A clash and a class-act 🏎️

A clash and a class-act 🏎️

On one corner, a composed
and discreet driver as you expect
from a Finnish citizen. On the other one,
a German with the temper you’d expect
from a “tifoso”. And despite all their
differences, the clash between the
Flying Finn and the Red Baron was
an example of sportsmanship
and exquisite talent.
The rivalry between the two
came to the limelight at the 1990
Macau Grand Prix for F3000, when
both were fighting for the win and Mika
crashed against a fierce defensive
Michael on the last lap, handing him
the win. But despite that rough start,
their common story was always
a textbook on racing etiquette.
They both came from
humble backgrounds and had
their successes planted on pure
talent and effort. That may explain
the mutual respect, especially from
the German, who had a history of
over-the-edge battles with both Hill
and Villeneuve on his path for the first
couple of world titles. Whether you
have it down to maturity or to
a special connection, the truth is
that the period from 1998 to 2001,
proved that the two formed
a “Match made in heaven”
as someone once described
their contention.
In 1998, after intense and
beautiful battles, the laurels
went to Hakkinen only at the last
race of the year. In 1999, facing
a leg injury, Schumacher was unable
to battle, but in 2000, the table turned
in the German’s favour, grabbing the title
with one race to spare. In 2001, after
a disappointing season punctuated
by too many DNFs, Mike left
the “circus” putting an end
to an unrepeatable rivalry.
Schumacher called Mika
“the best opponent in terms of his quality”,
while adding “We respected each other
highly and let each other live quietly”,
while the latter, recently admitted
missing Michael while adding

“He was adamant.
He never gave up, no matter what.
He knew that the game was over
with the chequered flag, not before it.
I really respected that. He always drove
on the limit. Always flat out, brake
discs burning bright red.”