Schumacher Wants Japan Wrap-Up; Praises Hakkinen

Ferrari's Michael Schumacher wants to clinch the first Ferrari World Championship since 1979 in the penultimate round of the season, at the Japanese Grand Prix.

Schumacher Wants Japan Wrap-Up; Praises Hakkinen

Ferrari's Michael Schumacher wants to clinch the first Ferrari World Championship since 1979 in the penultimate round of the season, at the Japanese Grand Prix.

The German driver, eight points ahead of rival Mika Hakkinen of McLaren, needs to expand his lead by just two points to wrap up the championship at Japan and could clinch the title by finishing second in the next two races. However, Schumacher says he is aiming to win at Suzuka next week.

"I will be going to Suzuka to win and try and tie up the title before the final race. We have seen in the past what can happen in the final races of the year," Schumacher said, adding that "Suzuka will be like any other race. We cannot afford to relax and start thinking the Championship is won until it is a reality."

Suzuka is traditionally considered a good track for both Schumacher and Hakkinen. Both are equal in the number of wins there (two) and number of podium finishes (five). Schumacher, however, has had five poles in Suzuka, as opposed to nil for the Finn. However, in the past couple of years it was Hakkinen that left Suzuka the race winner and a World Champion.

Schumacher remains optimistic. "I really enjoy racing at Suzuka," he said of the upcoming track. "Apart from the chicane, the track has a good flow to it, especially the tricky S-curves after the first corner, while the ultra-fast 130R corner on the way to the return side of the circuit is up with La Source and Blanchimont in Spa for excitement. If you get a good rhythm and a quick lap time, it's one of the most satisfying circuits we race at for a driver."

Schumacher also spoke of the ongoing war of words he has been engaged in with McLaren's David Coulthard, amongst others, while at the same time he maintains a respectable and amicable relationship with Hakkinen himself.

Speaking to Atlas F1, Schumacher explained: "I have a principle in life: what you shout into a forest will echo back at you. And that's the point - Mika has been very professional in all his attitude towards me, and I respect him for that.

"There are people who look for trouble, and there are people who don't look for trouble, they look for fighting on track. I think that's why Mika and I have a good relationship - because we both know that this is what we're being paid for - to drive, and not to argue certain things in the media."

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