Schumacher warned for impeding Barrichello

South Korea: Race stewards reprimanded seven-times world champion Michael Schumacher on Saturday for impeding Rubens Barrichello in South Korean Grand Prix qualifying.

The Brazilian had complained after the session that his former Ferrari team mate, making a comeback with Mercedes this season at the age of 41 and after three years out, had slowed him on a quick lap.

However Mercedes disputed that and team principal Ross Brawn suggested the Williams veteran had exaggerated the incident to try and gain an advantage.

"I think the stewards took the correct view that Rubens wasn`t on a fast lap," he told reporters after hearing that Schumacher had kept his ninth place grid position for Sunday`s race, with Barrichello 10th.

"I think it`s disappointing if a driver claims he`s on his best lap of the session when clearly it wasn`t true.

"I think we need to get a balance on what goes on in qualifying because if the drivers try to gain positions by getting their competitors penalised, it`s not correct," added the Briton.

The stewards said in their statement that, irrespective of Mercedes` opinion that Barrichello was not on a fast lap, Schumacher had a responsibility to use his mirrors and pay attention to warning flags.

"Rubens is of the view that Michael is impolite and doesn`t give a (damn) about anything else. And you think `plus ca change...`," Williams co-owner Patrick Head told reporters with a smile when asked about the incident.

Barrichello was Schumacher`s team mate for six seasons at Ferrari, often having to play a subservient role and obey so-called `team orders` in favour of the German.

They have already had one big clash this season, with Schumacher handed a 10-place Belgian Grand Prix grid penalty for trying to drive him off the track and into a wall in Hungary as they battled for 10th place.

Barrichello declined comment on Head`s remark, other than saying `That`s Patrick`.

"Honestly, in life you`ve got to give respect to get respect," he added. "We have had problems in the past and are still having problems like in Hungary.

"I am a very cool guy and I have respect for the slowest and the quickest. We all make mistakes. He just came to apologise saying the team did not tell him, but he has mirrors. I am a little bit sad."

Bureau Report