Schumacher's praise for Hill

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The Independent Online
Motor racing

Michael Schumacher, the Formula One world champion, made it clear yesterday that he wants to bury the hatchet with Damon Hill, as he praised his English rival.

Schumacher also did a U-turn on his previous criticism of Hill over the shunt which put both men out of last Sunday's British Grand Prix. Looking forward to the German Grand Prix before his home crowd on Sunday week, Schumacher said: "I hope the German public will behave towards Damon Hill as the crowds did at Silverstone towards me.

"The English were particularly welcoming towards me. Hill is a good man and I think that his manoeuvre in England wasn't intended to put me out of the race, but simply to try and win it."

The comments contrasted with the German's opinion immediately after the incident, in which Hill tried to force his way past on the inside of a tight bend, but finished up sending both cars into the sand trap.

However, Schumacher was still unhappy about the Silverstone race stewards who handed out severe reprimands to both men. "I don't understand this decision insofar as it means that I am partly responsible," he said. "But I accept it. And the past is not important, you have to look to the future."

Hill and Schumacher have clashed twice in the last few weeks, with the German critcising Hill for "unsportsmanlike and dangerous driving" after an incident in the early stages of the French Grand Prix.