The best of Schumacher

After receiving the not-so-good news considering Michael Schumacher’s condition, we decided to re-live some of our best memories of the legendary racer on track…

In his 19 years of racing in Formula 1, Schumacher amassed seven Drivers’ Championship titles, 91 race victories, 155 podiums and 68 pole positions.

His success on the track, achieved through immense talent and moments of ruthlessness, earned him the admiration of many and the disdain of some.

But whether you love him, or love to hate him, there is no deny that Schumacher is one of the best F1 has ever seen.

We take a look at his best moments from the track…

Driving around the problem
Some drivers need a perfect car to have a perfect day – or to even come close to being perfect. Not Schumacher, he could work around a problem.

At the 1994 Spanish Grand Prix he raced to second place despite his Benetton B194 having a broken gearbox.

Schumacher spent almost 40 laps of the Barcelona race stuck in fifth gear and even managed to make a pit stop and pull away while still stuck in fifth. He finished 24 seconds behind Damon Hill.

The Regenmeister Reigns In Belgium
Nicknamed the “Regenmeister” (Rainmaster) for his prowess in the wet, Schumacher came from 16th on the grid in the driving rain to win the 1995 Belgian Grand Prix – and in the process giving Damon Hill a little love tap.

It was just one highlight from his 19 visits to the Spa-Francorchamps circuit.

Making his F1 debut at Spa, he qualified a Jordan in seventh place. A year later he would take his first F1 race win at Spa. Belgium became part of the Schumacher legend as he won there six times on his way to 91 wins in total.

First win with Ferrari
Schumacher joined Ferrari in 1996 driving what was widely regarded as a dog of a car, but despite that he claimed his first victory with the team at the Spanish Grand Prix.

In torrential rain he recovered from a tardy start to claim the victory by 45.302s, having taken the lead off Jacques Villeneuve on lap 13. It is regarded as one of his best wins.

The speed to alter strategies
At the 1998 Hungarian Grand Prix Schumacher needed just 20 laps to build up a 27-second lead over David Coulthard. He used that lead to three-stop his way to victory.

The strategy may have come from the pit wall – all hail Ross Brawn – but it was Schumacher’s speed that allowed Ferrari to use it.

First title with Ferrari
Ferrari’s tifosi can tell you in graphic gory detail about that 21-year drought where the “spaghetti culture” dominated and titles weren’t even few and far between, they were non-existent.

However a P3, a DSQ, a P3 and a P5 were finally followed with a P1 in the 2000 World Championship. Victory at the Japanese GP saw Schumacher take his third World title and his first with Ferrari with a round to spare.

And on it went
That 2000 success sparked a run never before seen in Formula 1. Schumacher claimed an unprecedented five World titles on the trot to bring his tally up to seven.

Seven still stands at the record.

More records followed
In 2006 Schumacher claimed his eighth French Grand Prix victory, it is yet another record, one of just many he holds.

As for his best race win in France, that was undoubtedly the 2004 event, where he used a four-stop strategy, defying the odds and showing his extraordinary pace to beat Fernando Alonso by 8 seconds.

By the way, in 2004 he claimed 13 race wins, a record he holds along with Sebastian Vettel.

He did it his way
Schumacher not only won grands prix on the track, he also did so in the pit lane.

Driving for Ferrari, he claimed what was undoubtedly his strangest victory ever when he pulled into the pits to serve a drive-through penalty on the final lap of the 1998 British Grand Prix.

And it was while he was in the Silverstone pit lane that he took the race win thanks to a technical regulation that has the finish line extending across the pit lane.

The team player
For a driver used to winning and winning just about everything, there were times Schumacher was prepared to play the number two role to help his team-mate.

Having broken his leg in 1999 he returned to the action at the Malaysian Grand Prix where he finished P2, holding up Mika Hakkinen to help team-mate Eddie Irvine take the win.

The last hurrah
Having retired from Formula 1 at the end of the 2006 season, Schumacher made a shock return to the grid in 2010 with the Mercedes team.

It was a struggle for the driver who was 41 at the start of his first season back, withthe Mercedes F1 car suffering from oversteer.

However in his third season back Schumacher finally tasted some success as he finished quickest in qualifying for the Monaco Grand Prix. Unfortunately he was stripped of that pole position due to a five-pace grid penalty from a previous race.

Two race weekends later there was cause for celebration as he finished on the podium – P3 – at the European Grand Prix. It was the last of his 155 podiums as he would retire at the end of that season for good.

Michelle Foster