Saturday April 1st, 2000
Michael Schumacher, who drove his Ferrari to victory in the first two races of the season, says his high-speed crash at Silverstone last year has made him stronger.
"It opened my eyes about several things," Schumacher told German newspaper Welt am Sonntag in an interview released ahead of publication on Sunday. "I feel more free in my head."
The double world champion said he had "changed priorities" since the crash in which he broke his leg at the British Grand Prix last July, effectively ruining his title hopes.
Schumacher said he no longer felt the need to test every little detail in the car himself. Being out of action also gave him time to work on his fitness.
The German recalled what went through his head immediately after he crashed.
"Suddenly everything around me was still," he said. "I heard my heartbeat less and less, and for a moment it stopped.
"Then my heart started beating loud and regularly again. As I was lying on the ground, I was thinking all the time: this is it, what some people talk about, when they say they've been on the other side and back."
Looking forward to Ferrari's home race on April 9 at Imola, Schumacher said rivals McLaren had every reason to be worried.
"The fact that McLaren were so irritable (after Ferrari's two opening victories) showed me that they are really concerned," he said.