“Michael thought it was a conspiracy”: Coulthard delivers harsh verdict on why rivals disliked ‘cold’ and ‘brutal’ Schumacher

Whenever one thinks of the greatest drivers to have graced the sport, or perhaps the most successful, Michael Schumacher is one of the first names that comes to mind.

While he broke boundaries and set a number of records during his racing career, Schumacher was perhaps not best known for his composure.

Michael Schumacher. Credit: planetf1.com
Michael Schumacher. Credit: planetf1.com

Schumacher was known to be ruthless on the circuit and had a notorious single-minded approach towards winning at all costs.

Naturally, it led to him being involved in plenty of controversies, with one such incident taking place in 1997.

He was found to be guilty of trying to deliberately ruin Jacques Villeneuve’s run and force him off the track as it would deny him the world championship.

This later disqualified Schumacher from the running and it sparked a huge controversy at the time.

While the current sentiment is one of sympathy towards Schumacher owing to his long-standing battle to regain consciousness following a skiing accident, former racer David Coulthard gave an insight into why Schumacher wasn’t everyone’s favourite on the track.

Speaking on Being Michael Schumacher, a five-part docuseries being aired in Germany, Coulthard spoke about his former rival.

Although Schumacher got the better of Coulthard to win the 2001 world championship, Coulthard said that he was already privy to his rival’s antics from three years ago.

The pair had a collision in wet conditions at Spa-Francorchamps, which is normal for many drivers. However, his Schumacher’s behaviour when the duo met in the pits is what agitated Coulthard.

“My understanding of where the limit was maybe more in line with the rest of the drivers,” Coulthard said in conversation with The Times.

“He [Michael] could be very ruthless, he could be cold, he could be distant. I think that’s probably what, at that level, you need to have to be that successful.”

Michael Schumacher's 1998 Ferrari. Credit: autosport.com
Michael Schumacher’s 1998 Ferrari. Credit: autosport.com

That is not all, as the race in Belgium added further spice to the entire incident.

Schumacher was fighting it out against Coulthard’s teammate at McLaren, Mika Hakinnen, for the world championship.

Hakinnen eventually won this battle and denied Schumacher what would have been his first world championship with Ferrari.

“Michael thought this was part of a conspiracy to try and help my teammate Mika,” Coulthard said.

“It was simply an accident. It was just one of those things.”

Coulthard further explained how it would be unfair to just paint a glossy picture over Schumacher’s personality as a racer.

However, he also admitted that the talent and ability that Schumacher showcased was of the top level and contributed significantly to his successful run between 2000 and 2004.

“I have no problem acknowledging that the period I raced was against the man that has rewritten the history books,” he said.

“That is the most successful in the history of our sport.”

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