Race of my life: Michael Schumacher on 2000 Japanese GP

Michael Schumacher chose the 2000 Japanese Grand Prix as the race of his life shortly before suffering head injuries in a skiing accident in 2013.

Race of my life: Michael Schumacher on 2000 Japanese GP

As Motorsport.com launches the second episode of the Race of My Life podcast series, we take a look back at the day the German finally claimed his first drivers' title with Ferrari.

Race: 2000 Japanese Grand Prix, Suzuka

Car: Ferrari F1-2000

All my life, I will never forget that radio signal from Ross [Brawn]. I was driving down the pitlane after my second stop, and he said over the radio: 'It's looking good, it's looking good.'

I was very tense, and fully expecting him to say: 'It was looking good,' but suddenly he said: 'It's looking bloody good!'

I didn't expect that it would work out after the second pitstop. My two last laps before the pitstop were not very good. I had been caught in traffic, and had had to overtake a Benetton that had spun off the track. And then came Ross's radio message - unbelievable.

I realised immediately that I had emerged from the pitlane in the lead, that if I made no mistakes and there were no problems with the car, then it was in our grasp, because overtaking is almost impossible at Suzuka.

The good thing was that I had to concentrate the whole time, because it was drizzling and various sections of the track were very dark where it had just been resurfaced. You couldn't see clearly whether it was wet or not.

And then the moment when I crossed the line - crazy! Up to then I hadn't dared feel any joy, because I wanted to be absolutely sure and get that finishing line behind me.

Michael Schumacher, Ferrari F1 2000

Michael Schumacher, Ferrari F1 2000

Photo by: Sutton Images

Later I was repeatedly asked what my predominant feelings were at that moment, and on no single occasion was I able to find the right words. I didn't know what to do with this happiness.

I suddenly felt trapped in the car, trapped in my Ferrari, as if I was about to burst. I banged so hard on the steering wheel they thought it was broken, and, as a precaution, it had to be taken out of service.

Looking back, I have to say that this race was something very special for me. Not only because it brought me the title, but also because it was such a high-class race. It really was racing at its top level.

For over 40 laps Mika [Hakkinen] and I did almost identical times, like a perpetual qualifying lap. It was certainly one of the best races I have ever driven, if not the best. Mika was fantastic and pushed me to the very limits.

I have never suffered so badly after a party. From Japan we went on holiday to Thailand and it took me two days to get over the after-effects.

 

 

shares
comments
Racing Life after F1: Giancarlo Fisichella
Previous article

Racing Life after F1: Giancarlo Fisichella

Next article

Russell hopes for testing before 2020 F1 season starts

Russell hopes for testing before 2020 F1 season starts
The key F1 management call Ferrari must make to avoid more defeat Prime

The key F1 management call Ferrari must make to avoid more defeat

OPINION: Mattia Binotto’s departure from Ferrari will naturally bring a range of changes across the Formula 1 team. But how the changes shape up and the impact they could have is set to be dictated by a key direction Ferrari’s top dogs will need to pick

Formula 1
Nov 30, 2022
The difference between Mercedes’ stumble and the fall of F1 giants Prime

The difference between Mercedes’ stumble and the fall of F1 giants

OPINION: Mercedes endured its worst season of the hybrid Formula 1 era, but was mercifully spared its first winless campaign in over a decade late on. It has owned up to the mistakes it made which led to its troubled W13. And while its task to return to title-challenging contention is not small, its 2022 season seems more like a blip than the beginning of a downward spiral.

Formula 1
Nov 29, 2022
The physical focus bringing out the best from Esteban Ocon Prime

The physical focus bringing out the best from Esteban Ocon

Esteban Ocon likes to point out he’s the first driver since Lewis Hamilton to emerge from a spell as Fernando Alonso’s teammate with a superior overall points record. While some may disagree, as LUKE SMITH discovered, the 2021 Hungarian GP winner reckons it’s not just luck which has made him France’s pre-eminent Formula 1 driver of the moment…

Formula 1
Nov 28, 2022
How Red Bull's dynamic leader Mateschitz shaped its F1 philosophy Prime

How Red Bull's dynamic leader Mateschitz shaped its F1 philosophy

The death of Dietrich Mateschitz last month has not only deprived Red Bull of its visionary founder, it has shorn Formula 1 of one of its most influential benefactors. Mateschitz himself was famously media-shy, preferring to let the brand do the talking on his behalf. And, while it’s now normal to speak of Red Bull F1 titles and champions made, Mateschitz never assumed it would be easy or even possible – as ANTHONY ROWLINSON discovered during this previously unpublished interview from 2006…

Formula 1
Nov 27, 2022
Can Mercedes break Formula 1's cycle of doom? Prime

Can Mercedes break Formula 1's cycle of doom?

OPINION: Teams that have dominated for long periods throughout Formula 1's history often take years to get back to the top of the tree once they've slipped down. But it remains to be seen whether the same will happen to Mercedes after a challenging 2022 season

Formula 1
Nov 24, 2022
What hurt Perez most in his ill-fated fight for second in Abu Dhabi Prime

What hurt Perez most in his ill-fated fight for second in Abu Dhabi

Arguably the favourite in the battle to finish second-best in 2022's Formula 1 standings, Sergio Perez's two-stop strategy at Abu Dhabi couldn't take him ahead of Charles Leclerc when the music stopped - and several key factors ultimately precluded him from the much-coveted runner-up spot.

Formula 1
Nov 23, 2022
The Abu Dhabi momentum that can propel Leclerc and Ferrari to F1 2023 success Prime

The Abu Dhabi momentum that can propel Leclerc and Ferrari to F1 2023 success

OPINION: Charles Leclerc achieved his target of sealing runner-up in the 2022 world championship with a masterful drive behind Max Verstappen in Abu Dhabi. And that race contained key elements that may help him, and Ferrari, go one better in Formula 1 2023

Formula 1
Nov 22, 2022
2022 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix Driver Ratings Prime

2022 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix Driver Ratings

The 2022 Formula 1 season came to a close at the Yas Marina Circuit, where the battle for second in the standings was decided, the wins in a season record extended and a retiring four-time world champion bowed out on a high. Here's how we rated the drivers

Formula 1
Nov 21, 2022