I’ve been looking at that incident between Cobbler senior and the Barra Boy again and believe that MSC really knew what he was doing. As he moves over he appears to keep watching his mirrow long after Rubens had got into the blind spot part way alongside him.
We know that those mirrors are pretty useless, so was he so focussed on looking that he moved a bit too far over? Or had he seen Rubens come across and was waiting until he got alongside just to intimidate him as much as possible? I think the latter.
If, as he appeared to claim in his post race interview, he was trying to let Rubens past on the other side (his left), why wasn’t he looking there? Why stay focussed on the right?
We know of his opinion of Rubens and maybe he just thought he could make him chicken out. They both swerved left together, so got away with it all even if Rubens did take off slightly as he passed over the kerb at the pit exit, and Rubens had the experience to use his track position there to make sure he got the corner.
All in all an ugly moment and rather uneccessary.
Something else that troubles me though: A certain other Brazilian used to dish this sort of thing out every bit as much as MSC does and yet still gets revered whereas everyone queues up to throw rocks at MSC and want him penalised. MSC’s move on Rubens was nasty, but almost identical to one that the yellow helmeted Brazilian pulled on Nigel Mansell once (like Rubens, he didn’t bottle it either), but that isn’t the only example of overdoing intimidation; turning into Mansell (yes him again) at Spa, ramming Prost off the track in Japan. I could go on.
MSC and Senna both have (had) sublime driving skills, but I will never be able to regard either of them as true greats because they have this tendency to be bully boys. Both are/were good enough not to need to behave that way, but neither had enough character to kerb their animal instincts.
The real greats like Ascari, Fangio, Clark, Stewart, Lauda and others could be hard, but would not pull these sort of stunts.