Berlin: Double Formula One world champion Mika Hakkinen sent his longtime rival on the racetrack Michael Schumacher wishes for a full recovery from a serious ski accident, a German newspaper reported Sunday.
The Finnish driver, like Schumacher 45 years old, wrote to the seven-time world champion at his French hospital urging him to use his competitive streak as a source of strength.
"Your accident is now just another challenge. You have to fight hard again, just like we both used to do on the track," Hakkinen wrote in a letter published in German by Bild am Sonntag.
Referring to his own serious head injury from a Formula One crash in Adelaide in 1995, Hakkinen said he survived "with the help of my family and the professional support of the doctors. I am sure you are getting the same kind of help."
He closed the letter urging Schumacher to have patience with the pace of his recovery.
"Do me a favour: just this once don`t try to beat the clock. You don`t have to post your best time in this race. You have to take all the time you need," he said, signing off "Take it easy, Mika".
Schumacher remains in a "critical but stable" condition in a Grenoble hospital, according to his spokeswoman following the December 29 skiing accident in which the German racing legend slammed his head against a rock.
His duels in his heyday with drivers such as Hakkinen, Damon Hill and Jacques Villeneuve, fired by an unquenchable competitive spirit, have gone down in Formula One lore.