1993 was a disappointing year in many ways, with many good qualifying performances thwarted by a lack of reliability with the car. He was set to win in Monaco when a ’50 cent’ part failed, causing hydraulic failure. Also, a problem with the traction control system led to lost places at the start of at least two races, possibly costing him victory in the Belgian Grand Prix. A string of podium finishes, as well as another win offset that to an extent, bringing him fourth in the World Championship.

1994 was a tumultuous and tragic year. Tragic, with the deaths of the rookie Roland Ratzenberger and the brilliant triple World Champion Ayrton Senna at Imola, as well as the crash of Karl Wendlinger at Monaco. Tumultuous, as allegations of traction control were levelled at the Benetton team, the passing of Damon Hill on the warm-up lap at Silverstone and then not responding to the black flag, Verstappen’s pit-stop fire at Hockenheim, the ‘too-thin’ plank at Spa and finally the collision with Hill at the final race of the season at Adelaide topped off a season full of ups and downs as he won 8 races and became World Champion. It was a year that many thought would be dominated by Senna, but it was not to be. Michael himself believed that this may well have occurred, with a statement made during a post-race interview at Adelaide saying he would like to give the World Championship to Senna. In Barcelona, Michael finished second in what was probably his best ever drive, as for three-quarters of the race the car was stuck in 5th gear. It was only the combination of the flexibility of the Zetec-R engine, Michael’s skill as well as some of the techniques he had learned in Sports-Prototype racing to maximize corner speed that allowed him to finish the race so well.

1995 started off controversially when both Michael and David Coulthard were disqualified from the Brazilian Grand Prix over fuel irregularities. The FIA’s subsequent decision over the appeal confused the teams as the drivers got their points back while the constructors didn’t! When Michael crashed at Imola, speculation from the press said he had ‘cracked’ under pressure. The next few races certainly did not provide any more evidence of this being the case. Another collision with Hill at Silverstone lead to speculation of a bitter feud between Michael and Damon, which both parties denied. A wet and dry race at Spa led to more sparks as a minor clash between the cars when Hill on wets tried to pass Michael on slicks in wet conditions at Les Combes, as well as claims of blocking only led to further claims of a feud, not helped at Monza when Hill and Schumacher went off again together.

The remainder of the season was reasonably uncontroversial, as Michael took 3 wins, including one at the Nürburgring where he charged from 40+ seconds behind to win the race, after passing Alesi around the outside with just 2 laps to go. Winning 9 races for the season, equalling Nigel Mansell’s 1992 record, becoming World Champion for a second time, (the youngest double champion), as well as helping Benetton secure their first Constructors’ Championship, in a car many acknowledged was not as good as the Williams, made the achievements even more meritorious. In fact, it will be a year that he may well find hard (if not impossible) to beat.

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