British racing legend Sir Stirling Moss has admitted that had he been in Michael Schumacher's position in last weekend's Monaco Grand Prix, he would have 'done exactly the same' in overtaking Ferrari rival Fernando Alonso on the last lap – explaining that 'it's a racer's instinct to react to a green light' and insisting that the regulations need to be clarified to avoid any future confusion.
Schumacher was contentiously demoted 20 seconds and six positions by race stewards after the chequered flag had fallen in Monte Carlo, with the argument being that the record-breaking seven-time F1 World Champion had contravened the rules in passing before the cars had reached the start/finish line – or in this instance, the end of the grand prix.
With the green light having been shown and green flags waved upon the return of the safety car to the pit-lane, however, Mercedes Grand Prix – who have since dropped their appeal against the penalty – believed the race was back on for the frantic dash to the flag, and informed their two drivers, Schumacher and young compatriot Nico Rosberg, that they were free to try to overtake.
'Schumi' duly did so in opportunistically nipping past fellow multiple title-winner Alonso for P6 into the final corner, Rascasse. Moss contends that the 41-year-old comeback king was right to take his chance – and wrong to be punished for it.
“The whole issue hinges on the lights going green,” the 16-time grand prix-winner – who is happily now swiftly recovering from his lift shaft fall in March and is able to walk again unaided – told GPUpdate.net
. “It's a racer's instinct to react to a green light or a green flag. On top of that, ten teams appeared to have advised their drivers to start racing again. By the letter of the law it was safe to race – really the lights should have stayed yellow, and there would have been no confusion.
“I'm sure Michael did the right thing at the time, and if I was in the same place I would have done exactly the same. The upshot is, the rule needs clarifying for next time in order to prevent confusion and so drivers and teams are clear on what they can or cannot do under those circumstances.”