But as for Mika's pass at Spa - come on, it was pretty special simply for the risk factor. Ironically it was Zonta who made it all possible. It would have been normal for him to pull right over to the right side of the track, but by staying in the middle he made it possible for Schumacher to duck one side and Mika the other. Had Zonta just jinked either to the left or the right at that point there would have been a horrendous accident. Plus you can tell that Schumacher never expected Mika to do what he did - I doubt that even Mika planned it, it was just a split second decision. So it was the spontaneity combined with the risk factor, plus the fact that it happened at such a great track as Spa rather than, say, Bahrain, that made it so memorable.
It was a top pass, no question. However it wouldn't even rank in my top 10 passes in history (from what I've seen over the years), it was drummed up spectacularly at the time because it was smack bang in the middle of their title fight.
The pass Villeneuve pulled at Estoril in 1996 on Schumacher is superior, for both style and textbook precision. Then...in terms of context
(sometimes it is very relative) the pass JV also pulled on MS to ultimately win the WDC one year later is something Michael will never, ever forget....it led to him having a brain explosion. Put it this way, apart from JV, no one has ever come from behind and passed MS to win a championship battle. IMO thats huge in itself....alas you will never get MS praising Villeneuve in the same light, he outfoxed and beat MS in a way Hakkinen simply didn't do.
Then there is DC in Magny Cours 2000, Montoya at Brazil 2001....I just believe MS tends to praise MH more than any other driver, moreso because they always maintained a decent relationship. There wasn't many times MH would be sounded out in the press, berating Michael for something or other. Schumacher would think very highly of that, unlike the others.
Edited by FigJam, 07 April 2011 - 09:07.