Michael Schumacher has admitted that is naturally hoping that fellow countryman Sebastian Vettel can win this year's Formula One world championship title, after admitting that his own sights are set on success next season.
The two Teutons were paired in the opening press conference of the German Grand Prix weekend, along with Vettel's Red Bull team-mate and title rival Mark Webber, and Schumacher was asked which of his colleagues he foresaw taking the 2010 crown. Although he tried to hedge his bets - and not confine his views simply to the Red Bull team - the seven-time champion conceded that his heart would always rule his head.
"First of all, it's obviously clear that both of the guys to the left and right of me have a very good package and a very good possibility to fight and win the championship, but you probably don't have to forget the McLaren drivers, that they're still in the picture," Schumacher insisted, "I don't think it's finished yet, but naturally you sort of get the feelings of your national heart coming up and, therefore, you sort of have a German tendency. I'm sorry Mark, but I guess that's normal."
Asked what advice he could give those hoping to follow in his footsteps - neither RBR driver has won an F1 title before, of course - Schumacher admitted that there was no single key to unlocking the door.
"I don't think I can give the answer you're looking for in mentioning one particular part, because it's like a detailed or small piece or puzzle of the big picture," he stressed, "You have to have all those little bits together to finally do it.
Vettel, meanwhile, was asked what he had gleaned from watching Schumacher as a youngster, and what he could carry forward into a title challenge.
"I think from great champions there are always a lot of things you can learn - and, also, if you look outside the table of F1, if you look at others sports, [such as] tennis, golf, there are great players, great individuals," he said, "They're probably all talented, but then there are one or two popping out, like Roger Federer and Nadal in tennis.
"What did I learn from Michael? I think you just need to listen to what he says. Obviously, there are a lot of expectations from the outside, but it's part of being a great champion, being wise enough to know what you have to focus on. As he said, there are always two worlds: one is the entertainment and one is the sporting side. I think we clearly understood that he is focusing more on the sporting side and trying to come back and win races again. I could give you many examples, but I think that was the lesson of the last ten minutes, I guess."