Spanish GP

Today in Formula 1, any technological glitch or problem would mean an aborted race start on a Sunday. This was not the case in the 90’s and the race wasn’t stopped for such “small” things .The Spanish GP in the early 1990’s was plagued by a tradition that the lights would not go green on the  race start and 1995 was no exception. Here we bring to you the iconic 1995 Spanish Grand Prix in which Michael Schumacher won to go on top of the driver’s standings and  his Benetton-Renault team secured its second ever 1-2 finish on a Sunday to go on top of the constructor’s standings above Williams.

Barcelona, Spain. 12-14 May 1995. Michael Schumacher (Benetton B195 Renault), 1st position, on the finish straight, action. World Copyright: LAT Photographic. Ref: 95 ESP 09.
Barcelona, Spain. 12-14 May 1995. Michael Schumacher (Benetton B195 Renault), 1st position, on the finish straight. World Copyright: LAT Photographic.

After having failed to beat the Williams team using the 1994 trick of making one extra pit stop, the Benetton engineers and Michael Schumacher decided to try a new strategy of making one pit stop less in the race. Not only did the strategy work, it produced wonders for the Benetton-Renault team giving them a 1-2 finish with Michael Schumacher winning the race from teammate Johnny Herbert. This left Schumacher at the top of the Driver’s Championship and the team on top of the Constructor’s Championship overtaking Williams.

The Spanish GP weekend started with Ferrari securing a 1-2 finish on Friday in practice. Hard work done by the Benetton engineers overnight meant that Schumacher produced a lap 6 tenths faster than anyone on the track and made him the pole sitter come race day. The Ferrari duo secured 2nd and 3rd while Williams had to settle for 4th and 5th. McLaren had the worse of it with Hakkinen and Mansell in 9th and 10th respectively.

In the finest traditions of Spanish wiring, the green light never came on to signal the start of the race. The drivers kept waiting on the grid like sitting ducks for the Spanish GP to start. This meant that both Coulthard and Mansell went from 4th to 7th and 10th to 14th respectively.

b195-schu-bene-1995-magn
Copyright : Renault

Schumacher kept his lead at the front from Alesi and Hill with teammate Berger in 4th. Eventually, Mansell had a spin and stopped in the pits declaring his McLaren to be “virtually impossible to drive.” This was the last Formula 1 saw of the former world champion Nigel Mansell. The Williams duo made an early pitstop while Alesi and Schumacher continued onward and came out ahead even after completing their pitstops.

Alesi could have challenged for the lead later on but his engine blew up leaving Schumacher with a comfortable lead over the Willaims duo. Towards the end of the race, Coulthard had to stop because of a gearbox problem.

But on the last lap, Damon suffered a  gearbox hydraulic system failure which meant he dropped from 2nd to 4th and left Schumacher’s teammate Herbert in 2nd – who would score his first podium in F1 – and Ferrari’s Berger in 3rd.

Spanish GP
Copyright : Autosport

Not only did this mean celebration for the Benetton team but Schumacher’s victory silenced all doubting the German’s ability to continue the success he enjoyed in 1994. Schumacher would go on to win his second Driver’s Championship that year and that too back to back.

He might have won a majority of his battles on the track, but he fights another battle at his home currently where he is kept under medical investigation and his situation still remains critical. #KeepFightingSchumacher

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