Michael Schumacher was back at the wheel of an F1 car this week. But sadly it seems we will not see him return to the track to take on Kimi Raikkonen in a Ferrari, and square up against new talent like Lewis Hamilton and Robert Kubica.
He’s probably done enough winning in F1 and that gave me an idea for a nice Friday afternoon debate – which of his seven world championships was the best? Here’s what I think.
Pro: Eight wins in what was not the best car in the field, won despite two disqualifications and two suspensions.
Con: Weakened opposition following death of Ayrton Senna, dubious move in final round on Damon Hill.
Pro: Second driver to win nine races in a year, outstanding victories at Spa and Nurburgring.
Con: Some iffy defensive driving at Spa.
Pro: First drivers’ championship for Ferrari since Jody Scheckter in 1979, beat Mika Hakkinen in closely-matched cars.
Con: What on earth were those first-lap crashes in the middle of the season about? Pulled a nasty move on Hakkinen at Spa and still lost the day.
Pro: Another nine wins.
Con: Strange off day at Interlagos, had quite a performance advantage in the F2001.
Pro: Utterly crushing display, on the podium at every round and only third once.
Con: Had the car to do it with. Farcical displays at Austria and Indianapolis left a sour taste.
Pro: Six wins to runner-up Kimi Raikkonen’s one in a close season. Under-rated gem of a win at Montreal, and Imola for that matter.
Con: Would he have won the title without the FIA’s highly contentious change to the tyre rules late in the season?
Pro: A staggering 13 wins made him untouchable.
Con: Mistakes crept in – brake-testing in the Monaco tunnel, bad strategy calls and spin at Monza, and just plain out of sorts at Shanghai and Interlagos.
I’ve always held 1995 up as the ultimate Schumacher year. Hill didn’t really have any excuses and there were days when Schumacher was so good it was ridiculous – even at Estoril, when he only finished second, but passed Hill with a cruel and embarrassing ease.
Yes, he faced tough opposition later in his career, especially in 2000, but rarely in anything like the similarity of equipment he had in 1995. Schumacher’s greatest championship I reckon. What do you think?