Catalunya Shines with Schumacher's Superiority

Catalunya Shines with Schumacher's Superiority
by Eric Gustafson

The essential truth that came out of Sunday's Spanish Grand Prix was that Michael Schumacher drove like a World Champion and Damon Hill didn't. The conditions were certainly treacherous and Hill said as much in the post race interviews. You have to respect him for admitting his mistakes and confessing to having a bad day on the track as opposed to blaming his car's handling (as Britain's last world champion probably would have done).

The irony is that Hill's performance in Barcelona was at great odds with the commanding points lead he had going into the race. His 12 point lead over Villeneuve and 27 point lead over Schumacher certainly should have led one to assume his superiority, even dominance in this race. On the contrary, Hill showed neither of these qualities on Sunday, even though luck was on his side. Schumacher's mistake at Monaco was reflective of his points standings at the time. He simply had to take chances and race to win. At Barcelona Hill didn't have to take any chances, but went off the track regardless.

In this race at least, Schumacher was both superior and dominant. At times he was lapping the circuit four second faster than his rivals. That included wet driving ace Jean Alesi. I disagree with those that have called this a boring race. Watching Schumacher take that outside line was thrilling. Wondering if he could keep all four wheels turning to the end kept me glued to the screen.

Alesi, once again, showed a level of maturity and patience that seems to be growing with each race. He hasn't performed one of his kamikaze maneuvers in over two races now and may very well finish the year with his best ever position in the championship. Briatore must have really given him one hell of a talking to.

The kid is coming right along. Jacques Villeneuve managed to catch the slides that Hill didn't. Clearly his fantastic start put him in a position where he didn't have to play the dangerous game of catch-up that Hill was forced into, but at the same time he stayed right with Alesi and was in no way just hanging in for the finish.

Frentzen showed his skill once again, even though he had to accept the humiliation of being passed by his countryman Schumacher. When will he get a proper ride?

I guess six cars finishing is an improvement over four. Heck if it doesn't rain in Canada, we might even have more.

Eric Gustafson
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