Schumacher graceful in defeat

Michael Schumacher praised rival Mika Hakkinen after losing the Belgian Grand Prix to the Finn in a straight fight. Hakkinen passed Schumacher with a handful of laps remaining with a daring move facilitated by the presence of a backmarker

Schumacher graceful in defeat

"He did an outstanding manoeuvre to get down the inside," said Schumacher, "but beside Zonta I did not think there would be enough room for Mika on the other side." However, the German, who lost his points lead at the last race in Hungary, admitted that he would not have been able to keep the McLaren behind.

"If he hadn't caught me there he would have caught me a few laps later," admitted the Ferrari driver. "I tried my best but it was not enough."

Afterwards the Ferrari saluted his competitor but insisted the battle for the championship was not over even though McLaren now appear to have a clear car advantage.

"Mika was so much faster nothing could have helped me today," said Schumacher. "However the championship is not over. There is a six point difference and four races to go. If people think we have given up they are wrong."

Hakkinen has 74 points, Schumacher 68 and Coulthard, who was fourth has 61. "We will work even harder and keep trying and let's see where we are at the end of the season," claimed the second-placed man.

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