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  Sunday, 21 July, 2002, 16:04 GMT 17:04 UK
Fangio incomparable, says champion
Michael Schumacher on the rostrum after winning his fifth world title
Schumacher was overwhelmed with emotion
Michael Schumacher has played down comparisons with Formula One legend Juan Manuel Fangio, after equalling the late Argentine's haul of five world Formula One championships.

Ferrari driver Schumacher clinched his fifth world title after snatching a late victory in the French Grand Prix at Magny Cours, although the victory is still provisional.

But Schumacher said he believed his achievements could not be compared with those of Fangio in the 1950s.


When I was feeling it was going to be the championship, it was the worst five laps of my career
Michael Schumacher

"What Fangio did in his time is not comparable to what we do," Schumacher said.

"The effort he put in at the time was probably quite a lot more being a driver than these days, with the people around you when you have a whole team.

"It is not appropriate to compare these things from my point of view," said Schumacher.

Fangio won titles with Alfa Romeo in 1951, Mercedes in 1954 and '55, Ferrari in 1956 and Maserati in 1957.

He won 24 of the 51 Grands Prix in which he competed, while Schumacher has won 61 of his 173 races.

Schumacher said he had not expected to seal the world title in France - and that the see-saw events of the race had played hard with his emotions.

Juan Manuel Fangio with the trophy for winning the 1956 British Grand Prix
Fangio with one of his many trophies
"I was very relaxed all week because I somehow felt that it was not going to happen here.

"Then I saw Rubens [Barrichello] go out, and saw how much speed we had compared to [Juan Pablo] Montoya and I started to believe in it.

"Suddenly when I was leading, feeling that was going to be the championship, it was the worst five laps I had in my career.

"That was because the weight was on my shoulders and the pressure was not to do a mistake, not do anything wrong," Schumacher said.

The 33-year-old German also paid generous tribute to his Ferrari team, who have provided him with the best car in F1 for the last three years.

"I am just so glad we have achieved this together with a tremendous team. You just can love and admire them for the effort they put in," he said.

"Thank you is very small words for all you have done for me."

The win is also the earliest championship victory in history, beating by one race Nigel Mansell in 1992, when the Englishman claimed the title with five races to go.

Montoya, who has been Schumacher's biggest rival this year, said: "I think it's great for him. He did the best job in the paddock, has the best car and knows how to use it."

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