F1 – Making History with Michael Schumacher
SEVEN-TIME FIA FORMULA ONE WORLD CHAMPION
JAPANESE GRAND PRIX, 2000
n Japan, the moment when I crossed the line – crazy! Later I was repeatedly asked what my predominant feelings were at that moment, and on no single occasion was I able to find the right words.
I honestly believe it’s something you cannot convey with words. I was so wonderfully happy. I didn’t know what to do with this happiness, I suddenly felt trapped in the car, trapped in my Ferrari, as if I was about to burst. I banged so hard on the steering wheel they thought it was broken, and, as a precaution, it had to be taken out of service. It was simply such a release! I had finally done it, after so many years of disappointments.
On the in-lap, when it was all over, I just kept driving. I was overcome with tears, and it was as if I were standing next to myself, looking in on the moment. It was almost as if I were someone else.
The moment I got out of the car in the Parc Fermé, the whole team were waiting. It was fantastic. Those faces! Shining eyes and everyone cheering, I could have thrown my arms around them all and kissed them. I did try to and, thank God, Corinna was there.
Formula 1 is a fascinating world. It’s about finding the limit, even if it’s different in each lap. That’s what I like about it. Because feeling the limit is a deep feeling of joy and satisfaction.
It’s at its most beautiful during races or tests in which we drive long distances. In the beginning you correct the set-up in every lap until it fits. Then, at some point, there’s a kind of flow, a single rhythm. Then you’re one with your car because you don’t have to fight the car to move it to the limit. When that moment comes, I only see the ideal line. I visualise it: a black band that winds in front of me. The sensation of being precisely at the limit is incredibly high.
*Extracted from the book ‘Michael Schumacher – Driving Force’, with thanks to Sabine Kehm
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