What you are saying holds much truth - qualifying in Spa 1991 was quite something (although the Jordan was not as bad as many thought) and truly Michael's 1990s races rank far above his 2000s races - which is what Paul Fearnley was indicating as well in his article.
I get the feeling that the whole tire rhetorics is the beginning of Michael's retirement announcement. Seems that tires retire Michael or at least will serve as an excuse when the time comes.
"I did my best in my second F1 career and helped the team up to the top. Unfortunately, for me, because of poor tire rulings, this is not F1 anymore, or the F1 I used to know. Therefore I am retiring at the end of the year and wish all the best to the team and Nico."
Actually his quali, as good as it was, wasn't the main thing for me. You're right - the Jordan had already proven itself capable that season - its kinda like the Sauber in Perez's hands this year, in the right hands at the right time the car can do something. For me it was his first race with Benneton at Italy that he made his mark, really punchy stuff. He was very good immediatly, and with no special advantages. Any driver who came into the sport mid this season and put in those 1991 drives against that competition would be hailed as a new talent, and rightly so.
I don't think its fair to dismiss Schumi's abilities in the 2000's - sure the Ferrari team were a machine, but he was instrumental in that and still put in some great drives. Heck even in 2006 when he was on the wane, I don't think you can say there are many on the grid who could have showed his heart and ability in Brazil and China. He was still damned good at times. Alonso and Hamilton could have done it, maybe Vettel. Over 15 years Michael put in more special drives than you give him credit for. Even at Monaco after his ridiculous qualifying he put in a race not many on the grid could have achieved.
To some extent Michaels career stats and success seem to overshadow just how fine a racing driver he was at his peak. Top 10 of all time in my opinion. I don't think its reasonable to look at his Mercedes performances and dismiss all of that so easily. If anything I think the fact that he is still any cop at all at 43 when he has clearly lost some ability is remarkable. He's looked good so far this year.
Regards the tyres - I think this has already been said - he isn't whinging for his own sake, he is commenting freely that he can't push at all during the race and he doesn't like it. He isn't alone, there's plenty of discussion on this. Michael has been one to speak out before if he doesn't like the style of racing - see his comments after the 2010 Bahrain GP. He may well retire at the end of this year - he is not getting any younger or any better, his contract is up and lets face it he's lasted longer than anyone else in modern times.
Edited by spacekid, 03 May 2012 - 17:11.