Michael Schumacher is the only German who have won multiple times at the German GP. His break came about 17 years back when he beat all odds in 1995 at the Hockenheimring. In fact, all of his four home excellence came at the very track in different times. Though the circuit alternates with Nurburgring it has the contract in hands for another six years unlike the other. The spectators are expected in huge numbers this time around, the same as in 2010, but the race had never reached its maximum ticket sales since the early ’90s.
While Schumacher’s win would please many Mercedes fans, it’d do the track some favour in terms of alluring huge spectators gathering when F1 makes its visit the next even season. The Champion driver has had ups and downs in his visit to home, let me rewind you through the good times: his victory bouts.
1. 1995: The season when Michael defended his crown for the first time, mainly with his close rival Damon Hill of Williams. The race started with the Briton on pole lining up with the German’s Benetton B195. As the race got underway, Damon pulled away clearly and set a second of gap to Schumacher after splattering the oil and water initially. The drama was right after lap 1, as a delight to the 120,000 Michael fans gathered, the healthy lead of Hill ended up on gravel into turn 1. While it could be figured as a mechanical failure it was also down to driver error and Hill was lucky enough not to get seriously injured. An opportunity well taken by Schumacher and extended his lead over Coulthard and Berger. Berger, though, after a faulty start would be provided with a ten second stop and go. Coulthard planned for a one-stop when Michael pitted early and lapped with controlled aggression.
Chaotic race so to speak – fifteen out of twenty four runners wouldn’t make it to the flag. Of which, the Mclarens of Blundell and Hakkinen along with Barrichello were casualties while running a good race. Schumacher elevated his gap to Coulthard by 20 seconds but he would be back again to complete his final stop. The fresher tyres and some storming laps helped him pass by Coulthard as he emerged out of the pit lane ahead of DC who was just arriving at the start/finish straight. Finally Schumacher became the first German to paint the German flag on top step of the podium at home. After the race, the electric atmosphere and the Benetton team went crazy to see their man where he belong. Schumacher was 21 points ahead of Hill at the end and couldn’t cover up his emotions either. He wowed that,
“”This is gonna be more worth for me than to win another championship this year’.
2. 2002: It was the first race on the revised Hockenheimring layout and the changes were made to accommodate more viewers seat and to avail more overtaking. Besides drivers showing their likeness to the track, a special day for the Schumacher family as Michael pipped Ralf to take pole. Michael had already become the world champion with six races to spare and scored twice the points than his nearest rival. He tore off Montoya’s pole streak and got away clean ahead of Ralf, Barrichello, Raikkonen and Montoya. Raikkonen moved ahead of Montoya at the start and few laps later Barrichello put the second place of Ralf under risk but he retaliated to fend off the Brazilian.Sauber’s team orders were seen when Massa was forced to allow team-mate Nick Heidfeld through.
Trulli received a drive-through penalty after leaving no space for Ralf and Barrichello battle which would help the Ferrari driver to close in on the Williams. But both drivers eventually would lose time in the pit lane as Barrichello lost time over the fuel flap and pneumatic valve despair for Ralf. While Montoya inherited to second ahead of Ralf Schumacher, Raikkonen had tyres rues to end up crashing on the walls. Michael went on to win his record-equalling ninth win of the season after a hard fought win at Magny-Cours on the triumphant weekend to become the five time world champion matching Juan Manuel Fangio’s record who passed away that year.
3. 2004: In the last championship winning year Schumacher was ever so dominant with thirteen overall wins. The Championship was all his own again as he returned home to level with eleven victories of his previous best. From pole to win was not the case at least this time as he was pushed quite hard off the start from Alonso who vaulted from fifth to tuck behind the Ferrari. As the race progress, the BAR of Button who yet to pull in for a stop lead the way from Schumi and Kimi. Raikkonen met with a big shunt after his rear wing failed dramatically. No such problems for Michael though as he lofted his lead up the front lap-by-lap. Earlier when Montoya started from the front row he was most likely to bring the fight to the unruffled German but he made a dismal of a start and later was fighting for fourth. The sun shone on the Ferrari yet again to gift Schumacher a well-made victory number 81 ahead of an entertaining tussle between Button and Alonso of Renault.
4. 2006: Losing the title to Alonso in 2005, Schumacher was desperate to retain it back the following year. The opening half of the season was thoroughly dominated by Alonso and off the back of two straight wins at Indianapolis and Magny-Cours it was at Hockenheimring he looked to make a trio. But the pole man was Raikkonen in his Mclaren who made a great get away off the starting grid and Alonso launched himself into fifth behind team-mate Fisichella. Schumacher and Massa were playing catch up on the Mclaren. Kimi went into pits soon meaning that he would go for a three stop strategy which didn’t pay him off as he was left at the back then to plunge into final podium finish. Schumacher got his pit stops right at the apt moment ahead of the other Ferrari of Massa to coast onto his fourth home win. His ambitions of becoming the Champion again short lived as Alonso’s Renault was too fast for comfort.
If Michael can taste victory this weekend it’d be the first time ever an all German finish being witnessed back home.