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When did you feel Schumacher was no longer the undisputed boss of the grid?


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#1 Skinnyguy

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Posted 04 June 2013 - 18:56

Answer with a particular season, and the reason why you chose that particular one.

Explanation: After a discussion on the 2003 pecking order yesterday, I remembered I felt for a long time that Schumacher had the measure of anybody else on the grid. I remember the "no chance" feeling before a race that someone would outpace him on equal grounds. Except for a couple of years with Mika, I had the constant feeling of superiority from him, probably since mid 90s to 2003, a feeling that noone could touch him raw performance wise. I felt Hill, Villeneuve, Coulthard, Ralf, JPM... couldn´t touch him in equal ground. I´m curious to see if you guys got the same feeling for a period of time, and when did you stop seeing him as untouchable but just "another top driver".

As I said, I started feeling that in 2003, because I felt other drivers in the grid (JPM, Räikkönen) had performed better than him, firts time I thought that in almost a full decade. And even more, back then I started suspecting others like Alonso or Webber (with brilliant drives that year) could be a match for him in a straight fight. From then on, I saw Michael as simply another member of the top drivers group, even during the 2004 demolition, I got signs that other guys could beat him. Signs comfirmed two years later when Alonso beat him on a straight fight in very similar cars.

So go ahead and give your view on this one. When you were watching the series back then, did you get that superiority image for a period, and when did you stop thinking he was head and shoulders above anyone else?

And please, let´s not slide into a bashing thread. Michael lost titles before being the best driver of a season, so in no way this is a try to diminish his reputation. I think myself he´s the best driver ever. And also remember, this topic isn´t to discuss who the best ever was, it´s just my view!!

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#2 Kingshark

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Posted 04 June 2013 - 19:09

2003

Raikkonen probably did a better job that season, as did Montoya, who had a faster (but less reliable) car.
The F2003-GA was probably the best package overall, not the quickest, but it was the most complete car.
Schumi could only win the title by 2 points that year, which already showed his decline as a driver.

In 2004, he dominated while in 2005 he struggled. Then again, that difference was all machinery;
the F2004 was a rocketship from heaven, while the F2005 was a dog.

2006 was ultimate evidence of his decline. There was nothing to split between Renault and Ferrari that year, in both speed and reliability they were almost identical; and Schumi was simply beaten by a more consistent Fernando on merit alone, by 13 points.

#3 SpaMaster

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Posted 04 June 2013 - 19:10

I am with you on this one. Probably from 2003 onwards. In 2004, the car was way too superior, and after that he never showed he was undoubtedly the best like the late 90s or early 00s. It's probably to do with the kind of talent available as well. 2001 saw some of the finest talents emerge - Alonso, Raikkonen and Montoya. These guys could challenge Schumacher like Hakkinen and Senna in the past. This is not a slight on Schumacher since I don't believe one should be undisputed best to be rated very highly - being one of the best is enough, that's what Senna, Prost, Lauda, etc. did. But in the spirit of your thread, I would say 2003.

#4 Atreiu

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Posted 04 June 2013 - 19:16

Can of worms feeling...
2003, when Ferrari's reliability gave him the title instead of him outright beating the entire field. Even 2004, for all of the F2004's dominance, wasn't as impressive as 2002 and then he didn't win the titles in either 2005 or 2006. Still, I never ever counted him out of a race (during his first career/stint) until the chequered flag dropped because him not being the undisputed boss did not mean he wasn't capable of incredible wins and results. If there ever was someone who had over a dozen of wins he should not have had... Heck, he could/should have left with the title if Ferrari had simply kept itself together in one piece without hicups through the Japaneze and Brazilian GP weekends in 2006.

#5 halifaxf1fan

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Posted 04 June 2013 - 19:17

Villeneuve made him pay in 1997 and later Montoya took it to him very agressively.

#6 Deluxx

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Posted 04 June 2013 - 19:18

Implying that he's still not the boss of the grid

#7 fisssssi

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Posted 04 June 2013 - 19:21

Imola 2005.

#8 sopa

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Posted 04 June 2013 - 19:30

I don't know, 2004 still FELT like Schumi was very much a boss. It's not about speed, but as an overall package and working together with the team like one man. Let's be honest, after 2003, when people felt that Schumi was past his prime and Montoya and Raikkonen would beat him easily in the future, it didn't happen. Ferrari showed in 2004 that they are still the best team and Schumi, despite making mistakes in 2003, had supreme consistency. Winning all the time and coming out on top even in close battles, like the one with Alonso in France or Raikkonen in Britain.

Meanwhile in 2004 other pretenders didn't do too much. Montoya seemed unimpressive, Alonso was trailing Trulli for much of the year and Raikkonen pulled clear of Coulthard only after mid-season in the points. Sure, Kimi had lots of unreliability, but he still didn't seem to have an edge on DC in many races early on. Yet Schumi had supreme consistency and absolutely always beat Rubens up until Italy. Schumi seemed to start losing it only at the end of 2004 with his circus weekend in China. But back then it was guessed he was just too relaxed due to dominance and didn't take seriously, not because he was past his prime.

But yeah, 2005 Schumi's aura started to go. Not only was the car bad, but he was making uncharacteristic mistakes, which we saw more in his comeback since 2010. Like the spin on a warm-up lap in China 2005.

#9 Skinnyguy

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Posted 04 June 2013 - 19:47

Villeneuve made him pay in 1997 and later Montoya took it to him very agressively.


Even if Jacques took that one, I still got the feeling that Michael had done much more to win it. It was pretty much a default feeling by then. :lol: Even as a Mika supporter, and with the natural tendecy to over-boost your hero when you´re young, sometimes I had the same "he can´t match Schumacher" feeling often during their rivalry.

About Juan... I got impressed by his guts straight away, but not really about his overall skill to the point of thinking "he could give him a headache". Juan took a while to hook a good season -even if he was one of the guys who changed my view on Schumavher-, and after he did, he couldn´t replicate it.

#10 discover23

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Posted 04 June 2013 - 19:54

2003 no doubt. Even in 02.. Montoya proved to be better .. he would outperform Shumi on track until his tires would give up.

#11 Skinnyguy

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Posted 04 June 2013 - 19:55

I am with you on this one. Probably from 2003 onwards. In 2004, the car was way too superior, and after that he never showed he was undoubtedly the best like the late 90s or early 00s. It's probably to do with the kind of talent available as well. 2001 saw some of the finest talents emerge - Alonso, Raikkonen and Montoya.


Good point. Maybe Schumacher skill didn´t drop that much, which is the feeling I got back then when all these "new young unproven guys" started to seriously put him under pressure. Hindsight helps realizing the height of the challenge he faced back then, but early in 2003 I was like "how he´s getting outperformed by these guys"?


Another good point I read here is that it´s not like he faded or anything. Even as late as 2006 he was a top driver. Maybe he couldn´t beat the other top guys in straight fights anymore but he was still SERIOUSLY good.

#12 P123

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Posted 04 June 2013 - 20:00

Probably the emergence of Alonso in 2005/2006. Before that there was Mika, and on certain occasions JPM (probably the first to 'bully' Schumacher in the same way MS had done to others for years) and Kimi, but Schumacher still had the overall edge in those battles. Alonso just seemed a bit different- somebody who was fairly relentless in the race, consistant, and didn't seem to crack under pressure. If looking for a particular moment, I'd go for Bahrain 2006, where Alonso just pipped Schumacher after a round of pitstops.

Edited by P123, 04 June 2013 - 20:01.


#13 Big Block 8

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Posted 04 June 2013 - 20:06

Already in 1999 when Irvine started running pretty close to him and elevated himself as the "2nd best driver in the world". :)

#14 jj2728

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Posted 04 June 2013 - 20:47

When was he no longer undisputed boss of the grid?
As soon as he retired in 2006.

#15 BoschKurve

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Posted 04 June 2013 - 20:59

2005 for me.

2003 showed some cracks, but then 2004 seemed to restore everything back to the way it was.

2005 was an altogether different story for me, and I personally felt his time was drawing to a close. He rebounded with his 2006 performance, yet, it felt like his day was over as Alonso was the first one who felt more than his equal. I never got that feeling with Mika Hakkinen, or even Jacques Villeneuve.

#16 Jan.W

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Posted 04 June 2013 - 20:59

2010.

He was past his prime in 2003 and onward, but was still the best until his first retirement. Races like Nurburging 2006 and Imola 2006 say it all.

Edited by Jan.W, 04 June 2013 - 21:00.


#17 HaydenFan

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Posted 04 June 2013 - 21:00

Agreed with the Villenueve post. When Schumacher had to resort to those last ditch efforts in 1997 he lost it. Then he had to deal with Häkkinen, and by then I think people never feared him as a driver. He won races and title in domination, but I don't think he imposed his will in the way he did in those years at Bentton.

Saying that, his move in qualifying at Monaco in 2006 was a slap to the community in which had already started to forget about him. It was him flexing his muscles saying to the world, "I am Michael Schumacher and I d**n hope you didn't forget what I can do!" He did become that imposing figure that last season at Ferrari, but even still, the talent pool in F1 was so vast that the collective might of the grid versus him took his power.

#18 senna da silva

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Posted 04 June 2013 - 21:00

Nostalgia forum?

#19 garoidb

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Posted 04 June 2013 - 21:06

Good point. Maybe Schumacher skill didn´t drop that much, which is the feeling I got back then when all these "new young unproven guys" started to seriously put him under pressure. Hindsight helps realizing the height of the challenge he faced back then, but early in 2003 I was like "how he´s getting outperformed by these guys"?

Another good point I read here is that it´s not like he faded or anything. Even as late as 2006 he was a top driver. Maybe he couldn´t beat the other top guys in straight fights anymore but he was still SERIOUSLY good.


It is true that the a new generation was making its presence felt by 2003 roughly. I suppose one question is whether his own performances dipped noticeably at any particular stage. One reason this would be interesting is that the "new generation" of 2003 who are left are getting on a bit now. He maintained a very high degree of competitiveness up to the end of 2006 when we was 37 years old (approaching 38). By that yardstick, the likes of Alonso and Raikkonen may have a few years left yet.

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#20 Red17

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Posted 04 June 2013 - 21:08

I think it was a bit more the other way around. Early on he had good drivers around (Mika, Jacques and even Damon) and his position was questionable, but as these drivers faded he became the big fish in the small pond.

The turnaround came with Alonso at Renault. But then again, Schumacher had been on the top for so long and his image was so spent that it was obvious he would have to step down.

#21 Longtimefan

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Posted 04 June 2013 - 21:10

Ugh, this thread isn't going to end well. *runs away*


#22 Skinnyguy

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Posted 04 June 2013 - 21:11

2005 for me.

2005 was an altogether different story for me, and I personally felt his time was drawing to a close.


I think 2005 was more about the car and tyres than about him. He still did REALLY well, hell, he was 3rd on that car. And even taking those 10 points he gained for free, he was way too close to JPM or Fisichella with a car that should be probably squabling with the Toyotas, Hondas and Williams.

I think that isolating performance he was better in 2005 than in 2003. Still good speed, less mistakes. I´d go as far as saying that he was still impressive that year.

#23 oldracer1957

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Posted 04 June 2013 - 21:11

perhaps Imola 2005 when he couldnt get past Alonso, but definitely Istanbul 2006 when he was beaten by Massa. :rolleyes:

#24 RedBaron

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Posted 04 June 2013 - 21:13

Anyone who mentioned any date prior to 2005 obviously forgot how impressive Schumacher was in 2005.

#25 Skinnyguy

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Posted 04 June 2013 - 21:14

By that yardstick, the likes of Alonso and Raikkonen may have a few years left yet.


Let´s hope so, but let´s remember Michael´s ammount of time as a top driver is an unmatched feat. It´ll be hard for anyone to replicate even if current F1 is more lenient on age.

#26 halifaxf1fan

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Posted 04 June 2013 - 21:22

Even if Jacques took that one, I still got the feeling that Michael had done much more to win it. It was pretty much a default feeling by then. :lol: Even as a Mika supporter, and with the natural tendecy to over-boost your hero when you´re young, sometimes I had the same "he can´t match Schumacher" feeling often during their rivalry.

About Juan... I got impressed by his guts straight away, but not really about his overall skill to the point of thinking "he could give him a headache". Juan took a while to hook a good season -even if he was one of the guys who changed my view on Schumavher-, and after he did, he couldn´t replicate it.


It's not that Jacques took that championship or that Montoya took those wins from Schumacher but it is how they did it. They both raced against him with the attitude that the 'bigger they are the harder they fall' and didn't fall into the trap of bowing to his reputation. On track Villeneuve and Montoya went directly for Schumacher and proved that he could be beaten.

Edited by halifaxf1fan, 04 June 2013 - 21:23.


#27 Skinnyguy

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Posted 04 June 2013 - 21:26

It's not that Jacques took that championship or that Montoya took those wins from Schumacher but it is how they did it. They both raced against him with the attitude that the 'bigger they are the harder they fall' and didn't fall into the trap of bowing to his reputation. On track Villeneuve and Montoya went directly for Schumacher and proved that he could be beaten.


Yes, both of them were really keen on taking whatever opportunity to show he wasn´t above the rest. Even a chance to pass him for 6th place turned them on.

But personally I don´t think they manage to prove their point. At least their attitude was refreshing.

#28 PorcupineTroy

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Posted 04 June 2013 - 21:33

I would say 2005 was when he was no longer the very best on the grid. He peaked a few years before that, in my opinion.

#29 Juan Kerr

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Posted 04 June 2013 - 21:51

To be honest I never got to that point I still know he was as good if not better than any other driver, I have seen no evidence to suggest otherwise. The guy is still ultra-fit, sharp and hungry. I'd like him to do the Indycar series. Its abit cheap for him but maybe he can make it rich? With the Ovals and the tech restrictions the series is very fulfilling and interesting to watch.

#30 BoschKurve

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Posted 04 June 2013 - 22:18

I think 2005 was more about the car and tyres than about him. He still did REALLY well, hell, he was 3rd on that car. And even taking those 10 points he gained for free, he was way too close to JPM or Fisichella with a car that should be probably squabling with the Toyotas, Hondas and Williams.

I think that isolating performance he was better in 2005 than in 2003. Still good speed, less mistakes. I´d go as far as saying that he was still impressive that year.


The car definitely factored into it heavily, or really the tires as you mention. But, to go from 2004, to the lone Indy victory (under special circumstances) was really jarring. He managed 3 wins in that dog of a Ferrari in 1996, and almost won the title in '97 with a car that was not the equal of the Williams. Then again, would you say the competition he had to face in 2005 was greater than it was in 1996-1997?

In anyone else's hands, that car definitely would not have been finishing where it was. Montoya and Fisichella were underachievers though when one looks back. JPM had a lot of talent, but he had too much missing in between the ears to become any real credible contender for a world title.

#31 Chick0

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Posted 04 June 2013 - 22:49

2006 after Brazil when he retired...

#32 George Costanza

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Posted 04 June 2013 - 22:54

Late 2004-early 2005, IMO.

1995-2002 were his prime years and his absolute prime year would be 2000.

Yes, I said 2004 because in the later end of season, he lost some speed and made some mistakes that were quite unthinkable in 2001-2002.


Edited by George Costanza, 04 June 2013 - 22:59.


#33 midgrid

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Posted 04 June 2013 - 23:18

The first time I got this feeling was in 2006, as Alonso proved that he was equal to, if not better than, Schumacher in comparable machinery at that stage in their careers. It's difficult to assess 2004 and 2005 as the performance of his cars relative to the rest of the field varied so dramatically.

#34 Seanspeed

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Posted 05 June 2013 - 01:09

I didn't start watching til 2005, so my view of things is probably in some respect muddled by the disjointed way I watched races from before 2005 and missed out on the progressive formation of an opinion. But in other ways, it allows me to see things without having to ever had the 'you're only as good as your last race' effect that we all suffer from to some degree or other.

I would say that I considered Schumacher still top dog until his first retirement. Even if 2003 wasn't Schumacher's best year, he still won the title and had numerous races where he showed he could still be untouchable. 2004 showed he was still absolutely imperious. He did very well in 2005 and while Alonso ended Schumacher's title run, I didn't really consider Alonso to be on Schumacher's level overall. 2006, Schumacher still had moments where you just watched him and it was like, "Damn, this guy is special." Looking back, I perhaps underestimated what Alonso was acheiving a little bit, but I still think Schumacher, on his day, was class of the field.

#35 exmayol

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Posted 05 June 2013 - 02:15

While decline is only natural even in 2006 he still was top of the line, albeit tired. Even the greatest lose from time to time and there is no shame in title going to FA, who was just as strong! The only race that stands out as wasted is Turkey but in the end FM turned out to be a true expert there.

#36 George Costanza

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Posted 05 June 2013 - 02:37

I stated this many times but there is no driver of the current grid that would beat a vintage Schumacher of 1990s.

#37 teejay

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Posted 05 June 2013 - 02:48

Adelaide 1994.

#38 IamFasterthanU

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Posted 05 June 2013 - 04:07

I agree that Schumi + Ferrari combo seemed vulnerable 2003 onward. JPM had no respect for the champ I still remember them fighting for the lead and both ending in gravel. I disagree though with some of the posts above that no driver from the current grid could have challenged Schumi in 90's. Lewis, Kimi, Fernando, Vettel etc. are all very very good and undoubtedly would have been competitive against Schumi. What makes these guys special is even on a bad day they extract the maximum possible out of the car. Guys like DC, Irvine had the speed but were very inconsistent.

#39 Dmitriy_Guller

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Posted 05 June 2013 - 05:58

It's hard to pinpoint the start of his decline, because Schumacher at one point had everything: raw talent, incredible work ethic, and experience. Even when the raw talent started going, the other two factors still kept him on top for quite some time.

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#40 bourbon

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Posted 05 June 2013 - 06:30

In sports, you are only as good as your last performance.

The question asked assumes that everyone agrees that Michael stopped being the boss of the grid at some point before he retired the first time.

If you disagree with that, then I guess you can't answer.


Edited by bourbon, 05 June 2013 - 06:32.


#41 seahawk

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Posted 05 June 2013 - 06:57

Never, F1 is an evolution and every generation of drivers is formed by previous generations. Alonso was probably the first driver which can be seen as a result of the way Schumacher tackled F1, in a similar way as Schumacher was a combination of how Senna and Prost handled F1. It is purely natural that a new generation, which has learned from the previous generation, will better the previous generation at one point in their carreer. But until 2006 MSc was still the benchmark against which all other drivers were measured - so he was the boss.

Edited by seahawk, 05 June 2013 - 07:18.


#42 lustigson

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Posted 05 June 2013 - 07:05

Never, F1 is an evolution and every generation of drivers is formed by previous generations. Alonso was probably the first driver which can be seen as a result of the way Schumacher tackled F1, in a similar way as Schumacher was a combination of how Senna and Prost handled F1. It is purely natural that a new generation, which has learned from the previosu generation, will better the previous generation at one point in their carreer. But until 2006 MSc was still the benchmark against all other drivers were measured - so he was the boss.

+1

And the longer Schumacher is away from F1 — conveniently ignoring his Mercedes years — the more I believe that Schumacher was no doubt one of the, if not THE fastest driver of the past 20 years, but that his abilities were more flattered by the phenomenal team around him — Todt, Brawn, Byrne, et al. — than we might have thought at the time.

This would imply that drivers like Häkkinen, Montoya, Räikkönen and later Alonso could take him on in more or less equal machinery, meaning that Schumacher was never truly THE boss, but just one of the fiercest competitors on track.

#43 Nonesuch

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Posted 05 June 2013 - 07:10

As for the frequent mention of 2005: the fact that Schumacher dragged the Ferrari on Bridgestones to 3rd place in the WDC in 2005 was pretty darn impressive.

Undisputed, though? Perhaps he became that in 1994 after Senna's death. In 1996 he had the excuse of a lacklustre Ferrari. In 1997 it was close between him and Villeneuve, and in 1998 the McLaren was a very, very good car. Perhaps the troublesome start to 1999 is when his status became disputed? But then he had his crash in Silverstone and returned in style in Malaysia, almost so dominant as to ridicule the rest of the grid, including his teammate and reining champion Hakkinen.

He was again great in 2000, but in the summer those two first lap DNFs in Austria and Germany reignited the championship battle. Hakkinen went on to win in Hungary, putting him in the lead of the WDC table. But then came Spa. Spa, where Schumacher reigned. Spa is where he would set things right, and put Ferrari back on track to finally winning WDC.

Then this happened:

Posted Image

Edited by Nonesuch, 05 June 2013 - 07:11.


#44 Beamer

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Posted 05 June 2013 - 07:43

I was never a big fan of Schumacher, Somehow I always found myself rooting for his biggest challengers (jv, mh, jpm, kr, fa), and that just about sums it up I think. Sports is all about emotion, storytelling and hero's. And the best stories are the ones where you can have a 'favourite enemy'. Schumacher was the benchmark and there was me hoping that some newster would emerge to challenge him and come out on top as the new 'hero'. Throughout his (first) career you could never ever dismiss him. He was always a big factor in the championship. He was the one to beat and I remember how impressed I was with Alonso doing that after all the years of the MS/Ferrari reign. I particularly remember the imola 2005 race, cheering on the couch for Alonso to keep MS behind him in a trilling 1on1 battle. That day Alonso proved (to me) that he could be beaten.

And funnily enough I found myself kinda rooting for Schumi in 2006. Hoping the 'old dog' would resurrect ones more. And that season really went to the bitter end. Only 2 races to go and Alonso and Schumacher having exactly the same amount of points... And then his engine explodes while leading Japan... My wife actually came storming into the livingroom to check if I was okay, hearing me yell 'Noooooooo'... :)

Anyway: to me, Schumacher never stopped being the benchmark until he stopped racing (for the first time). He was by far my favourite enemy to beat... :)


#45 David1976

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Posted 05 June 2013 - 07:54

2002. I think he was at his peak through 2003 season and by 2004 he was fractions slower (not that it mattered) and by 2005 he had declined enough to allow a rising Fernando to clinch the title.

Edited by David1976, 05 June 2013 - 07:56.


#46 matthair

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Posted 05 June 2013 - 08:08

2005 when Alonso proved he was the real deal and the new King. Kimi and Montoya were hyped up as his new rivals but in reality they were both exposed as pretenders and failed to beat Michael.

Edited by matthair, 05 June 2013 - 08:09.


#47 lustigson

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Posted 05 June 2013 - 08:41

Ha ha! This bit is correct:

Kimi and Montoya [...] failed to beat Michael.


But this bit:

Kimi and Montoya were hyped up as his new rivals but in reality they were both exposed as pretenders ...


... is wrong. And in a way I'm sad that neither were enabled by their teams and Michelin respectively to take top honours.

#48 sopa

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Posted 05 June 2013 - 08:43

People bring up a lot that by 2004 he was already challenged, but IMO in 2004 Schumi was more of an undisputed king than 2000, which some say is Schumi's prime.

In 2000 Hakkinen was a great rival, they had many close battles on various circuits in similar cars, like Imola, Suzuka, etc. It looked like a closely-matched rivalry. While in 2004 it looked like the grid is full of immature kids, who can't match the supremacy and work-ethic of Schumacher.

#49 matthair

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Posted 05 June 2013 - 08:56

Ha ha! This bit is correct:



But this bit:



... is wrong. And in a way I'm sad that neither were enabled by their teams and Michelin respectively to take top honours.


They had their chances, at the end of the day were not good enough to beat Schumacher. Their 2003 cars were good enough.

#50 noikeee

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Posted 05 June 2013 - 09:00

It kinda went along with his cars. Up until 2002 there was no question whatsoever he was the boss, by 2003 I wondered "well maybe these Kimi and Montoya lads are actually pretty good", in 2004 he was back to winning right about everything and there was no doubt again, by 2005 I thought "well Alonso and Kimi are maybe as good as him, but he's doing miracles with a midfield car so maybe he's still better, this is an unfair comparison".

For me 2006 was the season that made it clear he didn't have an edge anymore, because the Renault and the Ferrari looked very very well matched and it seemed as if whoever made least mistakes between him and Alonso would win. Well, it was right about a draw - but I was convinced at that point Alonso was his equal. I was also convinced about Kimi but in hindsight (after Kimi and Alonso's stints in Ferrari) only Alonso stood the test of time for me.