As Michael Schumacher continues to remain in hospital after his terrible skiing accident, I thought it would be a good idea to take a look at some of his best drives of his racing career, which spanned over twenty years and over 300 races.
On Friday, Schumacher turned 45 in a coma in a hospital bed. Lois (@LoisMarketing) and Sarah (@F1_Fans_Updates) on twitter combined to campaign for fans to wear #RedForSchumi, and the 170 responses can be seen here:
Ten of the Best Michael Schumacher Races
10 – 1991 Belgian Grand Prix – Started – 7th – Race – Did not Finish
Where it all began, and it began when a Belgian by the name of Bertrand Gachot, driver for the Jordan Ford team, was imprisoned in the United Kingdom for an altercation with a taxi driver. Mercedes-contracted driver Schumacher was given the drive at the eleventh hour, and immediately impressed. He managed to out-qualify his team-mate Andrea de Cesaris by seven tenths of a second, and lined-up seventh on the grid. His clutch burnt out at the start, but he had made an impression that would see him jump to the Benetton team for the following round in Monza, Italy.
9 – 2006 Brazilian Grand Prix – Started – 10th – Race – 4th
An early pit stop for a puncture when he clipped Giancarlo Fisichella’s Renault put Schumacher well out of the picture, losing almost a whole lap to his Ferrari team-mate Felipe Massa. However here begun one of the best fight backs of Schumacher’s career. A number of very quick laps saw him charge through the field, and after his next pit stop on lap 47 he was eighth on track. He subsequently managed to pass Rubens Barrichello, Fisichella and Kimi Raikkonen (Nick Heidfeld had retired ahead of him) to finish an impressive fourth, barely five seconds off second and third placed men Fernando Alonso and Jenson Button. And all of this when he was due to retire post-race! We would not see Schumacher again in an F1 race until the 2010 Australian Grand Prix.
8 – 1994 Spanish Grand Prix – Started – 1st – Race – 2nd
Schumacher was going for six straight wins from the beginning of the season, but this was perhaps his best race of his first championship-winning season of 1994. Damon Hill might have won the race, but Schumacher’s Benetton was stuck in fifth gear for the majority of the race, including two pit stops! It was a mighty effort to finish only 24 seconds off the win.
7 – 2000 Italian Grand Prix – Started – 1st – Race – 1st
The race was marred by the death of a marshal, but Schumacher in his Ferrari dominated from start to finish to equal the number of race wins of the late Ayrton Senna. When asked about what it meant to him to equal the Brazilian’s record, Schumacher burst into tears, obviously very emotional.
6 – 1995 European Grand Prix – Started – 3rd – Race – 1st
On a damp track, Ferrari driver Jean Alesi started the race on dry tyres whereas Schumacher in his Benetton and the majority of the rest of the field started on wets and were forced to stop early for dry tyres. When Schumacher made his second stop on lap 52, he was second behind Alesi, but delivered fastest lap after fastest lap to close the gap and overtook the Frenchman at the chicane with two laps to go. It was a great performance from the German.
5 – 2005 San Marino Grand Prix – Started – 13th – Finished – 2nd
Stuck behind Jarno Trulli for a number of laps, Schumacher began his charge and began to catch long-time race leader Fernando Alonso in an impressive manner. He overtook BAR driver Jenson Button for second place, and when he emerged from his last pit stop on lap 50, the Ferrari driver was right on the Spaniards tail, where he remained for the final 12 laps of the race, despite making every effort to overtake.
4 – 1995 Belgian Grand Prix – Started – 16th – Finished – 1st
After struggling in the wet qualifying, Schumacher began climbing through the field, overtaking cars quickly. He took the lead when leader Damon Hill pitted for wet tyres when it began to rain, but Schumacher stuck it out on dry tyres, culminating in an epic battle for the lead over a number of laps. Hill pitted again for dry tyres, just as the rain reappeared. Both drivers pitted for wet tyres this time – under a safety car appearance – and Schumacher went on to win by almost 20 seconds.
3 – 2000 Japanese Grand Prix – Started – 1st – Finished – 1st
A poor start from pole position put Schumacher in his Ferrari behind his main championship rival, double World Champion Mika Hakkinen in his McLaren. When it began to drizzle late on however, a quick pit stop put him ahead, and he had finally won the championship for Ferrari after this race, after coming so close in previous attempts.
2 – 1998 Hungarian Grand Prix – Started – 3rd – Finished – 1st
On a regular two-stop pit strategy, Schumacher was odds-on for a third place finish with overtaking as difficult as it is on the Hungaroring track. However, an early switch to a three-stop strategy, and a number of qualifying style fastest laps saw Schumacher triumph by almost ten seconds ahead of David Coulthard in his McLaren. It was an amazing drive on track, and a lot of praise went to Ross Brawn on the pit wall for the strategy change.
1 – 1996 Spanish Grand Prix – Started – 3rd – Finished – 1st
Schumacher’s first Ferrari victory, in torrential rain at the Circuit de Catalunya, was a masterly display of driving in the rain. No one was near him, and on occasions he was lapping over three seconds a lap faster than anyone else. He overtook both Jean Alesi and Jacques Villeneuve to lead the race by lap 13, and won the race by over 45 seconds. It was a brilliant drive by the ‘rainmaster’.
Taking into account Michael Schumacher raced in over 300 races during his career, for the Jordan, Benetton, Ferrari and Mercedes teams, it was quite a challenge to pick just ten of his best races.
Feel free to comment about which races of Schumacher’s glistening career stand out for you!