Schuey to pay back Rubens' Canada favour?

Michael Schumacher has hinted he may hand victory in Sunday's Formula 1 season finale to team mate Rubens Barrichello if he gets the chance

Schuey to pay back Rubens' Canada favour?

The new world champion was speaking ahead of the last round of the world championship in Malaysia, in which Barrichello has to win to snatch a career-best third in the drivers' championship from David Coulthard.

The German wants to round off the season in style and is gunning for a Ferrari one-two. He warned McLaren there would be no easing off the throttle just because the drivers' title is already won.

As he praised his Brazilian team mate's contribution to car development this year, Schumacher hinted he will repay Barrichello for slowing at the team's request in Canada and not stealing a vital victory from Schumacher, who was slowed by an engine problem.

After the race in Montreal, Schumacher said he owed a debt to his team mate.

"I guess that Rubens would rather be in front of me and win by himself," said Schumacher. "But I remember Canada and I remember well what I said there, so we'll see what happens.

"So far I've managed to keep him behind me and I hope it stays that way, but you never know. He's very strong. He's certainly the strongest team mate I've ever had.

"I have to say I am very thankful for Rubens help during the whole situation this year," he added. "He's been a very good and a very strong team-mate in developing the car. He's pushed me forward and we have become a very successful combination."

At the same time Schumacher fired a warning shot at rivals McLaren that Ferrari would not be easing up just because they have won the drivers' championship.

Schumacher, who was crowned Ferrari's first world champion in 21 years in Japan 11 days ago, and Barrichello only need one car in the top four to retain the constructors' title as well.

If they achieve it, they will provide the Maranello-based team with its first double triumph since 1979.

"The three points from fourth place will be enough, but we are not looking for just fourth place. I would really like Ferrari to win. It is not in McLaren's hands," said the German, whose team leads the constructors' championship by 13 points with a maximum 16 on offer this Sunday.

"Everyone is happy now that we have the first Ferrari world champion in 21 years, but we have achieved our first target and now we would like to achieve the second."

Schumacher claims he will be an even better driver now the pressure of winning the world championship has been lifted from his shoulders.

"It was a great relief crossing the line in Suzuka," he admitted. "I felt like a couple of tons of stones had fallen off me. It was one of the most wonderful days of my sporting career.

"There is no pressure now, so it will be easier this weekend. I am looking forward to an enjoyable weekend where we can race for fun."


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