Michael Schumacher crossed the line and should have been punished by the race officials following his defense from Lewis Hamilton at Monza, claims Sir Jackie Stewart. The three-time World Champion says the German seven-time champion was clearly egregious in his defense but escaped sanction because of his reputation.
"He overdid it," Stewart declared. "Had it not been Michael Schumacher, I think he would have been either very heavily reprimanded or certainly given a drive-through at minimum.
"That's about a 20-, 25-second penalty – it justified more than that in my opinion."
Stewart said Mercedes team boss Ross Brawn's radio message to Schumacher proved the German was lucky not be penalized, but said that the damage to Hamilton's race hopes had already been done.
"I was disappointed by the governing body because there is a rule: you can't do that [move twice] again and again. As we now know Ross told Michael he was likely to be penalized.
"I thought he drove a very good race, a hard race, but that doesn't mean to say it was a fair race. You could say that Lewis Hamilton lost all chances of winning the race by that, and I think that's wrong."
Asked about Schumacher's form in general, Stewart said he believed the German had retired from Formula 1 too early, leaving him unsatisfied and prompting his return with Mercedes last year.
"I strongly believe that the real problem is that he retired too early – he wasn't ready for retirement. Had he stayed on two more years, then he would have retired satisfied I think, even if he hadn't won another championship – it wouldn't have mattered, I think he would have had enough of Formula 1.
"I can only judge from my own experience. When I decided in April 1973 that I was going to retire, I went to every grand prix knowing it was the last time I would ever be there driving a car in anger, and I so much more enjoyed it because of that.
"He [Schumacher] seemed to not have anything in his life commercially or in the business sense that would consume him sufficiently to satisfy what he was missing."