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SEPTEMBER 21, 2000

Schumacher reveals surprise at reaction to his tears at Monza

Michael Schumacher has said he was surprised at the reaction in the media to his tearful press conference after winning the Italian Grand Prix.

Schumacher broke down in tears after equalling the 41-race wins of Brazilian legend Ayrton Senna in the race at Monza that was marred by the death of a fire marshal after a multi-car collision at the la Roggia chicane.

"What surprised me was that people said I was human after all," said Schumacher. "For me, it was a surprise because I thought I was a human being before it happened. That surprised me the most.

"It was very strange for me because on the one hand I was so happy and to have equalled the record of Ayrton Senna was something special, but on the other hand I had other thoughts.

"I was thinking of Ayrton, a driver I really admired, and I had those memories of Imola in 1994 and it was all too much for me."

Schumacher also played down any talk of a rift with championship rival Mika Hakkinen. He insisted that he has the utmost respect for the McLaren driver.

He added: "We have a pretty good relationship. We are rivals for the championship, but we have a natural relationship and we have a lot of respect for each other."