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'Schumacher only ever there to win' - Hakkinen
"You have the big house, the family, the kids; but sometimes it's not just enough," he said in an interview in the Daily Telegraph. "It's such a personal decision. He still has the fire, clearly. Knowing him as I do, he would not come back if he did not think he could beat these younger guys. He is only ever there to win.
"But there are many difficult aspects for him to overcome: he has to master several new tracks this season, he cannot just say 'I am going to win'. Winning is possible even if, against the Ferrari and McLaren guys, it will be extremely difficult.
"Do not look past the preparations by Ross Brawn and Mercedes, however. I know all about Mercedes. I know how prepared they are, how passionate they are. If any team can help Michael to do this, they can."
Hakkinen said fitness was a major concern for the 41-year-old Schumacher, but added he had no doubts he would not have gambled on a comeback were he not sure his body was up to it. "He's as fit as he has ever been," he told the paper. "He's the fittest guy the sport has known and he knows exactly what condition he has to be in."
Hakkinen admitted he thought about a return of his own - "when this life has been in your blood from the age of five you cannot help it" - but was not prepared to make the "huge commitment" needed. However, he did rule it out completely, only insisting he "did not consider it this time".