Michael Schumacher turns 52: happiness in his Ferrari years, his final triumph and his present state

The seven-time world champion lived an excellent cycle within the Italian workforce that modified Components 1 perpetually. After his snowboarding accident, he continues to get better at house amidst a robust secrecy.

His title is synonymous with success in Components 1 and his determine, a dwelling legend of world motorsport. In his virtually twenty seasons within the premier class, he raced with 4 groups and was topped champion with two, however his most wonderful years had been spent aboard the pink Ferrari automobile, with which he made historical past. Michael Schumacher, who turns 52 this Sunday whereas nonetheless recovering from the ski accident he suffered on December 29, 2013, gained 5 of his seven world titles with the Italian workforce – consecutively between 2000 and 2004 – and 72 of his 91 victories. The primary was in Spain in June 1996 and the final in China in 2006. The 2 races had a standard denominator, the rain, which ended up being an ally of the German.

Schumacher arrived at Ferrari already with two titles of their showcases – he had been topped in 1994 and 1995 with Benetton– and with the phantasm of chopping an extended drought for the Italian workforce, which had not consecrated a driver in F1 since 1979, the yr during which the South African had gained Jody Scheckter. And it did not take lengthy for him to climb to the highest of the Grand Prix podium for the primary time.

It was on June 2, 1996, on the Catalunya circuit and for the seventh date of the championship. Within the first dates of that season, the German had completed thrice among the many greatest – third place at Interlagos and second on the Nürburgring and San Marino – and had deserted in Australia, Argentina and Monaco, simply on the earlier date and likewise on a monitor. moist. However in Spain, for a lot of he signed one in every of his greatest races within the prime flight and celebrated his first triumph with Ferrari.

The dominance exercised by the Williamses because the starting of that championship was evident within the classification, during which Damon Hill and Jacques Villenueve, the drivers of the British workforce, had been the quickest. Schumacher set the third quickest time. Nonetheless, on Sunday, below heavy rain, the German was the primary protagonist.

At first of the race, he misplaced floor and fell to seventh place. However he was going again and within the twelfth flip he stole the management, and he now not let go. So superior was Schumacher on the Spanish monitor that he crossed the end line 45 seconds forward of the French Jean Alesi (Benetton), who was second. Villenueve completed third, 48 seconds behind the winner. Hill stop after getting misplaced on the tenth lap.

Schumacher had anticipated his victory earlier than the beginning. “At present we gained. I felt the automobile within the moist as if it had been dry,” he had advised Ignazio Lunetta, who was then his profession engineer.

That was the German’s first celebration with Ferrari and the primary profitable chapter of a relationship that marked the historical past of Components 1. 4 years later Schumi he achieved the good goal: to be topped champion with the Italian workforce for the primary time. “That day, on the rostrum, I advised him that our life in competitors would by no means be the identical,” commented Jean Todt just a few years in the past, who was his workforce supervisor at Ferrari.

The fantastic years of the Kaiser within the Scuderia they had been simply starting. Todt knew, however the German was not so certain. That is how the identical French businessman advised it when Schumacher was inducted into the Corridor of Fame of the SON in 2017.

“When the 2000 season ended, during which he was champion, and 2001 was about to start, he requested me a fairly shy query. As a result of he is a shy man, he appears boastful however he is not. He requested me if I’d enable him to do a take a look at at Fiorano to verify he may nonetheless drive nicely. He had simply been champion, however was stuffed with doubts, as at all times, even whether or not he was a great driver or not, “mentioned Todt, present FIA president.

And, as a joke, he closed: “I let him take the take a look at … and he did not do it unhealthy in any respect.”

Within the years that adopted, Schumacher grew weary of constructing Ferrari historical past. In 2003 he beat Juan Manuel Fangio’s document of 5 titles and in 2004 he set the mark of seven, which Lewis Hamilton was solely in a position to attain this yr. He reached 65 pole positions, 154 podiums (he would add yet one more in 2012 with Mercedes) and 76 quickest laps (he retired with the document of 77, counting the one he additionally achieved in 2012). And he signed 91 victories, a statistic during which he was solely surpassed on this 2020 by Hamilton. The final one was obtained on October 1, 2006 in Shanghai.

Schumacher arrived on the Chinese language racetrack in the midst of a title combat with Fernando Alonso, Renault star, who led him by simply two factors within the championship. And simply because it had occurred in that first triumph with Ferrari simply over ten years earlier, in Shanghai too the rain ended up enjoying a task within the German’s celebration.

As a result of after qualifying on a moist monitor, during which Alonso and his accomplice, the Italian Giancarlo Fisichella, they had been the quickest and Schumi he needed to accept sixth place, the technique of the German and Ferrari was key in a remaining that started on a moist monitor as a result of heavy rain that fell minutes earlier than the beginning.

At first, Alonso took the lead and Schumacher started to climb positions till he was in third place. Then he started to place strain on Renault. On the first pit cease, round lap 20, the German determined to maintain the identical tires with which he had began the take a look at and Alonso modified solely the entrance ones, which had worn away as the ground had dried.

After the change, the Spaniard started to see the 20-second benefit he had taken from his pursuers fading away. And on the thirty fifth lap, he went again into the pits to have the dry tires fitted. However an issue with the nut on one in every of his wheels made the cease final about 19 seconds, which price him first place. When he obtained again on monitor, he was fourth.

Schumacher was second behind Fisichella. Lastly he was in a position to cross it after the Italian opened rather a lot in a nook, with chilly tires, after making his second pit cease to alter the tires virtually concurrently the German.

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