Hakkinen reveals what Schumacher said to him after famous Spa 2000 pass

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Mika Hakkinen has shed new light on his famous overtaking move which won him the 2000 Belgian Grand Prix.

Hakkinen passed his championship rival Michael Schumacher to win the race after the Ferrari driver had edged him towards the grass at one of the fastest places on the circuit a few laps earlier.

“It was natural that I went to talk to him after the race,” said Hakkinen in an interview with Unibet.

“I said: ‘You can’t push someone to the grass at 300kph. This is a life and death situation, use some common sense.'”

“He tilted his head and looked at me. ‘What did I do wrong?'”

“He didn’t say ‘sorry, I was too aggressive’. It was simply his driving style.”

Hakkinen said he “couldn’t accept” Schumacher’s driving tactics. “If it was a slow corner and you defend and do things that are on the limits of what is fair I could somehow accept it because I too use gimmicks on the track.”

“But 300kph is so fast, if in those speeds an F1 car goes on the grass and the ground clearance is about 15mm at the front it’s so low that the smallest of bump will send the car flying. That was my point: ‘come on, think’.”

Hakkinen was hailed for his subsequent pass on Schumacher, achieved as the pair were lapping Ricardo Zonta. But Schumacher “didn’t praise” his rival, according to Hakkinen.

“But he did know that it was a tough battle. We both finished the race and nothing happened. I’m sure that if it had been someone else against Michael front wings would have flown.”

Schumacher was seriously injured in a skiing accident at the end of 2013. Hakkinen said there were many aspects of his former rival’s approach to F1 which he respected.

“Michael handles the car extremely well,” said Hakkinen. “He gives his everything to the technical aspects and team work. There were many elements that I hugely respected.”

“He was adamant. He never gave up, no matter what. He knew that the game is over with the chequered flag, not before it. I really respected that. He always drove on the limit. Always flat out, brake discs burning bright red.”

“When it comes to the fights on the track Michael sometimes used extreme defensive moves on the track. During the last laps he did extreme defensive moves. But halfway through the race he did leave a small gap between tyres. With a few laps to go, a little contact didn’t matter to him.”

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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30 comments on “Hakkinen reveals what Schumacher said to him after famous Spa 2000 pass”

  1. I remember the dirty block schumacher did to hakinnen at macau, that was f3 and lower speed. Verstappen is schumachers reincarnation of potentionally life ending blocks at 300kmph, both drivers block far too late at that speed.

  2. That’s such a great photo! Thanks, for the post.

  3. so finally some context to the infamous “discussion” after that race!

    1. I can’t find the quote but I thought Mika said they had a sigar afterwards and talked about it in schumi’s motor home- but this is probably about the talk they had when the photo was taken

  4. I always thought Hakkinen was arrogant but this proves otherwise,

    Thanks for the article , a good read !

    1. Häkkinen is not arrogant… Watch this link..

  5. I remember seeing that live on telly – what a pass! If you haven’t read it already, I highly recommend Mika’s article about it here:


    Then, after you’ve read that, watch this on-board; pay attention to the throttle as Mika goes through Eau Rouge each time.


    1. Strange how the feeling of speed on the onboard is greater than it is with modern onboards, despite the cars being slower…

      1. Its all about camera angle and vibration!

  6. Those quotes from Mika of what MS said sure are consistent with how he conducted himself on the track.

  7. MS always said that Mika was the best driver he competed against. Two legends. Shame Mika stopped so early. That move will remain in history of sport, not just of F1. Sisu

    1. I really thought Schumacher just picked Mika because he had a decent relationship with him. There is no way in hell that Mika was anywhere as good as Senna, Prost and Alonso.

      1. Mika beat Senna on his rookie year. He really is one of the top legends.

  8. The single most overrated overtaking manoever EVER. I hated how much props Hakkinen got… UNDESERVINGLY. And it still has me boiling.
    Schumacher’s tyres were completely worn out, and Hakkinen was doing 20kph more on that straight.
    Apart from it looking spectacular because of Zonta being in there, Hakkinen did nothing. He just blitzed through in a much faster car, even benefitting from Zonta’s slipstream. You could have as well praise him for lapping a Minardi.

    Correct me if I’m wrong here: Was Schumacher was still on wet tyres, while Hakkinen was on (grooved) slicks?

    1. Read the article I linked earlier. Maybe it’ll change your mind?

    2. @damon, no, both drivers were on the same dry weather tyres at the time – Schumacher had pitted a bit earlier than Hakkinen (on lap 22, as opposed to 27 for Hakkinen), but having pushed hard at the start of his stint in an effort to build a gap, had overheated his tyres (that was why he was driving on the wetter parts of the track to try and cool his tyres).

      1. Yup, I remember now. Thanks Anon.

        No, @baron, I will not chill! I will be bitter for ever!

    3. Chill out @damon, those were great days. I miss them both..

    4. I agree it is overrated. The role of Zonta was crucial, he should have moved to the right earlier to let them pass through the left. Schumacher could not defend the inside line like in the previous lap.

      1. You seem to forget that mika went on the dirty side of the track at 300kph, without knowing what michael would do, when he get past Zonta, and that’s not a small feature by any means…

        1. Also he had a damaged wing from the previous laps contact. Not an imperceptible one but it was damaged none the less. But he still took Eau Rouge/Radillon flat because that was the only way he could get close enough

  9. Hakkinen is not overrated 1 bit. Only guy to take it on prime Schumacher and win two from him.

    MSC always confirmed Mika as his hardest rival. A late 90 legend.

    1. That is absolutely true. You might also add that Hakkinrn outqualified Senna in his first race for McLaren. Ron Dennis still claims Hakkinen is the fastest driver he ever had.

  10. Since I got into the habit of watching every single race (1997), those two were by far my favourite rivalry, and that particular battle is one that I’ll never forget. Awesome stuff, despite Schumacher’s blocking being a teeny bit illegal by modern standards.

  11. 1994 adelaide – tiny bit illegal…

    1. Whereas, according to Symmonds, Hill intentionally driving slow parade laps with the intention of trying to make Schumacher’s engine overheat and blow up is an acceptable tactic (his especially slow parade laps at the British GP potentially being the reason why there were a high number of engine failures for other drivers in the opening few laps)?

      1. so i guess he had a fan in his car so he only overheated other drivers engines and not his?

  12. The German drivers do tend towards dirty driving, frankly.

    1. Mate, that’s a dreadful thing to say. Schumacher and Vettel maybe, but they can be defined by their mental attitude, not nationality. If you want dirty driving, look no further than our collective hero Senna.

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