Thu, Sep 14, 2006 - Page 20 News List

Alonso describes Schumi as `most unsporting driver'

AGENCIES , MADRID

Fernando Alonso criticized Formula One rival Michael Schumacher, saying that the German driver will retire from racing as the most unsporting driver in world championship history.

Alonso's harsh comments to Spanish radio station Marca on Monday night came one day after Schumacher won the Italian Grand Prix and announced that he will retire at the end of the season.

The German driver moved to within two points of Alonso in the championship standings.

"Michael is the man with the most sanctions and the most unsporting driver in the history of Formula One," Alonso said.

He also compared him to Zidane, the France soccer captain who retired after being sent off for a head-butt in July's World Cup final.

"Zidane retired with more glory than Schumacher, but I can still see that he has been the fastest driver for the last 10 years, and racing against him has been an honor," he said.

"That doesn't take away from the fact that he has been the best driver and it has been an honor and pleasure to battle against him. Everyone has their time and you have to respect his decision. Things will be more equal now."

Alonso also hinted that the championship had been fixed in favor of Schumacher.

On Sunday, he had his race stopped when his engine failed 10 laps from the end. Alonso was penalized five places on the starting grid for blocking Ferrari's Felipe Massa in qualifying on Saturday and started 10th.

"No one is going to believe the penalty I was given for a long time to come," Alonso said.

"The excuse they gave was far from honest. That the Italian newspapers headlined this as a robbery is not good for our sport. One thing I am clear about, though, is that he who laughs last, laughs longest," Alonso said.

Schumacher's manager yesterday accused Alonso of "pitiful behavior."

Bild newspaper quoted Willi Weber as saying that Alonso's comment to Spain's Radio Marca was an "unbelievable insult, totally below the belt."

"I regard Alonso as a brilliant driver, but his behavior right now is just pitiful. Michael will give him a suitable answer on the track," Weber said.

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