Michael Schumacher: the top 3 wins of his F1 career

As arguably one of the greatest F1 drivers of all time, Michael Schumacher took some top wins during his career. But which drives make his top three greatest?

Starting with Jordan in 1991, Schumacher quickly established himself as a phenomenally quick racer. This saw Benetton swiftly snap him up after one single race for Jordan, and he would go on to win the 1994 and 1995 world driver’s titles with that team.

He then switched to Ferrari in 1996. The German’s first few seasons with the Scuderia brought frustration at the end of the 1990s. In contrast, the new millennium brought a period of domination.

Schumacher and Ferrari won five-straight world titles between 2000 and 2004. Sadly, though, Fernando Alonso brought Schumi’s stranglehold on F1 to an end with titles in ’05 and ’06. Schumacher retired as a seven-time champion at the end of the 2006 campaign.

A brief return with Mercedes from 2010-2012 was a surprise to everyone in the paddock. However, Schumacher’s time with the Silver Arrows did not add to his tally of 91 Grand Prix victories.

All of the top wins from Michael Schumacher come from pre-2006 as a result.

#3: 2004 French Grand Prix

Michael Schumacher and Ferrari pulled off an audacious strategy to take one of their top wins at the 2004 French Grand Prix.

The German started second, one spot behind Renault’s Fernando Alonso. The Spanish ace then held his lead off the line to remain in first place at Magny-Cours. Because of this, Ferrari thought outside the box for a way with which to defeat Alonso.

Their plan? Four pit stops – almost unheard of as a race-winning strategy in F1. However, Schumacher took advantage of his F2004’s superior race pace to do shorter stints with lighter fuel loads to pull off an inspired drive.

In the days of refuelling, everyone considered the French GP a three-stop race. But not Ferrari. They undercut the leading Renault at the first three stops, going light on fuel so as to be quick on track.

Schumacher went into the lead on lap 32, leapfrogging Alonso during his second trip to the pits. He had managed to pass his rival via a set of blistering out laps on fresh rubber. At the third round of stops, Schumacher once again inherited the lead when Alonso had pitted after him.

He then simply blasted away from the Renault star, putting a 25+ second gap between him and Alonso. This way, he had enough time to have a quick refuel (his fourth stop) on lap 58.

Schumacher eventually crossed the finish line eight seconds ahead of Alonso to take a sublime victory. Incredibly, this was Schumacher’s ninth win from the first ten races during a season where he took his seventh WDC.

#2: 1995 Belgian Grand Prix

A pulsating Belgian GP in changing conditions saw Michael Schumacher take one of the top wins of his career.

Starting a lowly 16th following a difficult qualifying, the Benetton driver soon picked his way through the field. Schumacher was in the top 5 by lap nine before moving up to fourth on lap 10.

Not long after, an issue for David Coulthard in a Williams put the German in the podium spots. He was now behind only Gerhard Berger in a Ferrari and Damon Hill in the sister Williams. Both of these drivers pitted on lap 16 – giving Schumi the lead. Amazingly, he had risen from P16 to P1 in just 16 laps.

Although he had to pit himself, thus losing first place. Despite this, Schumacher was still in contention, especially when the rain began to fall at Spa-Francorchamps.

With the wet weather kicking in, Damon Hill pitted from the lead to put on wet tyres. Contrastingly, Schumacher stayed out, inheriting top spot. Hill was significantly faster than him, however, and was right on the German’s gearbox quickly.

Despite some aggressive defence from Schumacher, Hill eventually went back ahead when the German made an error at Les Combes. But incredibly, the pair swapped places once more on lap 25 as the Williams driver made a mistake, too. Clearly, the tricky conditions were affecting even the very best drivers.  

The rain eventually lightened, and Hill pitted again for slicks. He chose a very unfortunate time; a safety car came out, giving everyone a free pit stop, meaning Schumacher could retain the lead. Benetton’s reigning World Champion thus safely brought his car home to take an unlikely win from P16.

#1: 1996 Spanish Grand Prix

Michael Schumacher produced one of the all-time wet weather drives to take one of his top wins at the 1996 Spanish Grand Prix.

His first place at a rain-soaked Circuit de Catalunya was also his first victory with Ferrari.

After qualifying in P3, Schumacher actually dropped three places due to a slow start on the opening lap. By lap three, though, the German was back in the top five following a mistake from teammate, Eddie Irvine.

The drenched track proved too much for some – yet Schumacher was in his element. He overtook Jean Alesi on lap eight, a brave move that elevated the German into second place. Schumacher now had just the leader – Jacques Villeneuve in the Williams – to chase down.

It only took until the twelfth lap for the Ferrari star to get into first place. Michael made a daring manoeuvre down the inside of Villeneuve at turn 4, using all the extra grip and confidence at his disposal.

From this point on, Michael Schumacher was absolutely untouchable. He overwhelmed the rest of the field, building a gap of almost a minute to the car behind. The Ferrari star lapped everyone except for his fellow podium finishers by the end of the 65-lap race.

Read – Kimi Raikkonen: the top 3 wins of his F1 career

Michael Schumacher undoubtedly produced one of the top wins of his career at the 1996 Spanish GP. Meanwhile, some would even argue that it is the best-ever wet race drive in the sport’s history. When you look at the sheer dominance of Schumacher’s victory, it certainly deserves a spot near the top.

Featured image credit: Getty