Latest F1 news in brief – Sunday

  • McLaren duo wish injured spectator well
  • Fast Schumacher can stay 'forever' – Brawn
  • Other comeback kid still in the hunt – analysis
  • Stewards considered excluding Maldonado – Mansell

McLaren duo wish injured spectator well
(GMM) McLaren's drivers have wished a fan a speedy recovery following a nasty incident in Monaco this week.

Just before Thursday practice kicked off, a 49-year-old male British spectator broke his back and leg when a grandstand alongside the Principality's street circuit collapsed.

According to the Daily Mail, a McLaren spokesman visited him in hospital, taking along a letter from Jenson Button and Lewis Hamilton, and inviting him to the team's motor home as a guest next year.

"It was pretty serious so we both wrote him a letter saying the obvious, 'sorry to hear about your incident, get well soon'," said Button.

It was a luckier escape in Monaco for some drivers in the support categories GP2 and GP3.

In GP2, Brazilian Felipe Nasr was launched into the air in a high speed, multiple car pileup up the hill from turn one.

Commentator and Lotus reserve Jerome d'Ambrosio said the incident reminded him of the carnage at the start of the 1998 Belgian grand prix.

And in GP3, Conor Daly – the son of former F1 driver Derek Daly – had a terrifying airborne accident at the exit of the tunnel, after hitting a rival from behind.

The 20-year-old's flying single seater destroyed the high fencing on the inside of the circuit and narrowly missed marshals, but everyone emerged unscathed.

Fast Schumacher can stay 'forever' – Brawn
(GMM) More than 2000 days after his last pole, Michael Schumacher's qualifying triumph in Monaco has turned the speculation on its head.

Now, his critics have been silenced, and the pundits are having to consider the rising prospect of an even further extended tenure for the sport's elder statesman.

So it was with a smile that the great German batted away what must be a heartening round of new rumors.

"You imagine that just because of one result I've done at this moment I'm suddenly restarting or opening a different subject? No, that's not the case," he insisted.

Team boss Ross Brawn, however, swung the door open.

"If Michael keeps going like this then he can be with us forever," the delighted Briton enthused to Auto Motor und Sport, having admitted to shedding a tear at Saturday's result.

Germany's Bild newspaper said the "old Schumi" is back.

"We always believed in Michael," Mercedes' Norbert Haug is quoted as saying. "We knew that he was still on it."

As for the forthcoming talks about a new deal for the 43-year-old, Haug is quoted by Welt newspaper: "We are in no hurry."

Referring to the 2013 driver market, he added: "It's like a chess game — when there's movement, you have to follow."

New deal or not, Schumacher's pole triumph – even though a penalty dating back to Barcelona means he will actually start the race sixth – was popular in the paddock.

"I feel bad for Michael that he can't enjoy his first pole after so long," Fernando Alonso told Spanish television Antena 3.

It is Mark Webber who inherits the pole, but the Australian insisted: "I think it's Michael's day."

Lewis Hamilton added: "Michael did a really great job. Not bad for an old timer!"

Heikki Kovalainen is quoted by Turun Sanomat: "This was Michael saying 'Hey, don't forget me and here I come!'"

In the Times newspaper, Kevin Eason concluded: "The day belonged to the old man."

Other comeback kid still in the hunt – analysis
(GMM) The punters had their money on the wrong comeback kid on Saturday, as the favorite Kimi Raikkonen qualified just eighth in Monaco.

Even when Michael Schumacher moves back five places from pole in order to serve his Barcelona penalty, the 43-year-old will still be ahead of Raikkonen on the grid, as Lotus failed to deliver on its promise in the Principality.

"A victory (for Lotus) is almost overdue now," said German RTL commentator Christian Danner.

However, the sister E20 driven by Romain Grosjean is still in the hunt, moving forward a place due to Schumacher's penalty from fifth to the second row of the grid.

And Danner thinks Lotus is still right in the long game.

"I think eventually the championship will come down to three teams: Red Bull, Ferrari and Lotus," he said.

Based on qualifying, however, Monaco might be a big ask.

"The Lotus is the most consistent car," Ferrari's Fernando Alonso is quoted by Brazil's O Estado de S.Paulo. "But, from behind like this, it will be difficult to win."

Mike Hakkinen is still tipping his Finnish countryman, though.

"I believe he (Raikkonen) is a better driver now than when he stopped," he told broadcaster MTV3 in Monaco.

Ultimately, it is the winner of the Pirelli 'lottery' who might be the winner in 2012. But Danner, a former driver, does not agree with that.

"I see the debate about the tires as overrated," he insisted. "'Lottery' I think is wrong because Pirelli is providing an absolutely professional playing field, the same for everyone.

"We just have a season with an incredibly balanced field," said Danner. "It's not an accident that the two double world champions Fernando Alonso and Sebastian Vettel are at the top."

Stewards considered excluding Maldonado – Mansell
(GMM) Barcelona winner Pastor Maldonado has gone from F1 glory to back-of-the-field ignominy in the space of less than two weeks.

But as Germany's Auto Motor und Sport reports, the Venezuelan – who last time out in Spain broke through with Williams' first win in seven years – is lucky to be on Sunday's grid at all.

The FIA stewards, including 1992 world champion Nigel Mansell, imposed a severe ten-place grid penalty after ruling that the 27-year-old deliberately swerved into Sergio Perez during practice.

Maldonado insists the crash was not revenge but simply a driving mistake on a slippery track.

Team shareholder Toto Wolff even confronted Mansell about the apparent harshness of the penalty, to which Mansell reportedly replied: "Be happy that he's even racing.

"We were close to excluding him for the whole event," the former Williams driver reportedly told Wolff.

The final misery for Maldonado, who actually qualified ninth, is yet another grid penalty for an unscheduled gearbox change, as the result of damage following his post-Perez collision crash.

He will line up 24th and last.

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