Senna landmark leaves Schumacher in tears

The spectre of death shrouded the entire day at Monza yesterday. The uninhibited joy Michael Schumacher radiated from the top of the rostrum after his victory turned to tears when he realised that he had equalled the 41 Formula One victories achieved by the late Ayrton Senna.

The spectre of death shrouded the entire day at Monza yesterday. The uninhibited joy Michael Schumacher radiated from the top of the rostrum after his victory turned to tears when he realised that he had equalled the 41 Formula One victories achieved by the late Ayrton Senna.

Schumacher, by his own admission, has not been embraced here in the homeland of his team, Ferrari, with the kind of affection the tifosi lavish on their greatest heroes.

He recently said in an interview with The Independent: "I'm probably too German for a lot of the tifosi. Too serious, not enough ups and downs, not enough emotions. People love that, particularly in Italy."

Yesterday the Italians saw a different Schumacher as the cold, distant and arrogant image melted. As a result, regardless of the outcome of the remaining three races this season, Schumacher has forged a bond that he never dared imagine with those fans. Thousands of them streamed on to the track at the end.

The warmth generated by his first victory for three months might have been enough to reveal this Schumacher. The reminder that he was now joint second with Senna, behind Alain Prost, in the list of all-time winners, proved more than he could bear. "I'm just happy and exhausted," he said. "Yes, it does mean a lot..."

He was unable to finish the sentence. He lowered his head and cried. Hakkinen, a resigned second here, and Schumacher's younger brother, Ralf, third for Williams, consoled him. Twelve months ago Hakkinen himself had been reduced to tears here after spinning out of the race. This time Schumacher's anguish was witnessed by millions of viewers.

He later composed himself to continue: "It is obvious why this win means so much, here in Italy. We have been in some difficulties in the last few races and now we are back on the road. It is my 41st victory and the crowd outside has just been amazing, much more so than when I won here in 1998. I don't know why.

"There is certainly a sense of relief to be back near the top of the championship and on the road to victories. I have no dedication to make to anyone but the 500 people working on this project who played their part in this victory."

He was unwilling, even now, to be led into dedicating his success to Senna. That would have been too obvious, too cheap. And yet the memory of the Brazilian would not go away. Schumacher was asked again. "At certain moments you must accept some questions will not be answered," he said. "This is one of them."

Schumacher had broken down and wept six years earlier, when he learned of Senna's death at the San Marino Grand Prix on Italy's other Formula One circuit, Imola. That was in the privacy of the Benetton motor home and on that day, also, Schumacher won the race.

The German has given himself a chance of equalling Senna's haul of three world championships, although Hakkinen retains the advantage and says he is confident that he can complete a hat-trick of titles.

The Finn has never won here but maintained that he was not jinxed. "I don't believe in black magic," he said. "Maybe one day I'll do it at Monza."

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Raif Badawi: Wife pleads for fresh EU help as Saudi blogger's health worsens

Please save my husband

As the health of blogger Raif Badawi worsens in prison, his wife urges EU governments to put pressure on the Saudi Arabian royal family to allow her husband to join his family in Canada
Birthplace of Arab Spring in turmoil as angry Tunisians stage massive sit-in over lack of development

They shall not be moved: jobless protesters bring Tunisia to a halt

A former North African boom town is wasting away while its unemployed citizens stick steadfastly to their sit-in
David Hasselhoff's new show 'Hoff the Record': What's it like working with a superstar?

Hanging with the Hoff

Working with David Hasselhoff on his new TV series was an education for Ella Smith
Can Dubai's Design District 'hipster village' attract the right type of goatee-wearing individualist?

Hipsters of Arabia

Can Dubai’s ‘creative village’ attract the right type of goatee-wearing individualist?
The cult of Roger Federer: What is it that inspires such obsessive devotion?

The cult of Roger Federer

What is it that inspires such obsessive devotion?
Kuala Lumpur's street food: Not a 'scene', more a way of life

Malaysian munchies

With new flights, the amazing street food of Kuala Lumpur just got more accessible
10 best festival beauty

Mud guards: 10 best festival beauty

Whether you're off to the Isle of Wight, Glastonbury or a local music event, we've found the products to help you
Unai Emery’s passion for winning and eye for a bargain keep Seville centre stage in Europe

A Different League

Unai Emery’s passion for winning and eye for a bargain keep Seville centre stage in Europe, says Pete Jenson
Amir Khan and James DeGale’s remarkable Olympic performances were just the start of an extraordinary journey - Steve Bunce

Steve Bunce on Boxing

Amir Khan and James DeGale’s remarkable Olympic performances were just the start of an extraordinary journey
Abuse - and the hell that came afterwards

Abuse - and the hell that follows

James Rhodes on the extraordinary legal battle to publish his memoir
Why we need a 'tranquility map' of England, according to campaigners

It's oh so quiet!

The case for a 'tranquility map' of England
'Timeless fashion': It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it

'Timeless fashion'

It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it
If the West needs a bridge to the 'moderates' inside Isis, maybe we could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive after all

Could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive?

Robert Fisk on the Fountainheads of World Evil in 2011 - and 2015
New exhibition celebrates the evolution of swimwear

Evolution of swimwear

From bathing dresses in the twenties to modern bikinis
Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

Sun, sex and an anthropological study

One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf