With hindsight I know now that I was never on the seven-time world champion’s level but he gave my career as a Formula One driver credibility
By David Coulthard
The outpouring of concern for Michael Schumacher’s well being over the past 36 hours, not only from the world of Formula One but from the wider sporting, and indeed non-sporting, community has been wonderful to see. In my opinion it constitutes long-overdue recognition of Michael’s status as a true sporting great. I only hope and pray that he pulls through to see what nice things people have been saying about him.
The truth is I do not believe that Michael has ever truly received the praise or recognition that his stunning achievements merited. And I say that now with the benefit of hindsight.
For years Michael was the perfect pantomime villain, particularly in this country; German, of course, ruthlessly efficient, ultra-aggressive. Whereas previous greats such as Sir Jackie Stewart or Juan Manuel Fangio left the door open to their rivals when racing, for fear of making what could easily have been fatal contact, Michael went all out in his pursuit of victory.
Sometimes he overstepped the mark – Jerez in 1997 and Rascasse in 2006 spring to mind – and those indiscretions made him unpalatable to the sporting purist. He was marked down by some, including me, as a tainted champion. But you cannot argue with his achievements.