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Hakkinen: Schumacher is the Greatest

Former World Champion Mika Hakkinen has praised his old rival Michael Schumacher, saying the Ferrari World Champion is 'the greatest' driver in Formula One

Hakkinen and Schumacher battled over four seasons, with Hakkinen winning the World Championship in 1998 and 1999, and Schumacher winning every title since.

But this season, Schumacher looks set to lose the title to Renault's Fernando Alonso or McLaren's Kimi Raikkonen, yet his former adversary believes neither drivers could ever repeat Schumacher's achievements in the sport.

Asked who will inherit Schumacher's place as the dominant driver of the sport, Hakkinen replied: "I don't think anyone will be able to; Michael has made his mark in F1 for so long. When I retired, he started winning non-stop.

"I doubt anyone will be able to repeat what he has done. Neither Alonso nor Raikkonen come close: Michael is the greatest."

Hakkinen said, however, that he wouldn't want to see Schumacher retire from Formula One to join the DTM championship - where the Finn is currently racing for Mercedes, in his first full season of competitive racing since leaving Formula One four seasons ago.

"I don't think he'd enjoy it," Hakkinen told Gazzetta dello Sport. "He shouldn't even think about joining DTM because if he was here, then we would all start fighting hard against each other. I hope it won't happen."

Hakkinen also offered his support to compatriot Raikkonen, stating the young McLaren driver will continue to put up a fight for the World Championship - and that he will win it eventually.

"Even if he will carry on being hit by bad luck, he won't surrender before the end of the season," Hakkinen said.

"Kimi will sooner or later become World Champion."

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