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Schumacher will continue to conduct anthem

MICHAEL SCHUMACHER has vowed to continue his practice of conducting Fratelli D'Italia (the Italian national anthem) -- despite criticism from former Italian President Francesco Cossiga.

Following his Japanese Grand Prix victory at Suzuka, Schumacher, who had just given Ferrari their first drivers' championship in 21 years, conducted the anthem much to the disgust of Cossiga.

But the German refrained from conducting after he won the Malaysian Grand Prix at Sepang, even after he and Brazilian Rubens Barrichello had clinched Ferrari's second consecutive constructors championship.

"It's a shame because when I'm listening to the German hymn there's no one who can sing it with me," said Schumacher. "But when the Italian hymn is coming all my Italian mechanics, in particular Pino, are singing.

"I heard the rumors that not everyone was happy about it so I stopped but then my mechanics complained that I didn't do it so I would rather please them than a few people who complain.

"Whoever thinks it is not respecting the Italian hymn fully is completely wrong because I do."

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