The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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‘I’ll stop the day I’m 2nd best’

Paris: Ace Formula 1 driver Michael Schumacher made an ominous announcement on Monday when he said he would never settle for second best.

“If, one day, a teammate surpasses me, it would be preferable to stop rather than to risk everything, even my life,” the sports daily l’Equipe quoted Schumacher as saying. “When my teammate is better than me, then it will surely be time to say goodbye.”

Schumacher leads the standings as he bids for a world-record sixth season title and his fourth straight. He’s ahead of McLaren’s Kimi Raikkonen by three points going into next Sunday’s European Grand Prix at Nurburgring — the ninth event of the 16-race season.

After 68 GP victories, Schumacher says he feels as fit as ever.

“I’ve been working out, training physically ever since my karting days,” the German said. “I soon realised that the stronger you are physically, the mentally stronger you are to, perhaps, take advantage of your rivals.”

Schumacher says he is calm on the track, but acknowledges fear off it.

“You have control of the car on the track,” he said. “Adrenaline only comes when you lose control of a situation. I remember my first parachute jump.

“I was standing by the airplane door and telling myself: ‘no, decidedly, this is not the right thing to do.’ then, all of a sudden, I was outside,” Schumacher said.

Schumacher said he believes in fate and knows accidents can happen despite the safety precautions in F1.

“My wife and I are of the same opinion. The day this happens, it will be destiny, be it in a racing car or elsewhere.”

Schumacher said he is more nervous watching his brother Ralf, who drives for BMW Williams, than he is when he’s driving himself.

He also said he was unhappy the way the media covered the death of his mother shortly before the San Marino Grand Prix in April.

“I’ve had too many unpleasant experiences with the media, who turn such events to their advantage to make a story, rather than leaving the person alone,” he said.

“At Imola, when my mother was dying, there were so many eyes fixed on us. Rather than respect the situation each one was thinking: ‘this is my story, this is part of my job’.”

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