Like Thor can never function without the hammer and the great Greek god Poseidon cannot be possibly conceived minus the trident, Formula 1 cannot be imagined without Michael Schumacher.
To put it simply, Michael Schumacher was the hammer F1 needed and still does, to appeal to fans and a worldwide audience.
There are drivers who come and go and become part of a cultural firmament.
But Michael Schumacher’s a legend that continues to this very day.
It’s as if, he’s never been made to sit back in rest.
And he hasn’t been allowed that luxury.
Funnily enough, Michael, who retired in 2006 but came back to the sport in 2010, couldn’t keep himself off from a sport that won him everything, and also a podium at the European GP of 2012, in a Mercedes that he led as the number 1 driver having spent arduous hours (beforehand) toward the car’s functionality, testing and another mechanism.
Today, even as his family faces the most daunting part of their lives- with the man who once climbed the greatest feats in the sport being reduced to a vegetative state- Michael is being thought of.
And he’s not being thought of since he’s in duress. Because there’s a genuine concern for the individual.
Truth be told, Michael is not just a famous name, he is a name that commands attention, almost instantaneously.
Balancing the fine line between a sport known for testing man’s mortality and for producing efforts that are immortal, Michael Schumacher spent his life chasing cars, dominating race- tracks and soaking in the view from winning 7 world titles; the top step of the podium.
High-speed corners, fast-paced turns, spine-bending hairpin bends, and driving at speeds that defied a sub-human and spoke of paranormal-existence in the world’s most expensive sport; there was nothing that Michael Schumacher didn’t do in Formula 1.
He won 91 races, clinched a pole in 68, got on the podium on 155 occasions, and broke the hearts of his opponents whilst lifting those who’d gathered to see Grand Prix warmly hail its kaiser.
And in so doing, Schumacher lifted, on the might of his achievements, the mantle of F1 racing, where he was both, the precedent others were compelled to follow and the yardstick most simply failed to achieve.
If there was a move you couldn’t do, you thought to yourself, only a Michal Schumacher would’ve pulled that, consider, the thinning of the gap to Mika at Austria in 1998, the defeat handed to Alonso at Magny-Cours, France, 2004, the win under wet weather at Catalunya in 1996 and whatnot.
How else are you to put it?
You do not get a part of the track at the famous Nurburgring named after you.
You do not draw comparisons from the greatest aviator (or fighter pilot) during the peak of the tensions of the First World War.
Michael Schumacher was, quite simply, the last word on Formula 1 racing for the lines drawn of physical strain and iron-willed concentration he towed with all the time, increasing them in a manner that prompted one to remember the word by Burce Lle
Consider an Olympian of a sport running in an Olympic event?
While there was Hakkinen at first and Alonso, who came later, few could actually corner the Hurth-born driver who wasn’t perhaps just fast, both also competitive, someone who wasn’t just competitive but ruthless in his handling of the Grand Prix car.
There was nothing that Schumacher achieved that did not inspire others who followed his career.
And maybe that was the thing.
You didn’t get inspired by Michael’s feats alone.
He made you perspire.
Undaunted was he particularly when he’d drop down a few places on the grid and be left with nothing apart from executing a bold catch-up to the front of the grid, of the kinds we saw at the Austrian GP.
If there was one phrase you’d use for describing the 1998 Austrian GP, then it would be ‘comeback!’
On that day, that year, Michael proved that he could fight the weather gods if that’s what it took to prove his muscle in racing.
And so, he did.
1996 Spanish GP
But no tribute to Michael Schumacher can ever be rendered complete without drawing attention on his 1996′ feat at Catalunya.
At the 1996 Spanish Grand Prix, the legend of Michael Schumacher, who picked up a first race win with Benetton, was birthed.
On 2 June 1996, Schumacher, after spinning twice on the opening laps of a race marred by spectacular rain managed to win.
Amid 55,000 stunned fans who didn’t even see what was coming, Schumacher was crowned a race winner and therefore, a feisty Regenmeister.
Yet, there was more to Michael that never met the eye but just punctured the vision of others who came to challenge his ascendancy.
The mere reflection of his face on the visor of a car in front would signal something ominous.
It would mean to Mika, Alesi, Villeneuve- those closer to him in age- and also to Kimi, Alonso, and Button- a young trinity that debuted when Schumi had reached his peak- that it would be an exercise in futility to curb Michael.
Alonso learned this the hard way in 2003-04 and it took quite a lot on the part of the Spaniard- who, quite like Michael, has a museum to himself in Northern Spain- to beat Michael.
To be honest, true to the changing nature of the sport, a titan rising at the fall of another, in the post-Senna decade, there’s been only Michael Schumacher.
In the decade after his retirement, we are seeing Hamilton and Vettel engage in a fight for ultimate ascendancy.
But having said that, can anyone surpass Michael’s flair to compete and his instant readiness to jump into the midst of an all-out attack on a rival?
Keep Fighting Michael, forever and ever!