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Classic onboard - Schumacher makes waves in 1991

11 May 2016

This week’s dive into the archive takes us back to the inaugural F1 race at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya in 1991, where a young rookie named Michael Schumacher added to a burgeoning reputation with a stunning opening lap...

Michael Schumacher had just three Grands Prix under his belt when Formula One racing travelled to the newly-created circuit in Barcelona for the first time in September 1991, but the young German's reputation was already rising rapidly. Events in Spain only added to that - not only did he out-qualify team mate and triple world champion Nelson Piquet (Piquet was 10th, Schumacher 5th), but he was on the attack as soon as the lights went out. On a damp but drying track, Schumacher jumped Williams' Riccardo Patrese at the start and then went one better at Turn 5, sending his Benetton down the inside of title challenger Nigel Mansell to seize third. The charge wasn't over: Schumacher attacked the McLaren of championship leader Ayrton Senna at Turn 10, even nosing ahead of the Brazilian on the exit - although Senna used all his wiles to eventually fend Schumacher off. Sixty-four laps later it would be Mansell who eventually triumphed - his fightback including one of the most iconic moves of the era on Senna - while Schumacher eventually had to settle for sixth, a spin while trying to pass Gerhard Berger proving costly.