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F1 Gold | The time Michael Schumacher won the 2004 French GP with 4 pit stops!

2020-04-01 16:00

Charlen Raymond

michael schumacher,f1,formula 1,ferrari,

Michael Schumacher celebrates his French F1 Grand Prix victory at the Magny-Cours Circuit on July 4, 2004. Image: Mark Thompson/Getty Images

In 2004, Michael Schumacher was embroiled in a Formula 1 championship battle with Ferrari team mate, Rubens Barrichello.

Barrichello may have been his title rival, but Ferrari never allowed him to make any impression on Schumacher during a race. Unless circumstances allowed it.

At the 2004 French GP, the tenth round of the season, Schumacher lined up second on the grid alongside pole sitter, Ferando Alonso of Renault. When the lights went out, Schumacher tucked his Ferrari behind Alonso’s Renault, and bided his time before making his moves for the lead of the race.

A big risk

Schumacher’s talking may have happened on the track, but on the pit wall, Ross Brawn (the mastermind behind Schumi’s seven titles), followed through with a decision Schumacher's race strategist, Luca Baldisserri, made just hours before the race started.

Brawn took the proverbial bull by the horns and put Schumacher on a four-stop strategy. That’s right, Michael Schumacher came into the pits four times to either change tyres or put in fuel, or both. And remember, back then a pit stop could last up to seven or ten seconds - a far-cry from the two seconds we have today!

But the risk paid off and Schumacher would claim victory ahead of Alonso.

A legend of the sport

Schumacher retired from F1 at the end of 2006, following 16 seasons in the sport (1991 - 2006). He would return in 2010 to race for the Mercedes team on a three-year contract, and made his final exit from the sport in 2012.

A year after his final exit, Schumacher was involved in a skiing accident while on holiday with his family during December 2013. the head injuries he suffered left him in a medically induced coma and very little is known about his condition - to this day.

READ: Don't believe the hype - little known about Schumacher's condition or treatment

Over both his F1 'careers', Schumacher entered 308 races, of which he started in 306 of them. In 1994 and 1995 he won his first two championships with Benetton, and five on the trot (2000 - 2004) with Ferrari.

michael schumacher,f1,formula 1,ferrari,

Michael Schumacher wins the French F1 Grand Prix victory at the Magny-Cours Circuit on July 4, 2004. Image: Mark Thompson/Getty Images

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