F1 2006 Review: Michael Schumacher??????s Greatest Hits

Posted on | Author Keith Collantine

Fernando Alonso, Michael Schumacher, Imola, 2006 (2)I was fascinated to see both Autosport and F1 Racing carried pieces in their most recent issues on Michael Schumacher’s greatest races.

I’m not too proud to not have a go at an idea that has already been covered by two other publications, so here are my ten favourite Schumacher races.

To me, they are the finest examples of his great talent not just because of the feats he performed, but because they are easily separated from the usual criticisms of Schumacher (foul play, subservient team mates and the like).

Thus I think my top ten looks quite different from many other top tens. I’d be fascinated to see what your Schumacher favourites are??????

When Autosport listed Michael Schumacher’s ten greatest races they decided on the following:

Michael Schumacher, Ferrari, Spa-Francorchamps, 200210. Belgian Grand Prix, 2002
9. Monaco Grand Prix, 2003
8. Canadian Grand Prix, 2003
7. Belgian Grand Prix, 1995
6. Spanish Grand Prix, 1994
5. Monaco Grand Prix, 1997
4. Brazilian Grand Prix, 2006
3. San Marino Grand Prix, 2000
2. Hungarian Grand Prix, 1998
1. Spanish Grand Prix, 1996

And F1 Racing picked these nine as the greatest examples of Schumacher’s ?????ǣgenius??????.

Michael Schumacher, Ferrari, Magny-Cours, 20049. Belgian Grand Prix, 2002
8. Austrian Grand Prix, 2003
7. French Grand Prix, 2004
6. Spanish Grand Prix, 1994
5. Canadian Grand Prix, 2003
4. Spanish Grand Prix, 1996
3. Malaysian Grand Prix, 1999
2. Belgian Grand Prix, 1995
1. Hungarian Grand Prix, 1998

In compiling my list I wanted to steer clear of the controversies and the innuendo. Yes, he raced from 16th to 1st magnificently at Spa-Francorchamps in 1995, but he was censured by the FIA afterwards for baulking Damon Hill.

I wanted to keep the debate about his merits and demerits entirely separate from my ten favourite races:

10. Canadian Grand Prix, 2003

Michael Schumacher, Ferrari, Montreal, 2003 (2)Ferrari went marginal on brakes and Schumacher was chased across the line by brother Ralf, Juan Pablo Montoya and Fernando Alonso. At a circuit where overtaking is not as tough as others, Ralf’s failure to overtake his brother brought him a lot of criticism.

9. European Grand Prix, 2000

Classic Nurburgring weather soaked the track halfway through the race, and Schumacher floored the opposition.

8. Portuguese Grand Prix, 1995

Needing only to beat Damon Hill, Schumacher did exactly that, slicing past the Englishman at the hairpin late in the race. Cleverly, he spent the preceding laps running up the inside of the corner to work out how late he could brake. Hill should have seen the move coming, but didn’t.

7. Portuguese Grand Prix, 1993

Michael Schumacher, Benetton-Ford, Spa-Francorchamps, 1992 (3)Schumacher’s second win was an opportunistic gem. He clung on grimly on worn tyres, keeping Alain Prost at bay. Perhaps Prost would have pushed him harder had he not only needed second place to become champion, but at the line there was less than a second between them.

6. Brazilian Grand Prix, 2006

Fernando Alonso, Michael Schumacher, Interlagos, 2006After an unfortunate puncture, Schumacher in his final race carved through the field with merciless brilliance. Too many drivers surrendered immediately to his attacks, but his pass on the robustly defensive Kimi Raikkonen was magnificent.

5. San Marino Grand Prix, 2003

Even hardened Schumacher-phobes must have felt for him as he put thoughts of his mother’s recent death to score his first victory of 2003.

4. Belgian Grand Prix, 1996

Michael Schumacher, Ferrari, Spa-Francorchamps, 1996How on earth did he win at Spa in the dog of the car that was the Ferrari F310? His fastest lap time, though two seconds quicker than team-mate Eddie Irvine’s, was nearly a second slower than the quickest of the race. This was won with consistent speed and smart tactics at the track he loved best.

3. Japanese Grand Prix, 2000

He may often have been accused of cracking under pressure, but in this mano a mano duel with Mika Hakkinen he snuck ahead and hung on to finally give Ferrari their first drivers’ championship title in 21 years.

2. Spanish Grand Prix, 1992

Before he even won his first race he underlined his class behind the wheel. He ‘only’ finished second, but put Nigel Mansell in his dominant FW14B under serious pressure in the pouring rain.

1. Chinese Grand Prix, 2006

Michael Schumacher, Ferrari, Shanghai, 2006 (2)His final win was a masterpiece. In qualifying he took third while every other driver on Bridgestone tyres struggled. Then he began picking off his rivals as the track tried. Once Renault had fumbled Fernando Alonso out of contention he blew past Giancarlo Fisichella and hung on to win as Alonso came back at him. Masterful.

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