There is a moment in the new Michael Schumacher documentary when David Coulthard relives the infamous collision at the 1998 Belgian Grand Prix. As you will remember, the lapped Scot slowed on the racing line as the Ferrari of Schumacher approached. In the pouring rain there was no chance for Schumacher to see him and he ran into the back of Coulthard’s McLaren costing him the race.
Damon Hill went on to win for Jordan and Schumacher was seen storming over to the McLaren pits in what can politely be described as a state of high dudgeon. But the documentary, which was released on Netflix in September, stays with Couthard as he goes to relate what happened next: “We met the week later in Monza. We sat in Bernie’s bus and I said: ‘Look Michael, surely you have to accept some responsibility because you’re the one who ran into me. I didn’t reverse into you.’ He said: ‘No, I don’t see it that way.’ And I said: ‘Well, surely you are wrong sometimes?’ And he went: ‘Not that I remember!’”
The face of the man who is now president of the BRDC still registers genuine surprise and bemusement as he tells this tale even after all these years and it indicates a fundamental truth about his adversary. As this fascinating documentary shows, there was a singularity about the way Schumacher raced that has perhaps still not been entirely matched.