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Doornbos Apologised to Villeneuve

Minardi rookie Robert Doornbos has revealed that he apologised to Jacques Villeneuve for their coming together at the German Grand Prix - just hours after he was welcomed into F1 by the former World Champion

Doornbos has made no secret of the fact that his desire to become an F1 driver was fired by a chance meeting with Villeneuve at the Belgian Grand Prix a few years ago - and he could not help but see the irony of their clash early in the race at Hockenheim on Sunday.

"Six or seven years ago, before I started racing, I met him at Spa when I went with my father's company to Williams to watch the race when he was champion," said Doornbos.

"I was just a little guy of 15 or 16 years old and I went up to him and said: 'Hey, Jacques, when did you start doing this?' He looked at me a bit strange and he told me he started late and I was, like, 'cool'.

"I was playing tennis in Holland and I had never done go-karts or anything so I drove back with my dad and said 'hey, come on, can we start as well'. In 2000, I  raced my first season in Formula Ford so after five years I am here in F1."

The story of Doornbos' meeting with Villeneuve is widely known in the paddock - and his arrival as a race driver for Minardi after his Friday testing role for Jordan finally meant his Sauber rival came down to speak to him.

"Jacques came to me before the race and said, 'look, well done, you have joined the family, enjoy it.' Then three laps later we crashed.

"It is a bit ironic, but I just went to him because nobody really saw what happened. So I went to him. I said, 'I am the rookie and it is probably my mistake so I am sorry'.

"He said I was a bit aggressive, it's not Formula 3000 here, so I said: 'I'm sorry, no hard feelings.' We shook hands and we left.

"It was an exciting debut, and it has not gone unnoticed."

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