Italian GP THROWBACK: When Michael Schumacher Cried His Heart Out After Equaling Senna at Monza

Published 09/10/2021, 6:07 AM EDT
MONTE CARLO, MONACO – Michael Schumacher of Germany and Ferrari looks on in the Ferrari pit during the qualifying session for the Monaco Formula One Grand Prix in Monte Carlo, Monaco. (Photo by Vladimir Rys/Bongarts/Getty Images)


Monza has been a circuit filled with emotion. While we have a thrilling title race in front of us, almost two decades ago, the Italian Grand Prix was nothing short of astounding. It was also the race Michael Schumacher equaled the record set by his hero. Looking back at the 2000 race in Monza, Schumacher’s emotional reaction to the race win stays fresh in our minds.

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There was a lot of pressure on Michael Schumacher ahead of the race. For the five races building up to the Italian GP, Schumacher just couldn’t deliver. He had the car; the Ferrari showed immense pace on the track, yet the results just weren’t there. Additionally, he faced tough competition from his rival, Mika Hakkinen, who had made an unforgettable move on Schumi at Spa that season.

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The frustrations built up for the German as he faced the challenging track of Monza. But after a testing race at the circuit, the Ferrari led the grid to the finish line. Schumacher stood on the highest step of the podium and celebrated with the Tifosi. An overwhelming sight on a normal race, the emotion was magnified for Schumacher.

His 41st victory was a release of it all. While no one really knows what clicked inside the champion, the race itself was the perfect explanation. Further, he was reassured of his position in the sport after equaling Ayrton Senna‘s win record.

A hero to the future of the sport, Schumacher burst into tears at the press conference. He later answered the press“It is obvious why this win means so much, here in Italy. We have been in some difficulties in the last few races and now we are back on the road. It is my 41st victory and the crowd outside has just been amazing, much more so than when I won here in 1998. I don’t know why.”

A heavy Italian GP for Michael Schumacher and the grid

The 2000 season was a strong one for Ferrari. The start of the season saw Schumacher take the win in four out of six races. However, the team faced a threat from McLaren’s Mika Hakkinen, who had taken the lead in the driver’s championship before the Italian GP. All eyes were on Michael to get the lead back.

The Prancing Horses locked the front row- a promising start for Schumacher. While the German took the lead, Hakkinen caught up with him. However, soon there were multiple collisions on turn 1. Further, the carnage continued two turns ahead; all half a lap from the start.

Death loomed over the race as a marshall was killed because of the collision. The tires from one of the Jordans hit the race marshall, fatally injuring him.

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After the race restart, Michael held on tight to his winning position, facing a tough fight till the end. Michael Schumacher went on to win the race, which put him two points behind Hakkinen in the championship.

Despite Schumacher’s steely image, he broke down after the tiring victory. Mika, Senna’s former teammate, pacified his rival; a showcase of immense respect from the Finn. Schumacher went on to win the 2000 championship and the rest is history.

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Not much has changed as we head to Monza 21 years later. Another tantalizing championship battle, another potential record-setting race. Will Lewis Hamilton win his 100th race or will Verstappen impede the reigning champion?

Watch this story: Insane Michael Schumacher Records That Lewis Hamilton Hasn’t Broken Yet

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Shreya Sanjeev

323 articles

Shreya Sanjeev is an F1 author at EssentiallySports. Having attained a journalism degree from St Xavier's College, she finds comfort in the sound of her keyboard while typing and excitement in the sound of F1 cars speeding on a track. A street circuit and Daniel Ricciardo fan through and through, Shreya claims the 2018 Monaco GP to be one of her favorite races of all time.

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