HomeFormula 1A tribute to Michael Schumacher- a titan of F1...

A tribute to Michael Schumacher- a titan of F1 racing

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The Formula 1 world championship has, thus far, been won by 32 different drivers, fifteen of whom have to their credit over one world championship. 

But there are several distinguished achievers who have bagged such glory, such as greats like Fernando Alonso, Niki Lauda, Ayrton Senna, Mika Hakkinen, Sebastian Vettel, and Sir Lewis Hamilton. 

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But among these high performing greats, there recurs a name, an identity that is incredibly special to the sport: Michael Schumacher. 

Schumacher blazed a trail for many to follow. He is more than just a popular F1 name; he is a huge identity of Formula 1 itself. 

Over a glittery career that spanned well over a decade and a half and featured in addition to seven world titles, two different F1 stints, Michael Schumacher attained fans, instant stardom and skyrocketed the fortune of F1 itself. 

Here is a sporting analogy that might make it easier to understand the stature Schumacher occupies in the pinnacle in the world of F1 racing. 

When you think of Football, you think of Pele and Maradona. When you think of Golf, you think of Arnold Palmer and Tiger Woods. 

For cricket, you think of Sir Don Bradman and Sachin Tendulkar. 

But where you come to decipher greatness in Formula 1, you stop at names like Michael Schumacher. Statistically speaking, you can find more successful drivers than the great multiple world championship winning German. 

Sir Lewis Hamilton has already hit a century of race wins, an achievement never previously attained by any driver, regardless of caste, colour or nationality. 

But the one who scored, for the first time ever, over ninety Formula 1 Grand Prix wins, 91 to be precise, was Michael Schumacher of Germany. 

Sad it is, heartbreaking actually, that the very Schumacher whose constant shadow was that winning Ferrari and an attacking style of driving to the very limit is today lying motionless with a harrowing injury that occurred a little over a decade back in time, rendering one of Formula 1’s all time greats nearly lifeless. 

But long before the bloody skiing affair in the European Alps, there was Michael Schumacher and his glowing legend, something that over the course of a decade, not dwindled despite the champion driver having receded to a permanent bedridden state. 

There were endless talks of his will to win. That desire to edge out the best of the competitors on the F1 grid. The rigour. The tenacity. The love for a challenge. The thriving amid it. 

But was that all that comprised Michael Schumacher’s legend, a legend who has to his name- 155 podiums, 68 pole positions, 77 fastest laps? 

A visibly higher level of concentration, the ability to drive the car on the edge and yet, the knack of keeping it in winning position and, moreover to mount an assault on those who lunged ahead whilst never allowing those in pursuit to gnaw at his machine; these were just some of the several characteristics that allowed Michael Schumacher to rule the Formula 1 grid for as long as he did. 

And he did with an iron fisted sense of dominance making light of prominent competitors such as Jean Alesi, Gerard Berger, Mika Hakkinen on the one hand, and a coterie of youngsters who had only just arrived in Formula 1, including- Fernando Alonso and Kimi Raikkonen. 

But what separates good drivers from the great ones is that the latter don’t take an awful amount of time to get going at racing’s highest annals. Which explains why Schumacher is coveted since he clinched a maiden title with Benetton whilst competing with biggies like McLaren and Ferrari, the latter to soon be his next station in F1 as also, his glorious home. 

Together with Jean Todt, Michael Schumacher’s winning alliance would soon become a legendary won but big success would transpire not before five persistent years of trying and near hits and misses. 

But seasons 2000 to 2004 would culminate into mega world title wins, where opponents like Barrichello and Mansell, Raikkonen and Alonso were witness to a thrilling show of speed and panache.  

But beyond the glitter of glory, the Michael Schumacher story also pays itself to the desire to understand the pitfalls and inadequacies. 

One of the most widely talked about F1 Grands Prix of his career was the 2000 Belgian Grand Prix at the iconic Spa-Francorchamps. 

In the aftermath of an epic duel between the ice cool Finn Mika and the steamy hot German Schumacher was the candid conversation between two titans of the sport. Schumacher, the one vanquished by the man who executed what’s been dubbed the best greatest overtake, Hakkinen, was listening closely to the Finn’s version of the events wherein the McLaren man overtook two cars in the space of one daring move; Michael, who still earned the podium, was more keen on gauging how he may have avoided being passed and what he could possibly do to fend off his closest rival. 

But Schumacher’s greatness also stems from the fact that he regarded his opponents instead of belittling them; while he had a way to counter their cunning and daring on the track, he also had the talent of usurping them with blasts of manic speed while keeping the car writhing the racing lines. 

Over the years, he added to F1’s rough edges a smooth career trajectory that was bellied by wins and shaped by titanic slugfests of speed. During Schumacher’s time, only the opponents changed: a Coulthard and Raikkonen made way for Massa and Rosberg, but what didn’t change was his humongous appetite for winning. 

Which perhaps explains his cult appeal. It’s one thing to win an F1 Grand Prix, but something quite  other to maintain a nearly perpetual and somewhere prophetic level of consistency. Then to do that in a manner that it is considered envy inspiring truly underlines the legend of the man from North-Rhine Westphalia. 

That told, his biggest success, it could be argued, also exists in the sphere beyond the grid; it points to the lives Michael impacted positively inspiring them to take to the wheels of an F1 car. We know his greatest fan and also a huge achiever himself: Sebastian Vettel. 

But then even glowing success stories from Denmark, such as Michelle Gatting, noted Ferrari Le Mans driver and a member of the Iron Dames too, is inspired by “Schumi.” 

May Michael Schumacher get better with each passing and near the best fitness level that there is possible. The sport has never quite been the same since the former Ferrari and Mercedes driver’s retirement. The sport will never quite have another of his stature and credibility.  Happy 55th and keep fighting, Michael! 

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Dev Tyagi
Dev Tyagi
Dravid believer, admirer of - the square drive, Drew Barrymore, Germany, Finland, Electric Mobility, simplicity and the power of the written word! Absolutely admire contributing to KyroSports

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