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Monday, August 31, 1998 Published at 09:34 GMT 10:34 UK


Schumacher - Coulthard tried to kill me

Michael Schumacher's three-wheeled Ferrari pulls into the pits after the collision

Ferrari's Michael Schumacher has accused David Coulthard of trying to kill him during Sunday's Belgian Grand Prix, after a collision that resulted in the German retiring from the race.

But the Scot defended his actions and labelled Schumacher "an animal".


David Coulthard gives his version of events
The Ferrari driver was seemingly gliding to a fourth successive victory on the rain-sodden surface when he rammed into the back of Coulthard's McLaren which was struggling after an earlier collision.

Schumacher needed to be restrained as he confronted Coulthard.

"Coulthard seemed to be running five or six seconds slower than his real race pace once I was behind him," said Schumacher.

"He has the experience to know you don't slow like that without giving warning so one could think he did it deliberately because of the championship."

Coulthard's team-mate Mika Hakkinen of Finland leads the driver's championship with 77 points - seven clear of Schumacher.


[ image: David Coulthard: Accusations are unacceptable]
David Coulthard: Accusations are unacceptable
But Coulthard replied: "He (Schumacher) came into the garage saying that I tried to kill him.

"I find his behaviour totally unacceptable. The allegations he made were untrue.

"For him to come into the garage acting like an animal and accuse me of trying to kill him is totally unacceptable.

"I moved well over to the right-hand side to give him the chance to overtake.

"Either he wasn't watching in front of him or there was poor visibility. I hadn't moved over or swerved. He just went straight into the back of me."

Coulthard was backed by the stewards, who ruled that the crash was an accident caused by the dreadful conditions.

The race was eventually won by Britain's Damon Hill of Jordan - his 22nd Grand Prix victory.

Hill had somehow managed to escape an earlier pile-up, which saw 12 cars smash out of the race.

The Briton took advantage of the chance of a restart to storm into the lead.

The 37-year-old held it for eight laps before being overtaken by Schumacher, but then regained it when his old rival retired.

Hill saw his advantage cut when the safety car re-appeared for a second time, but comfortably held on to win for the first time since he was crowned champion in Japan in October 1996.



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