Which Schumacher title was the best?

Michael Schumacher, Ferrari, Barcelona, 2008 testing, 470150

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.

1994
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.

1995
Pro: Second driver to win nine races in a year, outstanding victories at Spa and Nurburgring.
Con: Some iffy defensive driving at Spa.

2000
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.

2001
Pro: Another nine wins.
Con: Strange off day at Interlagos, had quite a performance advantage in the F2001.

2002
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.

2003
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?

2004
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.

My verdict
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?

Michael Schumacher career statistics
Michael Schumacher biography

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36 comments on Which Schumacher title was the best?

  1. Daniel said on 22nd April 2008, 0:18

    I would say 2000 stands as the best Schumi title not only for the season properly, but for the whole saga of putting Ferrari back on top, and especially because it was his first full season after breaking his leg (as he was back only for the last couple of races of 1999, and already with a stunning pace)…

    Also, 2000 marks the transition from the suspicious Schumacher of the 1990s, someone unworthy of the "all-time great" designation, to the legendary Schumacher of the 2000s, certainly one of the"all-time greats"…

  2. James said on 19th May 2008, 10:34

    I too would go with 1995. It is fair to say I did not like Schumacher then, but his talent was undeniable. That season was agony to watch; he crushed Damon psychologically and I could barely watch Suzuka after Hill spun out, it was a metaphor for his whole season. Schumacher also, to all intents, finished off Johnny Herbert as an aspiring WDC, despite the two wins.

    As a postscript, Ironically, I believe that Schumacher was the making of Hill. Rather than get despondant, he got immensely fit over the summer, knuckled down and came back punching in ’96. Competitively it was not the same arena – Ferrari were in poor shape – but he kept a tough, quick teammate in check and got the job done.

  3. Jolene said on 19th May 2008, 18:20

    As a Huge Schumi fan I would have to say that all of his titles were magnificent for me. The only downer is that those who dislike him always have to throw a shadow on his achievements by saying that his “number 2″ drivers helped him get where he was. In my humble opinion I do not think that Irvine or Barricello had the tenacity to ever beat him. What makes a brilliant driver is the whole package, not just being quick and Schumi had the complete package. Yes, he did not always act sportingly but none of the drivers are saints. Kimi would certainly not have been champion today if Massa did not help him out by being delayed in the pits ( no matter how people try to deny it ).

  4. Jean said on 27th May 2008, 12:55

    Never watched much in the early ’90′s (very unfortunately! – would love to know if anyone can tell me where to obtain DVD’s of ’93 to 95 at reasonable rates ?), started following F1 closely from 1996 when Schumacher joined Ferrari. To that end , I have to call 2000 his greatest win – if only just for the fact that it was the first win after the build up from ’96 and what would be the start of the strongest domination known in F1 to date.

  5. Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 27th May 2008, 13:07

    Jean – There’s links to where you can buy them on the reviews of those videos here:

    1993 F1 season review video – Senna fights back
    1995 F1 season review video – He did it his way

  6. sato113 said on 29th July 2009, 21:57

    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 – i think not keith!

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