Michael Schumacher and Ayrton Senna are widely regarded as two of the best ever, to have sat behind the steering wheel of an F1 car. The duo amassed a total of 10 world championship titles between them. Former F1 driver, Riccardo Patrese (who was a pretty good driver himself) had the honour of racing against the both of them. Patrese tells us what made these two legends different from other world-class F1 drivers.
Riccardo Patrese recently appeared on the ‘Beyond the Grid‘ podcast. Talking about Schumacher, he said, “The fastest teammate I ever had was Michael. Alan Jones was a world champion. Fantastic. Nelson (Piquet) was a world champion. Fantastic. Nigel (Mansell) too. But the one whose speed was really outstanding, and who could do incredible things by car was Michael.”
Additionally, he said, “He is the only driver, perhaps besides Senna, who could win races with an inferior car and even fight for the world championship. The two could make that small but subtle difference with a car that wasn’t actually a winning car.”
Furthermore, Patrese said, “When Alan Jones became world champion, he had the best car. Nelson (Piquet) too. Nigel (Mansell) had such a superior car in 1992 that I was his only opponent. But the speed Michael Schumacher could go, that was different to me than any other driver I have ever seen.”
Riccardo Patrese and Michael Schumacher were teammates at Benetton for the 1993 season. The duo helped Benetton finish third in the constructors’ championship. Schumacher finished 4th in the drivers’ championship with 52 points while Patrese finished 5th with 20 points. After that season, Patrese announced his retirement. In the next season, Patrese’s former teammate, Schumi clinched his first world championship title. He repeated the trick in the following season as well. Then came his move to Ferrari in 1996, and as they say, the rest is history.