Calling Mika Häkkinen and Michael Schumacher F1 rivals is like saying the Assyrians once had a bit of a tiff with the Syrians. This cute Merc ad dials up the boys' history for comic effect. But what a freaking understatement.

Sure, it's fun and games now—in the snow, with a classic SL and an E-Class wagon. But the battles in which Schumie and The Flying Finn engaged on the track comprised some of the best sparring in F1 history. Outside of Ayrton Senna, it's said the only racer Schumacher ever feared was Häkkinen.

August 2000 at Spa-Francorchamps. Schumacher could all but taste the world title he wanted for Ferrari. He had the lead, having made mincemeat out of the pack amid an early rainstorm. But as the track dried out, the Finn advanced quickly until both began bearing down on the lapped Ricardo Zonta.

What came next as the three approached the Les Combes corner was a breathtaking display of skill culminating in a knife-blade overtaking move. Schumacher cuts left to pass Zonta, as Häkkinen splits Zonta on the right. Häkkinen feints left, then gets on the brakes about as late as physics would allow, and he takes the lead, never to give it up. Watch:

Pretty cute indeed.

[via Inside Lane]