Make way for the champion in waiting!
Michael Schumacher, Jerez, 1994.
After, for the only time in Formula One history, the first three drivers all set the exact same time in qualifying, Jacques Villeneuve lined up on pole position by virtue of having set the lap time first.
The onus was on him. Michael Schumacher lead the title, but if Jacques Villeneuve could win he would secure it and give Williams their fourth driver’s title in six years, if not then Williams could always rest on their Constructor’s title laurels.
The end result turned out to be something much more dramatic than anything anybody could have scripted: Schumacher again collided with his driver’s title rival but punted himself into the gravel and gave Jacques an unchallenged lead, albeit a damaged car. Jacques slipped to third but still gathered the four points he needed to win the title. Schumacher was disqualified from the title’s standings but he was allowed to keep his wins, points and pole positions to his career total. Ergo, he went unpunished, but his reputation was tarnished forever.
Jacques would never win another title, but his rival would go on to win five more and become the most successful Formula One driver of all time.
Nige leading Nelson, 1987 Spanish Grand Prix.