That pass from Häkkinen to Schumacher at Spa-Francorchamps

At the 2000 Belgian GP, ​​Mika Häkkinen beat Michael Schumacher to the top spot with a maneuver that for many is the best of the modern era of Formula 1.

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During the 2000 Belgian Grand Prix the German Michael Schumacher (Ferrari) and the Finn Mika Hakkinen (McLaren) had an epic duel that is still remembered as one of the most beautiful moments of the F1 modern

The Nordic was leading the way, but spun in the middle of the race and lost the lead at the hands of the Kaiser. However, he did not give up in his attempt to return to first place as he knew he had a better mechanical environment.

With a devilish pace, Häkkinen deducted six seconds in nine laps and got behind Schumi. He took advantage of Kemmel's long straight and tried to overtake his rival, who wisely left him without space and threw him against the grass so that he could win the position in the entrance to Les Combes.

The Finn had already gotten there and it was clear that he would try again to return to the top of the competition in the same place because his car had greater speed. But this time the McLaren driver had an ally: the Brazilian Ricardo Zonta (BAR), which was late.

The three cars faced the final meters of the long straight one behind the other with Zonta in front. When they were about to reach Les Combe, Schumacher threw himself to the left, as if to leave it as a stopper for Häkkinen. Nevertheless, the then current champion continued along his line and with a slight correction behind the wheel he passed both vehicles on the inside and went straight to the victory.

FROM INSIDE THE ROOM

“Michael was always a very tough competitor because he never gave up. And I think what happened that day in Spa was a good example. I was leading the race very comfortably, but I made a mistake. The track was a bit wet and on a corner I lost control. Michael took advantage and surpassed me. I had to chase it down and I really had fun doing that. I knew I was faster than him, so getting over it was going to be easy; although it really wasn't easy at all ”, the author of this great maneuver recalled later.

“The place where I could pass him was at the end of the long straight, but when I tried to get past him he blocked my way. I tried many times, but it was always the same. There were only a few laps to go and I knew the chances of getting back to first place were disappearing. I knew that to overcome it I had to go to the depths of Eau Rouge, something that could be done in qualifying, but not in the race because the car was heavier and with all the elements more worn ... I did it and, really, I had the feeling that the car was going to explode. When I left that sector I knew that I could overcome it this time ”, the Finn explained.

“However, when I saw that Zonta was in front of us, I asked myself: 'Now what do I do?' In the previous laps Michael had locked me inside the track and I thought that with Ricardo there I could not do it. At the same time I figured that if Zonta didn't see us in the mirror and pulled in to turn, it would be the end of me ... I decided to do the maneuver anyway and it worked. It really was an incredible feeling and the end of a great battle ”, summarized.

Schumi and Häkkinen talk about the maneuver.

After the race Häkkinen and Schumacher talked about what happened in that intense battle. “It was only natural that I went to talk to him. I reproached him that at one point, when I was defending the position, he had taken me off the track. 'You can't throw someone on the grass at 300 km / h. This is a life and death situation, you have to use some common sense, 'I told him. Michael bowed his head, looked at me, and said, 'What did I do wrong?' It wasn't a 'sorry, I was too aggressive'… If that had happened in a slower sector where you can do things that are borderline fair, I could somehow accept it because I was also using tricks on the track. But at 300 km / h if you get lost on the grass it is possible that you will fly away ”.

In this age of artificial overshoots thanks to the DRS it seems difficult for a pilot to show his courage as that happened August 27st, 2000 with Mika Häkkinen. That is why this memory serves to know that there was once a Formula 1 in which value was the difference between winning and losing.

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