Drivers Have Sporting Spirit, Says Schumacher

Michael Schumacher said on Thursday he believed his driving style was not affecting his rivals and insisted that there was still a sporting spirit between them.

Drivers Have Sporting Spirit, Says Schumacher

Michael Schumacher said on Thursday he believed his driving style was not affecting his rivals and insisted that there was still a sporting spirit between them.

The Ferrari driver has been criticised for his driving style after preventing Finn Mika Hakkinen from passing him in the Belgian Grand Prix two weeks ago.

But he said that the rivalry between Brazilian Ayrton Senna, Briton Nigel Mansell and Frenchman Alain Prost had a much more negative effect on the sport than his duel with Hakkinen.

"I think we do have a sporting spirit," Schumacher said.

"We have a lot more sporting spirit than we did when it was the time of Senna, Mansell and Prost.

"Then we had the main drivers doing what they wanted and the rest had to deal with it. Now we have distinct rules that determine what is and isn't allowed and it is fairer on everyone."

The German said he was in a positive frame of mind and was intent on upsetting the form book to record a victory in front of Ferrari's fans.

"For me this is no different to Spa, mentally or physically," he said.

"It is just another race in the calendar and one of four that will go to deciding the end result this season.

"It is not a race that is exceptionally crucial to us because the championship is far from finished yet.

"We've done nothing differently going into this than we have done for any other race but the 'tifosi' are the extra motivation and it is great to see so many of them here every year."

McLaren's Hakkinen is out to record his first victory at Monza. If he wins the race, he will be on course for a third successive world title which would put him in the record books alongside Juan Manuel Fangio.

"It is very important to us, just like every Grand Prix," Hakkinen said.

"My target is to get maximum points for the team and for me.

"This is not one of my favourite races but I'm still out for the win. Some of the corners are tricky at Monza and it is an interesting and challenging circuit to drive."

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