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Senna vs. Schumacher

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WHAT SCHUMACHER SAYS...................
There isn't much more I can say that hasn't already been said. In fact, I think this forum needs to hear from the mouth of Michael Schumacher more than anything else. If anyone in this forum respects Michael Schumacher (even Ayrton fans should do that) then perhaps there is no more reason for debate... if we just respect what HE says.
(1994 Schumacher wins Championship that year) "...Winning the championship feels like a dream. I don't know how to explain it. The emotions are in me but I cannot really express them. Early in the season it had been clear to me that I was not going to win the championship, that it was going to be Ayrton. But he hasn't been here for these last races..." (he died in May that year) "...and so I would like to take this championship and give it to him. It was difficult at the time to show my feelings because I am not someone who likes to show his feelings on the outside, but I always thought about it..." what was he thinking about all year? He himself tells us now "...And now is the right time to give something which I achieved, something which he should have achieved, to him...". -- (The Life of Senna, Tom Rubython, 2004, pp. 496)
So clearly and without a shadow of a doubt, Schumacher acknowledges that Head-to-Head he would not have won the Championship that year had he had to continue racing Senna. This is all we'll ever know. If you have any problems with this please, take it up with Schumacher - I just quoted him. And please, don't speak on behalf of Schumacher (don't add interpretation/your opinion (that's the reason the debate doesn't stop!))
...truth belongeth to him that understandeth it..." :cool: - Isaac - Australia

It's easy for us armchair enthusiasts to debate this issue, armed with (from what I've seen and read) statistics and facts that are often incorrect. The people in the best position to decide who's better or worse are those that have worked with the two drivers. Even then, it's only their personal opinions, but at least they have a more solid foundation on which to form that opinion.
'F1 Racing' Magazine polls of people in the F1 business (team managers, engineers, drivers past and present, journalists, etc) show that it is widespread belief that Senna was the greatest driver of all time.
Martin Brundle once wrote an article for 'F1 Racing' comparing Schumacher and Hakkinen. When asked who (Schumacher or Hakkinen) is better, his reply was, "Of all the drivers I have raced against, the best was Senna. By far."
Who does Prost think is better? Who does Berger think is better? People can go on all day about the figures, but what they never show is the manner in which they were achieved. These people knew the two drivers in question, and how they operate(d).
Also, I find it incredible that some fans are blinded by the passion with which they support their favourite driver. There is nothing wrong with cheering for your man, but to totally disregard the achievements of a three-time world champion is beyond pathetic. Yes, Michael M from the USA, I'm referring to you. You wrote that you found Senna "rash and absolutely rubbish as a Formula 1 driver." Grow up, and grow a brain while you're at it. Honda setting up the car to Senna's liking? When? How do you know? Like I said, you can support your favourite driver, but at least give acknowledgement and respect where these are due. Sounds like your labelling the Brazilian as "rubbish" is out of a fear and denial of what you know to be true... Dave - Australia

Schumi is nowadays the best driver in the world not only by himself but also because Ferrari has by far the best car. Its kind of annoying ONLY Schumi and Ferrari to win. Personally I support Ferrari and I like Schumi's driving because its fast. Someone said that Schumi passed Senna. The last time when this occurred was back in 1994 at Tamb Turn, Imola. Senna was very fast, the fastest of all the aces of the time. In fact he had more talent in a period of time that MANY drivers were competitive and also more teams. Senna was a talent Schumi SAID IF YOU RECALL �SENNA WAS GOD� Whatever we say is less important because Senna Didn't die..Senna was killed. The only way that the fellow German will be as equal to him is to (I am sorry) die/be killed. Only the young and talented gain immortality.
Who talks about Mika anymore? Nobody he relaxes with his family. I miss the yellow helmet Miss a nice race .. Or I just cannot replace Senna.  Ayrton Senna from Brasil all the way to a heart in Athens Greece - Spyros - Greece

After reading the interesting comments for the last hour, it's hard to not to agree that Schumacher has a lot of fans out there who think he is the best. Even I became hooked and rated him to be the best of all time. I mean the guy did win seven world titles (five in a row). However, ten years is a long time and only after reading "The Life of Senna" (strongly recommend to everyone) that I refreshed my memory of how truly great he was from day one. Senna's F1 career spaned only 10 years compared to Schumachers 14. So here is my opinion. Despite not finishing the first three races in 94, (but got all three poles), Senna would have still won the title. How? Wasn't Hill only 1 point behind Schuy at the end of the year! If Senna lived, Schuys 92 points would have been halved. The year after (95) is anybody's game as Schuy was dominant. However, Williams won both 96 and 97 titles, and if Senna was alive, would Hill and Villeneuve have won it? I don't think so! So let's see: 88,90,91,94,(Maybe 95),96,97. That makes it 6 or 7 world titles to Ayrton, none to Michael. Forgot to mention that Senna planned to retire near 2000. It's sad he had to die so young! - Robert - Serbia

Well I am a fan of the speed and whatever a motor is in a competition but this time we are talking about professional people and I rate Ayrton Senna more than Schumacher because he's still one of the greatest person I ever hear about, also for his so natural way to race, and being hungry to become the champion of every season, I am sure that if he still would be here alive, he would continue winning and making a lot of people more happy and interest in F1 Races, cause he is the best of the best in Formula one, like in every sport there is some one supernatural doing what they like. Example (Michael Jordan) even Magic Johnson could beat him. So no way to think that Schumacher is gonna do it to Senna - Alberto A - Puerto Morelos, Quintana Roo. Mexico

I am a fan of M Schumacher but I think that Senna and Schumacher cannot be compared because they didn't live a real challenge when both were strong. in the beginning of the 90's Schumacher was young and wasn't as strong as he's now. In 1992 he was 3rd and Senna was 4th - Rudy - France

ON THE TRACK Please remember that Schumacher DID BEAT SENNA before his tragic death at Imola. Portugal, Spa etc.. and he was much younger and less experienced than Senna at the time.
ON RECORD Schumi holds them all (almost)
TEAM CONTRIBUTION Schumi holds a Mechanical engineering degree. He knows how to set a car up optimally and motivate a team
SCHUMI 3, SENNA 0 - Randolph F - UK

Any level rated driver can win titles in a super quick car. Schumacher wins because he is given the best car. simple as! its the same with Villeneuve, Hill, and Piquet (plus a lot more). Senna won with the odds against him! he along side Fangio are the greatest ever! - Paul A - UK

Senna was much better than Schumacher, not just as a racer, but as a person too - Austin - England

Schumacher is the best human driver. Senna was a God! - Georgios - Greece

Maybe some of you are correct in saying Schu and Senna can not be compared, but Formula One is the peak of motor sport, 22 of the best drivers in the world (there has always been pay drivers). It doesn't matter which era you're in. You can view it as you may. Both stand out for their dedication. After china the only race drivers to test here in Spain were the Schumie brothers, the others stayed in Asia. Senna was the same.
People mention Donington as his best race. Schumacher has performed as good or better in the same conditions (remember Senna's ford wasn't a works engine, less power is easier to control in the wet, and it was probably the best chassis out there too, just underpowered in the dry, so this race will stick out). I guess results speak for themselves, these are the best drivers in the world and it doesn't matter which era - Greg - Spain

My English is very, very bad. But I will tell you something. I think that Ayrton Senna was the best driver the world has ever seen. He was the fastest driver, i am absolutely sure in that. The question is: was he the best of all time? Some people would say that Senna was unfair in 1990, that he drove too risky, that in 1988 Prost had more points then Senna. But they are not right.
In 1988 the rule was 11 best places.
In 1989 on video you can see that Prost went into Senna (Suzuka)
In 1990 Senna had a pole position. Because of that Balestre decided to change the side of a grid positions, the pole was on a dirty side. And senna was furious because of that, and that is why he collided with Prost.
In 1993. Senna drove with McLaren-Ford. Schumacher was in Benetton-Ford. Only the teams were different, but they had the same engines. In that year Senna was much better than Schumacher. (ex. Interlagos-wet, Donington-wet, Monaco-dry, Suzuka-wet, Adelaide-dry )
In 1994. Williams was a very sick car in first 4 or 5 races. But remember that Senna had poles in Interlagos, in Japan, in Imola. But the best way to show people that senna was the best of the best, is to look Donington park 1993. Senna started as 4-th.The line up was: 1. Prost (four times world champion) 2. Hill (once world champion) 3. Schumacher (7 times world champion). At the end of the first lap Senna was first in wet conditions. At the end of the race only Hill was on the same lap with Ayrton, some 1 min and about 20 sec. behind.
That is why I think that Senna was best of the best - Petar - Serbia

Ayrton Senna was very very very very very very very very very very very very good, but Michael Schumacher is better than him. Period. I quote from a note I've read just here. 
Also, we must take a look at race conditions. In the time where Senna, Prost, Mansell raced, I know there weren't as much electronic facilities as today (electronic gearbox, speed limiter, suspension hardener...), but also, the cars were not as responsive as today's. So, we cannot compare them at the same level. Since the acceleration in a contemporary F1 is much quicker, the pilots got to time every following turn. But also, and perhaps the most significant part, is how Schumacher lifted the whole team. Comparing with Senna, Senna just arrived in a top team, where Prost initially commanded. And Ferrari was trying hard with Berger, but with significant motor failures, unreliability, etc... Also, in these times, Prost pushed hard Senna in an almost "unfriendly" partnership in McLaren, winning alternatively each year championships. In contrast, Schumacher got 1st with the Jordan team, he only got to race 1 time (3rd place), when Benetton approached and hired him. There, in the next 2 years, he won both championships... But like any good racer, he got hired by the Scuderia. He dramatically lifted Ferrari back to its dominant position. And, what the... You only have got to see the facts: Championships: 7 Pole positions: 62 (just 3 behind Senna)

Debates like this are totally sterile. Similar debates have infected motor sport for years and never prove a thing. 
The first one I remember (about bikes) was "Was Mike Hailwood as good or better than Geoff Duke" answer who knows, different times, different technology, different rules etc. Same as comparing Schumacher with Fangio - no-one will ever know. 
All you can say, is they were THE BEST in their time - Peter K - UK

Senna is a legend and had more competition than Schumacher. Senna had Mansell, Prost and Piquet. Schumacher has Montoya, Coultard (not a threat) and Barrichello. I would also say Button but he is no threat at BAR - Harry W - England

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1:18 Scale McLaren MP4/5 Ayrton Senna 1989 Formula 1 Season - F1 Model Car (diecast) replica
Minichamps 1/18th Mclaren MP4/5 Senna 1989

1:43 Scale Toleman TG184 Ayrton Senna 1984
1:43 Scale Toleman
TG184 Ayrton Senna 1984


Senna is somewhat glorified cos of the way he died. People talk abt the unfair moves MS has performed wht abt the one's Senna so "gloriously" did. The simple fact of the matter was that Senna was being beaten by MS when he died. 
Who cares how many poles u have. It is the result on the track that counts. In 94.. Senna was being beaten by a driver who was a decade younger. These r facts. Put all the spin you want. Facts will stand - Harry - USA

If only they could have been in the same era - Maximilian - Australia

Senna Is the BEST!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! - Liliana M - Peru

Four Words: Ayrton Senna da Silva - George H - Greece

I think that Schuey is the best of all time in F1 history, better than Senna, Prost and Fangio. Maybe many people think that it happened because he's running on Ferrari, but Senna won many poles and GPs when McLaren was the one without rivals. 
Schumi is the number 1 - Manuel T - Mexico

I don't think that we should go by the figures... they can be very misleading... what counts is the actual performance.... Schumacher is no doubt the greatest in the world today but I would say that its been a kind of a monopoly now for him.... he's not had very tough competition compared to Senna posed by none other than the legendary Prost but Senna has outdone Prost in every field and has done so with Schumi too be it by figures or performance... I would voice my opinion in favor of Ayrton Senna... his achievements are simply great and immortal. Please do send me a mail regarding ur opinions about mine... thanx - Partho - India

Schumacher is a gifted race driver but Ayrton Senna was God, the biggest loss of all time and not only for F1. 
SENNA FOREVER !!! - Taan - Turkey

I'm trying to figure out how can Brazilian people think that Schumi is better than Senna. It is acceptable that others, specially Germans think that way, but Brazilians? 
It is perfect clear for me that, if Ayrton was not dead, Schumi wouldn't be the n-times champion he is today, no matter how good his car was. Besides, no matter who is the best, Ayrton is a hero for us, and always will be the best. 
When I remember of his funeral, I barely can contain my sorrow. I've never seen anything like that. Maybe when Pele dies - and this one, can't be ever compared to anyone, especially Maradona. 
Forgive me about my English, if I'm not clear - Fabio - Brasil

It's a very difficult argument due to the nature of the topic, times, and cars and its based opinions. To a Schumacher fan - Shumi's best. To a Senna fan - Ayrton is the best. 
To a Formula 1 fan, and more importantly to a 'younger' formula 1 fan who has never had the pleasure of experiencing Senna race I can tell you this. Schumacher has never had a bad car, a team-mate that is allowed to compete with him and most noticeably he doesn't have any F1 'Greats' to deal with - Results: he has won and blew most records out of the water. He always would and any F1 driver with that extra bit of talent would do.
Schumacher is a very good driver but is driven by moneymaking business tactics and ranks about 4th or 5th in the all time F1 greats. Senna on the other hand has had uncompetitive cars most of his career (apart from the McLaren in the eighties), has had other F1 greats (Prost) as a team mate, he even had FIA officials (Balestre) on his back and has been stripped of wins. Senna even offered to drive for a much more competitive Williams in 1993 for free. Openly, he admitted it was for the honour and the glory of winning (this would have been giving up on the million dollars a race McLaren were paying him at the time) but Prost had put a block on Senna joining him at Williams due to the fears of Senna beating him once more. 
Senna was the most charismatic and intelligent driver in F1 but most of all he was blessed with an extraordinary God's gift for raw speed behind a racing car. It is almost unexplainable to put in words just how fast he was. 
Schumacher is a very lucky driver to be racing in the era in which he does, for if it was 10 years previous he would be a double world champion maybe and be classed no more than a Nelson Piquet at best - R M - UK

Sorry for my English... I remember Berger saying that in terms of talent, Michael was just as good as Senna. He said that after driving Michael's car in 1996, and recognized that winning a championship with such a car had been a hard job (the car was difficult to set up and Michael admitted it before) 
It's sad that most of you have forgotten that Prost would have beaten Senna in 88 (with the present point system) and who knows what would have happened if Senna hadn't PURPOSEFULLY COLLIDED with Prost at Suzuka in 90??? 
People here criticize Michael for some of his very unfair moves but why aren't they pointing out the fact that Senna did exactly the same and ADMITTED IT after??? Do you think that a title won in such conditions shows how great Senna was??? 
Yes, Senna is certainly the fastest driver over a single lap, but I just cannot understand how a man with 65 poles has only been able to achieve 19 fastest laps over ten years... I just cannot understand that. In comparison, Prost has won 51 races, has got almost the same amount of fastest laps and has got (only) 33 poles... 
In my opinion, Schumacher is a better driver on many points, especially out of his car...
No one has been able to drive a team that way, and Ferrari wouldn't be the team it is today without Michael... And for those who think that Michael has always had the best car, remember that Hill, Villeneuve and Hakkinen only won in cars vastly superior to Michael's...
Remember that the McLaren boys finished one-two in Australia in 98 lapping everybody except Michael, and a few races after he won a race and fought for the championship till the end of the season...
Michael has always had in his hand the fastest cars of the grid, huh??? This is only true since 2001. Remember how many times Michael retired in 1996,and remember that he still won 3 races that year... Stanp - Belgium

When Senna was racing there where other world champions to compete with, and some times Senna won with an inferior car like in 92 against Mansell. 
Schumacher has always had the best car and not a lot of competition, give him Mansell, Senna, Prost, Peekay to race against and see if he would be 6 times world champion.
Since 94 F1 will never be the same again. Senna can never be compared to Shumacher as Senna was a god of F1. God bless him - Gareth - UK

Who cares for Schumacher's 7th championship title, SENNA fought for his victories and won them. No one will ever replace Ayrton Senna, I will always love you Ayrton and your picture will always hang on my wall
Schumacher is a gifted race driver but Ayrton Senna was God, the biggest loss of all time and not only for F1. SENNA FOREVER !!! - Taan - Turkey


Senna was the best driver ever to live. If he were alive today, Schumacher wouldn't have won 7 championships. Schumacher would have had 7 runner-ups. Half of Schumacher's success is his talent, while the other half is his team, Ferrari - Level8Drummer - USA

Senna was and remains, alongside Jim Clark, the best driver ever - Emina B - Bosnia & Herzegovina

I have read a few pages worth of comments from fans of both drivers and F1 fans in general. I rate Senna over Schumacher because everyone Loved Senna, He brought to each race the excitement of all the fans watching every fortnight. 
Ayrton's Fans will always be more dedicated fans then Michael's Fans, as you can see some Senna fan's simply say Senna is the best without having to explain themselves, they know there isn't a need to. 
When you see Senna go up for his trophy, its almost you had a role in his win, that he was winning not only for himself but for all the fans of real racing. To me I would label Michael has a good BUSINESSMEN/driver, and Senna as a RACE/DRIVER. 
I also noticed some people said both have achieved a lot and brought a lot to the sport, what has Michael brought to the sport? More money? Although Michael is doing really well, we will ignore the machinery here, the competition is not there, and if talent is there, experience isn't there to aid it. Currently Michael is a regular on the track, knows all the tracks very well, look how he performed in China last night, spin, spin, contact, tire isn't his fault, but just talent isn't enough for the others to catch Michael, they need experience. 
I feel someone is going to bring in DC now regarding to experience, I guess DC just lacks some talent. Since Michael has already won, the last few races he's just laid back, Senna wouldn't he went out to qualify faster laps EVEN when he had pole, he loved it, we love it, that's Senna, a RACER, not a businessmen. 
Unfortunately, this world does spin on money, and Michael knows how to ride along well, getting $80mil USD annually. 
I'm looking forward to next years McLaren team with KR and JPM, hopefully something similar to a Senna/Prost, Wild fast vs perfectly calm/fast - Jason - New Zealand

Looking at things objectively, Senna was the better driver of the two. 
Senna raced and beat other contemporary F1 greats who were in their prime AND in the same team (his battles with Prost were engrossing and legendary). 
As cited numerous times here, Senna also raced and was competitive in an often inferior car (see the technology challenged McLaren versus the later-to-be-banned active-everything Williams). 
Schumacher is a great driver - he picked up where Senna left off. But he has not raced and won consistently against any greats - nor will he ever get the opportunity to. 
I will concede though that Schumacher and Ferrari are probably the best "team" there has ever been in F1. BUT Senna was the better driver of the two. 
Bernie Ecclestone in the recent media said: "Don't get me wrong, I'm a Schumacher fan, but would he have won as many championships as he has done if Senna had not left us? I very much doubt it. Ayrton never had the luxuries Michael has had. Michael has never had anybody in his team who has been able, or been in a position, to challenge him. And he's certainly in the best team there is." - Rai - Australia

By far, the best of all times - Ariel M - Argentina

Senna is the best of all times for sure! - Marl - Brazil

In general Senna would not crack under pressure. He did make mistakes but when it really mattered he proved a true world champion dwarfing his competitors, touching the limit and stay there as long as necessary. He was more aggressive and would go further than Schumacher in terms of taking risk. Senna was like magic, he could achieve incredible results in the poorest circumstances and the car didn't have to be ideal for him to win. Senna's passing manoeuvres, natural raw speed, intelligence, the fact he always kept on developing himself and his team and never stopped progressing and keep on the motivation with that uncanning never ever seen, not even at Schumacher, will to win, his unbelievable ability in the wet (Monaco 84, Estoril 85, Brazil 93 and Donington 93), his aggressiveness, his mastery of difficult conditions like changing weather and low grip circuits like Monaco and Hungary, his obsession and achievements of claiming the most pole positions ever and being a very good starter and having the ability to fully record any lap and detach his mind off the track while driving, all of this and more (he knew his cars so well, both technically and driving so committed) ends up to make him one of the greatest drivers of all times. 
Even with inferior equipment he beat his greatest rivals. He truly dominated his era which was one of the most competitive ones of all times against Lauda, Rosberg, Piquet, Mansell, Prost etc and coped with so much changes: turbo era and electronic aids. He demonstrated F1, beat Schumacher in 91 92 93 fair and square way more often than the other way around and even in 94 with the very difficult Williams against the rumoured illegal with banned TC equipped Benetton of Schumacher, he still managed to claim a 100@ pole position score with 3 poles out of 3 gp's. 
Even against the much better drivable Benetton Senna closed the gap to Schumacher in 94's opening race in Brazil until he spun. in the second race he made a bad start but could have ended 1st or 2nd if Hakkinen hadn't turn him around in the first corner after which Larini couldn't avoid hitting senna. In the last race senna proved with his again pole position that he was still the quickest, the only question was could the Williams hold enough pace over the entire distance of the race. Senna was leading on the small Imola circuit and could have won there. 
No doubt that for the years to come Senna might have won the world title in 94 95 95 96 97, switching in 98 to Ferrari as Renault would retire would end up in a dogfight with Schumi as teammate, giving Hakkinen the opportunity to win in 98, followed by Senna's title for Ferrari in 99 and Schumacher's in 2000. Senna would then probably have retired. He was fitter than Mansell and Prost who ended their career with the driver's title at age 38. 
Senna would be able to drive up till his 39th or 40th. 
So all the things above mentioned contribute to my conclusion that although Schumacher is undoubtedly one of the all time greatest and the best driver and allrounder in his era since 94 easily and he does show most of the qualities Ayrton was famous for but he was a less extreme driver, he wouldn't go and couldn't go and stay on the limit so long as Senna could. Being less precise, failing under real pressure significantly more often and needing teammates and an absolute nr 1 status in the team in order to get benefited over his teammates in terms of equipment, strategy and treatment, overall he would not have made it against Senna with similar skills but in almost every aspect Schumacher is excelling, Senna was even better. 
Ayrton Senna da Silva was simply a more complete driver, better when skills compared head to head and overall the better allrounder - Yang L - The Netherlands

Senna is the best of the best of the best (by Tina Turner) - Waldeci - Brazil

Ayrton Senna is very very very very very very very very very very very very good, but Michael Schumacher is better than him - Leonardo - Brazil

Senna is the supreme king. How can anybody compare him with Schumacher, he only wins because he don't have opposing, his car is the best (one level above all the others), Barrichello is an human shield for him, Ferrari have the best mechanics, strategists and directors... 
Schumacher's life is very very easier than all pilots in the history... 
If I put a monkey driving Ferrari he can be 7-times world champion too, with this conditions! - Jose L - Brasil

Schumacher is the best - Rodrigo - Brazil

Senna was the best driver of all time, had more skill, was quicker and was much more braver than Schumi. The second best was the Scottish Jim Clark - Phoenix - UK

Schumacher is a fantastic driver but the Ferrari is even more fantastic, imagine where Senna would have been if he had driven such a car during most of his career! - Eric N - Sweden

I believe that Ayrton Senna da Silva was the best motor racing driver there has ever been just ahead of Fangio and Jim Clark. 
Hi attention to detail and tenacity were and are second to none and his skill at driving in conditions normally un-driveable stand out on their own. 
Schumacher is a very good driver who had Senna been alive today would have had far less world championships and much less wins - Rory - UK

Schumacher has taken F1 to a new level - Andrew - USA

Hi Guys/gals have gone through a lot of the comments that have been put up. 1st I would like to say something. STOP COMPARING the two Cuz they r from two different eras. Although I am a big Schumi fan but I still respect Senna a lot. But i feel the Halo surrounding Senna has more to do with his death at Imola. Things apart, Formula 1 itself has changed quite a lot since the days of Senna. Now it is no longer a drivers domain but a lot of other factors have come into picture and as can be seen from Senna's career he left Lotus just cuz he was not getting the best piece of machinery. So why don't we say that Senna was good just cuz he had better machinery than the rest. One other point as pointed out Senna had a nice rivalry with Prost, so did Schumi through out his career be it Mika, David or Kimi but he has outraced and outlived everyone of them in F1, and he is still going strong. Yes i concede that we would never know if Senna would have continued longer than Schumi but one thing is for sure Schmi was his biggest competitor when Senna died, infact Schumi was the one immediately behind Senna when he crashed, and was fast catching up on him and according to a few experts that might be one of the reasons of the Crash, that is Senna committed a mistake under pressure. 
So guys lets put this debate to rest, Schumi fans would always be on his side and so would Senna fans. They are two great legends who have to be admired rather than being degraded by comparision on a constant basis. I am a schumi fan and my respect and admiration has increased for him after seeing yesterdays race at Monza where he raced to 2nd from 15th and cud have taken the win had he not been told to ease off by the Ferrari management.
To end the talk, a driver will be only as good as his machine - Jack - India

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