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Views from the cockpit - Formula One drivers may be heroes, but who are their heroes? 30 Aug 2004

Michael Schumacher (GER) Ferrari waves after qualifying.
Formula One World Championship, Rd14, Belgian Grand Prix, Qualifying Day, Spa-Francorchamps, Belgium, 28 August 2004 Fernando Alonso (ESP) Renault.
Formula One World Championship, Rd14, Belgian Grand Prix, Practice Day, Spa-Francorchamps, Belgium, 27 August 2004 Juan Pablo Montoya (COL) Williams in the garage.
Formula One World Championship, Rd14, Belgian Grand Prix, Practice Day, Spa-Francorchamps, Belgium, 27 August 2004 Mark Webber (AUS) Jaguar R5.
Formula One World Championship, Rd14, Hungarian Grand Prix, Practice Day, Hungaroring, Budapest, Hungary, 13 August 2004

Being a hero yourself does mean you cannot appreciate the extraordinary achievements of others. We found out whom the likes of Schumacher, Alonso and Montoya look up to.

Michael Schumacher: “I guess it is no secret that I am quite a soccer fan. When a boy in school my hero was Toni Schumacher, one of the best goal keepers Germany ever had. At every game he would try to give more than 100% without ever showing mental or physical fatigue. I was so full of admiration that at times I pretended he was my uncle.”

Kimi Raikkonen: “None. Never had and never will have.”

Olivier Panis: “Superman, someone who has the power to help people in distress. Particularly young kids.”

Jenson Button: “Lance Armstrong. For overcoming his fate almost by pure will and becoming one of the greatest sportsmen this world has ever seen.”

Ricardo Zonta: “In Formula One clearly Michael Schumacher for his will to win. Outside Formula One the many athletes fighting at the Olympic games because theirs is still a purer view on sporting competition.”

Fernando Alonso: “In Formula One I have no hero. When I was younger I admired Miguel Indurein for his sportsmanship. My real hero is my father. Because he took so many sacrifices to support his family.”

David Coulthard: “The athletes at the Olympic games. They still fight body to body while we have the car and all its gadgets to play with. Outside sports I admire Bono for his career and his commitment to help create a better world. If I could I would bring the likes of Bono, Nelson Mandela, Bill Clinton and Margaret Thatcher together for a dinner and see what’s happening.”

Juan Pablo Montoya: “I never had a hero. And I am my own role model. If you want to be successful you have to concentrate on yourself and not try to follow somebody’s footprints.”

Jarno Trulli: “Ayrton Senna and Alain Prost and their fight against each other. I can say that I am almost a Senna worshipper. Outside Formula One I admire all organisations that try to relieve pain in this world. And I support the commitment of my mother who built a hospital in Africa.”

Mark Webber: “The men and women at the Olympics. Their spirit is inspiring so many people. The participants of the Paralympics for fighting the odds. And sports itself because it is one of the greatest ambassadors of peace and coexistence of races, religions and economic systems.”

Nick Heidfeld: “Michael Jordan. Though I never had a poster of him on my wall I strongly admired him for his spirit of never giving up a game. Even when it looked hopeless he had that personal strength to turn the odds around and turn an almost inevitable loss into a win.”

Giancarlo Fisichella: “Ayrton Senna. He gave Formula One that magic touch that we still live on now.”