moved just before braking KIMI DISAPPOINTED WITH SECOND SUCCESSIVE PODIUM Finn runs out of laps in hunt for Alonso 27 GPWEEK.com // PARTNERS: F1 >>> SPAIN