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Ralf Schumacher jumps to brother's defence

ESPNF1 Staff
August 9, 2010 « Montoya back to winning ways | »

Ralf Schumacher has jumped to the defence of elder brother Michael amid continuing criticism of the seven-time world champion's performances in 2010.

Schumacher has endured a tough time on his return to Formula One, consistently being out-qualified and out-raced by younger team-mate Nico Rosberg. And he received widespread criticism for his move on Rubens Barrichello during the Hungarian Grand Prix when he almost drove his former team-mate into the pit wall at speeds close to 180mph.

"I think it's absolutely inappropriate when Michael is depicted as some kind of unfeeling robot," Ralf told the Welt am Sonntag newspaper. "That's not Michael.

"He slept on his manoeuvre and said sorry, for no other reason than he realised his mistake. Everyone should believe him and move on."

Several former drivers, including David Coulthard, Eddie Irvine, Jackie Stewart and Niki Lauda were openly critical of Schumacher's actions in Hungary. But Ralf insists his brother's comeback has been good for the sport.

"There is certainly a lot of people with history with Michael. It was a tough manoeuvre but it shows how seriously Michael still considers his job. And from a driver's point of view you sometimes judge things in the first moments less dramatically.

"Previously, he was criticised for being too hard and cold, and now his mood is interpreted as a lack of ambition. That's not right. One thing is clear. His return has helped the whole of Formula One, but not yet himself."

Ralf, who won six grands prix during his time in Formula One as a driver for the BMW Williams team, also said he would have considered returning to the sport himself if an offer was made.

"I also would have come back to F1 but unlike him I didn't get the offer. The reason is that we are - in the positive way - crazy enough to do it. Michael has shown already a few times this season that he absolutely still has the speed."

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