With seven titles Michael Schumacher is the most successful driver of Formula 1 history. The road to his first world championship in 1994 was one of the stonestest. In the end, the decision was a curious one.
Eight grueling, emotional and sometimes tragic months, as well as 15 intense races, were behind Formula One drivers on November 13, 1994, marking the last start of the season year prepared. In Adelaide, the entire season culminated in a real showdown between the two best drivers of the year.
On one side stood the Briton Damon Hill. The Williams driver came to Australia with plenty of tailwind and four victories from the previous five races. Hill had shortened the gap to World Championship leader Michael Schumacher to 91:92 before the last race.
Schumacher had caught the punctual season finale on the other side. After "zeros" in Belgium, Italy and Portugal, the then 25-year-old won the Grand Prix of Europe and took second place in Japan.
>>> The World Championship final score of 1994 in the overview
Pure Drama: Pure Joy at Schumacher
The calculation before the final race was, at least from Schumacher's point of view, simple: He has to finish in front of Damon Hill to claim the title. In qualifying, the Benetton driver fulfilled his duty. The pole position went to Nigel Mansell, Schumacher was second, but ahead of his big adversary, who started the race in third.
>>> The season 1994 in the overview
What finally took place on Sunday at the Adelaide Street Circuit was ultimately one of the most dramatic decisions of all time in World Cup history.
When Schumacher was later referred to the crucial situation and crash with Damon Hill, he described his emotional world as follows: "I did not know what happened to Damon but of course we knew that we both had a lot of lead over the fourth, fifth and sixth, so it should not be a problem for Damon to catch up on that one point lead I had. "
It was only when a marshal informed him that Damon Hill had given up the race that the German's perplexity dissolved into pure joy.
It was the The start of an era that Formula One had never seen before. The German should secure himself over the years six more world titles – until today an unrivaled mark. The race in Adelaide 1994 is only one chapter of many. Although one of the oddest variety.