Ahead of the 2021 British Grand Prix, Damon Hill has recalled his 1994 race win and the controversy that surrounded Michael Schumacher.
Schumacher, racing for Benetton at the time, took on the Williams of Hill for the 1994 World title, the German winning it by a solitary point.
There was a fair amount of controversy along the way, some would say part of Schumacher’s legacy, as he was twice disqualified that season alone. The first of which came at the British Grand Prix.
Hill started the race from pole position, and was a bit perplexed when Schumacher overtook him on the formation lap, only to drop back behind him.
He did it again when the drivers did yet another formation lap following Martin Brundle’s engine failure on the previous one.
Hill wasn’t impressed and got on the radio to his team, the end result being a five-second stop-go penalty for Schumacher for passing on the formation lap.
He had to take it by lap 21 but didn’t, forcing Race Control to show him the black flag which he ignored.
Benetton claimed there was a misunderstanding, prompting Race Control to rescind the black flag with Schumacher taking the penalty on lap 27.
Hill went on to win the grand prix, his one and only victory at Silverstone, with Schumacher second.
The German was later handed a two-race ban by the World Motor Sport Council for his antics, out of the Italian and Portuguese races, while also being disqualified from the Silverstone race. He still won the title by a point.
Speaking on ‘The Silverstone Podcast’, Hill recalled: “It was very odd because we went off on the parade lap, the first one, and Michael sped off into the lead.
“You are not supposed to do that, you are supposed to not pass the guy on pole position, but he went off on a bit of a lick. I thought that was a bit odd.
“I ignored it and we lined up on the grid and Martin Brundle’s engine blew up on the grid so we had to another parade lap.
“We abandoned that start, had to do another one and he did the same thing so I got on the radio to let the team know there is something a bit funny about that, he’s not supposed to do that.
“I guess the stewards took a view to it so at some point he got a penalty but then he ignored the black flag in the race and went onto the end, completely ignoring it.
“So then he got himself into more trouble.”
That wasn’t Schumacher’s only controversial moment at a British Grand Prix.
In 1998 he won the race with Ferrari while in the pit lane where he was serving a penalty.
“He finished the race in the pit lane, taking the penalty in the pit lane, which is one of Ross Brawn’s clever little ploys to reduce the penalty,” Hill said.
“Very clever man is Ross Brawn.”