Damon Hill: F1 owes Michael Schumacher an enormous debt
One of things that make Formula One exciting is the intense rivalry between drivers.
Michael Schumacher vs Damon Hill was one of those. It was 1994, the sport was coming to terms with the death of Ayrton Senna. Just a point separated Benetton's Schumacher and Williams' Hill for the driver's championship ahead of the final race in Australia.
Unfortunately, a collision between the two took them out of the race. Schumacher went on to win his first title but the incident laid the foundation for one of the most intense rivalries of the 90s.
Schumacher, the seventime world champion, is now battling for life after a skiing accident in France, and Hill, the 1996 world champion, had nothing but words of awe and respect for the German.
The Briton, speaking at a Mumbai Marathon event, acknowledged the rivalry he shared with Schumacher.
"In F1, you are going to meet the best of the best and Michael became that, the world champion of them all. So you can't hope for anything better than a chance to compete with the very best. Michael gave everyone in F1 that opportunity. His talent and results cannot be put in doubt. We all owe Michael an enormous debt," said Hill, who is the race ambassador.
"It first came through that he had an accident and it wasn't clear exactly how serious it was. It then became apparent that it was more serious than what we had been led to believe. A cloud hangs over Formula One because Michael has been such a large part of the sport. We are shocked," said Hill.
The duo has not shared much time away from the grid, to shake hands and call off the rivalry. "I haven't seen Michael off the track. My first year as commentator was Michael's last year as a driver. We met once in the paddock and smiled. There has always been a distance, people don't live in each other's pockets all the time," said Hill.