Paul di Resta has, quite unexpectedly and very publicly, criticised seven-time world champion Michael Schumacher. The young Scot was being interviewed at AUTOSPORT International 2013 and described how Schumacher had gone from being a childhood hero to a nuisance for him in the following words:
“I had so much respect and he was my hero and all the rest, and eventually I got to race against him. Now… I feel a bit different about Michael, cos I’m quite glad he’s retired and out of the way… cos he’s a bit of a pain in the **** on the track…”
Di Resta’s comments appear to be completely unprovoked. Yes, he has raced against Schumacher for the past two seasons, but in that time there have been no particular incidents between the two drivers – if there had, they would surely have been dealt with some time ago.
Perhaps di Resta’s comments were simply badly phrased. Schumacher was known throughout his career as an extremely tough driver who pushed the limits of what was fair on the track, something he learned from drivers like Ayrton Senna who was the man to beat when Schumacher’s career started. It paid off in terms of results, but did not make Schumacher many friends among the drivers. Di Resta could simply be referring to Schumacher as a difficult man to beat, in the process highlighting two different approaches to on-track combat from two generations.
Di Resta and Schumacher are on opposite ends of the scale in terms of Formula One success. Schumacher is Formula One’s most successful driver in history, an icon all over the world and one of the most recognisable and respected people in world sport. Di Resta by contrast is a young driver with much potential, but he has yet to have the equipment to show what he can do in Formula One – in two seasons at Force India, he has a best result of fourth at the 2012 Singapore Grand Prix.
Di Resta may not appreciate sharing the track with Schumacher, but he could learn from the seven-time World Champion. Schumacher has not concerned himself with being popular on the track. Instead, he spent his career leaving no stone unturned in the pursuit of victory, and that included the cultivation of a tough and ultra-professional image that was certainly present on the track. The results of Schumacher’s approach to winning are likely to remain unchallenged for some time – seven championships and 91 race victories are numbers that even those at the front of the current grid can barely imagine reaching.
The video of the interview is shown below. Di Resta’s comments about Schumacher start at about 01:27:
Sergio Perez has been introduced to the world as a McLaren driver by means of a Google+ Hangout, in which fans have had the opportunity to ask him questions. One such question was concerned with Perez’s pre-race rituals.
Perez’s response was: “I always jump into the car from the right, but it’s because it’s more comfortable… I have some cards with me that my family gave me from God to pray… I always pray before I go into the car. It’s my normal routine.” He went on to state that he had prayed before racing since his karting days.
Perez’s prayerful habits come as no surprise, as he was born in the Mexican city of Guadalajara, which has a strong Catholic heritage. He is also not unique in being a religious racing driver – in the latter part of his career, Ayrton Senna became very religious, and Lewis Hamilton has publicly expressed his belief that “God has a plan for me”.
The young Mexican also revealed that he trains for four to six hours per day and would love to drive Ayrton Senna’s 1990 championship-winning McLaren.
Fernando Alonso has already secured his place in history as one of Formula One’s great drivers. With two World Championships and 30 victories by the age of 31, Alonso still has plenty of time to break records in his career, and he is closing in on at least two records in 2012.
Alonso is leading the championship by 40 points with 9 races to go. The title is by no means decided, but the Spaniard’s lead is significant. If Alonso prevails in 2012, he will be (assuming the title goes down to the last race of the season) 31 years 119 days old on the day of his triumph, making him the youngest ever triple World Champion. The current record is held by Ayrton Senna, who was 31 years 227 days old when he won his third title in 1991.
Ferrari’s leading driver is also on the brink of another, albeit perhaps less significant record. Alonso has finished his last 23 races in the points, only one short of Michael Schumacher’s record of 24 consecutive points-finishes. Based on Alonso’s form so far this season, it seems probable that he will break that record without too much fuss. It is worth noting that Alonso’s current streak includes a ninth place at the 2012 Chinese Grand Prix, which would not have earned points during the period that covered Schumacher’s record of 24.
Ferrari have now gone four years without winning the Drivers’ Championship, but their form appears to have returned this season. With Alonso behind the wheel, there are very few records that are out of reach.