Schumacher slips and dents his ego

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The Independent Online
As accidents go, it was all too common - the car-driver was fiddling with the radio, didn't see the traffic slowing down, and promptly ran into the back of a lorry. The only difference was that the errant driver was Michael Schumacher, the Formula One world champion.

Schumacher, who appears in German television advertisements for advanced motoring courses, tried to take evasive action, swerving towards the hard shoulder, but he hit the corner of the lorry, crumpling the left wing of his Renault.

"I wasn't paying attention and was playing around with the radio. I didn't see the tailback building up," Schumacher said of the accident on the autobahn near his home in Kerpen, Germany. "It wasn't so bad, it was only a minor accident."

The lorry driver was somewhat taken aback to discover who had hit him, and almost certainly more surprised than Schumacher was when Damon Hill drove his Williams into the back of the German's Benetton and put them both out of the Italian Grand Prix this month.

It was not the first such contretemps on racing circuits between the two rivals for the world title. The finger of blame has been pointed at Schumacher in the past, but Schumacher has not been happy to accept the blame.

Schumacher's latest crash had a happier ending. He and the lorry driver "had a nice talk" and "I gave him an autograph", said the German.

Even Hill could probably bring himself to understand his rival's embarrassment, but he might have a little difficulty believing Schumacher's verdict on yesterday's shunt. "The accident was clearly my fault."

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