Sorry to continue nattering on about Michael Schumacher, but there was clearly a touch of high tension déjà-vu about the British media’s reaction to the seven times world champion at Monday’s official launch of the Merc squad in Stuttgart.
My good friend Jonathan McEvoy of the Daily Mail, the sort of guy who carries the editorial equivalent of a flame thrower over his shoulder, opened with a blow torch burst of provocative questioning. His first question was basically, how do you feel about sharing a team with a guy (Nico Rosberg) whose father once described you as a ‘cheap cheat’ after you deliberately obstructed Fernando Alonso’s qualifying lap at Monaco in 2006?
“Good,” said Schumacher stiffly, looking as though he would rather be anywhere else at that moment. But he obviously felt that attack was the best form of defence and blasted back at McEvoy with sledgehammer irony, saying “I am sure you only get 91 victories and seven (world) titles in a bad way. I need to prove myself now.”
This Schumacher-Mercedes team is shaping up to be a real barrel load of laughs, then. A few weeks ago I speculated that 2010 might be the making of Rosberg, even though he could never in his wildest nightmares ever have imagined that the Teutonic Prince would end up emerging from his slumbers of retirement to further fuel his high octane insomnia.
It all reminds me of when Alonso signed for McLaren at the end of 2005, more than a year before he first raced for them in 2007. When he put pen to paper, he surely thought that his running mate – Juan Pablo Montoya – would be a pushover as team-mate. But by the time he rolled out for his first race for the Woking brigade, Montoya had turned into Lewis Hamilton.
Rosberg could never have imagined that Jenson Button was ever going to turn into Michael Schumacher. Life’s never fair, is it?