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Manuel Fangio greater than me: Schumi
Alastair Himmer in Suzuka | October 13, 2003 10:05 IST
Michael Schumacher said he did not want to be compared with Argentine great Juan Manuel Fangio after capturing a record sixth Formula One world title on Sunday.
The German clinched the championship after Ferrari team mate Rubens Barrichello won the decisive Japanese Grand Prix but Schumacher distanced himself from the achievement of Fangio, who won five titles in the 1950s.
"I am not trying to compare myself to Fangio. You cannot compare someone like Fangio with the present day," said Schumacher, who battled to an eighth-place finish at Suzuka after collisions with Takuma Sato and younger brother Ralf.
"Fangio is on a level much higher than I see myself. There is absolutely no comparison. What he did stands alone and what we have achieved is also unique. I have such respect for what he achieved."
"We lose the nose of the car after a bit of stupidity on my part and I suddenly come in and they are ready for me, even though they were not expecting something like that," said the 34-year-old, who bumped Sato from behind on lap seven.
"That is extremely professional...to put me in the position to be able to go back out and have a chance in the race. It was so nerve-racking but the team was incredible again."
Schumacher was shunted by Ralf later in the race, while Finnish rival Kimi Raikkonen was pushing for the victory that would have given him the title had the German failed to score a point. Raikkonen finished second.
"It was a chaotic race. When you go into the pits and come out last of course you have some worries going through your head," said Schumacher.
"When Ralf hit me from behind, I didn't know really what caused it. It was very tight and as long as nothing bad happens it's no problem.
"I predicted that it would not be easy to win the title. Rain or some technical problem, and Kimi could have come first."
But after securing his place among the pantheon of motor racing greats, Schumacher again denied that he was about to retire.
"There is no reason to stop, especially when I am still good at racing and still competitive," he said.
"It was an exhausting season but why not let me enjoy it?"