Also from the 2005 Grand Prix, this incredible pass from Nando round the outside of Schumi into 130R.
1993 Japanese Grand Prix.
That one time Eddie Irvine unlapped himself by passing Ayrton Senna who then proceeded to charge down to Irvine’s pits and punch him in the face after the race had finished. Good times.
2003 title decider. Schumacher had moved his lead to 9 points following victory at the previous grand prix in the US, but Raikkonen out qualified his rival by 6 positions but still only eight. The McLaren of Raikkonen was supposed to be a transitional car but was more consistent, reliable and most important faster than the planned MP4-18. The Ferrari of Schumacher was the fastest, but not as fast as it had been in years prior. Schumacher had to work for this title and from down the grid.
Montoya took the lead from pole sitter Barrichello but then his car gave way. Barrichello sat about doing his all to protect the lead from the resurgent Raikkonen and team mate Coulthard who, a dual-retirement from Ferrari willing, could together clinch the driver’s and constructor’s titles for McLaren.
Schumacher slowly picked off driver after driver, but on lap six tangled with Takuma Sato, losing his wing. The title was in Ruben’s hands, but Raikkonen and Coulthard kept up the pressure albeit from a distance.
Schumacher slowly built up his way to the point he needed to but with ten laps remaining had to avoid an incident and gave himself a set of flat spots. He feared the suspension would give way, the vibrations so bad he could barely see in front of him, but he made his way home taking the solitary point that would clinch victory, even if his team mate had given up the lead to Raikkonen. Which he didn’t.
The young Finn would have to wait four more seasons for his first title, in the most dramatic of circumstances. Schumacher would not even have to wait 12 months for his seventh. As for the photo:
Sometimes, luck comes to the rescue… When Rubens Barrichello came out of his car after winning tne 2003 Japanese GP in Suzuka, he fell into the arms of Michael Schumacher, who had finished only eighth, but was World Champion for the sixth time! Standing at a distance, with a 600 mm lens, in very low light conditions, it looked like pretty grim, and then someone fired off his flash behind the drivers, just as the shutter was being released for 1/250th of a second… Magic.
This one was to be a battle royale, the ruthless German double world champion attempting to make up for the shameful way he lost at Jerez a season earlier, versus the stoic Flying Finn who had taken full advantage of superior equipment a season on from his maiden victory at said Jerez race.
Schumacher took victory in Ferrari’s homeland at Monza, but at the historic Nurburgring Hakkinen took victory and the lead in the title race by four points. Schumacher needed to win, and promptly took pole. Hakkinen was alongside in second. The stage was set.
Schumacher stalled. The championship was over. Or was it? He started from last and in typical Schumacher fashion he fought tooth and nail. Driver after driver were pushed aside as Hakkinen attemped to build up a lead with Schumacher’s team mate Irvine in chase. Schumacher had made it to third, only Irvine and his title rival in front. The stage was set again, Schumacher vs Hakkinen. The Flying Finn vs the Rain Master. Mika vs Michael.
Schumacher came through the chicane shortly after a Takagi-Tuerro clash and picked up a puncture on lap 28 and retired shortly after. Hakkinen put in a series of fastest laps, a lights to flag victory to secure his first title. Schumacher was the first to congratulate him after the Finn got out of the car.
Then there was me, eight years old, crying helplessly at Schumacher losing.
Another strong qualifying performance, fourth fastest in Q3 and starting third after a penalty to Lewis Hamilton, but this time for naught as Robert suffers his third retirement of the season at the famous Suzuka circuit.
Damon Hill after winning the world championship, Suzuka 1996.
He is joined on the podium by then-two time champion Michael Schumacher, the mastermind behind the dominant Williams of the early 90’s Adrian Newey, and future World Champion Mika Hakkinen. There are eighteen World Championships present on this podium: eight constructor’s titles for Adrian, and seven driver’s for Michael, 2 for Mika and Damon’s one.