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Motor racing: Schuey's driven by lucky seven.

Byline: BYRON YOUNG in Spa

MICHAEL SCHUMACHER was dreaming of seventh heaven here yesterday even though his own team-mate threatened to spoil the party.

His seventh win here in Belgium on Sunday will automatically mean his seventh world title in Ferrari's 700th Grand Prix.

Schumacher's life and his achievements have been intertwined with this windy, capricious nook of Belgium in the middle of nowhere, snaking through the forested Ardennes, where it rains on one corner but is beach hot on the next.

It is his favourite track, the one nearest his childhood home, the one where he made his debut 13 years ago and where he scored his first victory 12 months later.

It was the scene of one of his most controversial episodes when he ran down the pit-lane and attempted to punch David Coulthard after the duo collided.

Even when the rain gods doused the track in 1994 it only became a stage for an even greater, if temporary, glory. Having qualified 16th he thundered through the field to finish first. It took mortal intervention to deny him when he was disqualified for running an illegal barge-board on his Benetton.

Even at the time the punishment was regarded sceptically as a way of reining in a stellar talent threatening to runaway with the championship and kill interest in the series.

A decade later, little has changed, except the numbers. Almost every record now has his name alongside it.

And yesterday he gave no sign his hunger for victory is waning.

"I never imagined my career would be as successful," said Schumacher. "But I would rather look forward at what I might achieve than back at what I have.

"I want to win this weekend for its own sake not necessarily because it is for the championship, though it is no secret what would happen if I do.

"When the numbers come together like this it is wonderful. I have been lucky and hopefully I will be lucky again here."

He will lift the title with victory or any result two points better than team-mate Rubens Barrichello.


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Copyright 2004 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:Aug 27, 2004
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