In any Formula 1 race, you would expect a car being stuck in one gear to be fatal to any driver’s chances of crossing the finish line, never mind in the podium places.
Try telling that to Michael Schumacher. After doing exactly that at the 1994 Spanish Grand Prix, even race winner Damon Hill couldn’t help but look at the German dumbstruck by what this young man had managed to accomplish.
Schumacher was not yet a world champion when he rocked up in Catalonia in late May that year. His first title came at the end of that season, and he would add six more to it before retiring – for the second and final time – after the Brazilian Grand Prix on November 25, 2012.
The mood in the F1 paddock was a sombre one, ahead of the Spanish Grand Prix. Just a few weeks earlier Ayrton Senna and Roland Ratzenberger had lost their lives on that ill-fated race weekend at Imola, and in the former’s place at Williams would hand an F1 debut to a young Scot named David Coulthard.