To this day, there is only one Michael Schumacher. Even with the history-making win of Max Verstappen last Sunday, best moments in Formula 1 history are arguably still those that feature a seven-time world champion and the Circuit de Catalunya where Schumi continuously raced like nothing else mattered. And everybody knows how much Schumacher enjoys racing even on a wet track.
Back in 1991, Ayrton Senna was looking to become the world champion when they arrived in Spain for the grand prix. During qualifying, though, Senna suffered with problems with his Honda engine. In the middle of the race, Senna managed to take the lead from behind, but his lead was short-lived.
As for Schumacher, he battled well with the front of the pack throughout most of the race. A misjudged move, however, forced him straight into the dirt. In the end, the German, who was then driving for Benetton, managed to get 6th place. True, he didn’t reach the podium, but his competitive racing showed the world what Schumacher could do.
The year was 1996, and Schumacher made a gamble to move to Ferrari after winning two consecutive word champion titles with Benetton. According to Formula One’s Greatest Races, the German knew that Ferrari’s car that year was not as competitive as he’d like it to be. In fact, the Williams-Renault team had dominated most of the Formula 1 season that year. When the race came to Spain, however, Ferrari arrived with a unique advantage in Schumacher.
For the race, the German had asked for a full wet set-up with light tanks. He also calculated that he will need two stops during the race. With that determined, it was time to race.
The race start was a disappointment for Schumacher. He recalled, “I went for the clutch, and there was nothing. I nearly stalled, then tried it again. Fortunately, no one went into the back of me.”
Schumacher ended up in ninth place because of his car’s issues, but within the first lap, he managed to recover three places immediately. Pretty soon, he was making his way to the front gradually as other cars spun out or ran straight in to the grass.
The next thing we knew, Schumacher was closing in on race leader Jacques Villeneuve and he was closing in fast.
In fact, by lap 12, Schumacher had already managed to overtake Villeneuve, and at the end of the said lap, he managed to get three seconds clear from Vileneuve’s Williams-Renault. Needless to say, Schumacher kept the lead for the rest of the race. He scored his first win for Ferrari despite battling one of the most challenging wet conditions in Formula 1 history.
He would go on to win more races with Ferrari after that. And to this day, the magic of Schumacher remains.