PETALING JAYA - Malaysian motor-racing personalities were in shock after hearing that German Formula One legend Michael Schumacher was in a coma and in critical condtion, especially since he had been reported to have had only a minor skiing accident while skiing a day earlier.
Malaysia's Formula One hope Jazeman Jaafar said he had thought nothing of Schumacher's skiing accident but was shocked to hear his idol had gone into a coma and needed brain surgery.
The 21-year-old Jazeman, who is based in London, said he had gone for several gym sessions with the seven-time world Formula One champion and also spent a few weekends with him during the European F1 races.
"I tried calling Schumacher's personal assistant Sabine Kehm to hear exactly what happpened to him but I could not get through. I guess everyone was also trying to get to her," said Jazeman.
"He is a strong character and my prayers are for him to make it through. He was a great mentor to me when he was driving for the Petronas Mercedes F1 team." Jazeman is now with the Mercedes AMG Formula 1 team.
Malaysia's first Formula One driver Alex Yoong hailed Schumacher as a living legend and hoped he would recover quickly.
Alex who raced with Schumacher in the 2001 and 2002 seasons, said the German had welcomed him to the racing fraternity in his first race at the Italian Grand Prix in 2001.
"The whole world will be waiting to hear of Schumacher's condition ... he's one of the greatest drivers and relentless when he's on the track," said Alex who raced for the Minardi team.
"On one of my first races he approached me and welcomed me to F1... I felt it was a great gesture for a driver of his stature. He's been a fighter throughout his career and I hope he makes it through," said Alex.
Sepang International Circuit CEO, Razlan Razali hoped Schumacher would pull through.
Razlan has met the German many times in Malaysia and was shocked to hear of his condition. "The first time I met him, he was the reigning world champion and it was certainly very hard to approach him.
"However, after he retired, I had the privilege to talk to him and the first thing I said to him was: 'I'm not your fan'. I've always supported the Mclaren team. I had a very good chat with him and he is a very nice person to talk to," said Razlan.
"My prayers go out to Schumacher and his family," he said.