Fernando Alonso has launched a withering attack on Michael Schumacher, claiming the seven-time world champion heads into retirement with the label 'the most unsporting driver in the history of Formula One' hanging over him.
Schumacher announced his intention to retire at the end of the season after winning Sunday's Italian Grand Prix at Monza which lifted him to within two points of Alonso with three races to go.
But while plaudits rained down on the Ferrari ace Alonso questioned the 37-year-old's win-at-all costs ethos.
"Michael is the man with the most sanctions and is the most unsporting driver in the history of Formula One."
"Even (Zinedine) Zidane retired with more glory than Schumacher!" Alonso said in reference to the French football great's infamous headbutt and sending off against Italy in the World Cup final.
The Renault driver tempered the criticism on his arch rival by telling Marca newspaper: "That doesn't mean he hasn't been the best driver, and fighting against him has been an honour and a pleasure."
The Spaniard then turned to his own wretched weekend at the Italian Grand Prix.
Demoted from fifth to 10th on the grid for 'blocking' Schumacher's teammate Felipe Massa in qualifying his Monza misery was compounded when his car packed up leaving him having to watch Schumacher take the chequered flag from the pits.
He said he'd considered boycotting the race in protest at what he regarded as the race stewards' grossly unfair decision to demote him.
"You think about not racing, but it goes away quickly once you put your helmet on.
"No one is going to believe the penalty I was given for a long time to come.
"The excuse they (the stewards) gave was far from honest. It isn't good for our sport."
The 22-year-old driver added: "I was 100 percent sure that I could win the race from anywhere on the grid, to keep on scoring points and finish in front.
"What I'm sure about is that he who laughs last, laughs longest."
Alonso believes there is a bias towards Schumacher and Ferrari from the sport's governing body the FIA.
"In Formula One there are commercial and political interests," he said.
"We are talking about the most successful driver in history and a little bit of help has never gone amiss. Quite often they go over the line of what is acceptable and it is inexplicable."
Alonso now only has races in China, Japan and Brazil, the season-ender on October 22, to defend his title against Schumacher.