Three times Michael Schumacher and Lewis Hamilton battled in F1

With Michael Schumacher celebrating his 54th birthday today, takes a look back at three memorable battles with fellow seven-time F1 champion Lewis Hamilton.
Three times Michael Schumacher and Lewis Hamilton battled in F1

After three seasons away from F1, Schumacher made a surprise return to the sport with Mercedes alongside Nico Rosberg.

His comeback was ultimately a failure as he was largely out-performed by Rosberg, while also being unable to win a race.

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However, Schumacher showed flashes of brilliance during his three-year stint back in F1.

He was quickest in qualifying at the 2012 Monaco Grand Prix before dropping down on the grid due to a grid penalty. 

Schumacher also finished on the podium in Valencia - his only rostrum appearance between 2010 and 2012.

The German was still sharp wheel-to-wheel and enjoyed some intense scraps with Hamilton - who was only a one-time champion at the time with McLaren.

China 2010

These two F1 greats first went head-to-head at the Chinese Grand Prix.

On Lap 16, Hamilton in the quicker McLaren found himself behind Schumacher.

Three times Michael Schumacher and Lewis Hamilton battled in F1

With the rain falling, conditions were tricky as drivers continued to circulate on the slick tyres.

On the approach to the hairpin in Shanghai, Hamilton tried to overtake Schumacher by braking later as the latter went defensive.

Schumacher defended masterfully by braking late and forcing Hamilton to delay his turn-in into the corner.

The same thing happened on Lap 17, but Hamilton saw it coming, pulling off a conventional switchback to complete the overtake.

Monaco 2011

Their battle at the 2011 Monaco Grand Prix was short-lived.

On an aggressive fight through the field, Hamilton lunged one up the inside of Schumacher into Sainte Devote (Turn 1).

Schumacher had no choice but to give up the position, with Hamilton pulling off a Max Verstappen-type move 10 years before their intense title battle in 2021.

“What a dirty driver,” Hamilton said over team radio after overtaking Schumacher.

Italy 2011

Their best battle came later that season at the 2011 Italian Grand Prix.

Schumacher managed to get ahead of Hamilton at the Safety Car restart following the Lap 1 mayhem caused by HRT driver Vitantonio Luizzi. 

Mercedes’ superior straight-line speed meant that Schumacher was able to defend from the quicker McLaren of Hamilton.

Three times Michael Schumacher and Lewis Hamilton battled in F1

However, the former Ferrari driver wasn’t playing by the rulebook as he was warned by the stewards on two occasions for making multiple defensive moves.

Hamilton did end up on the grass at one point, but ultimately got through.

While it was a great lesson in defence from Schumacher, there was an element of cautiousness from Hamilton after an incident with Kamui Kobayashi at Spa the week before.

At the time, McLaren boss Martin Whitmarsh described Schumacher’s robust defence as “pretty harsh”.

"Pretty harsh,” he said. “I am not the least impartial but the fact is, I think he was warned twice by the stewards during the event so they presumably saw it was a bit tough. I think the one where he had Lewis on the grass was a scary as hell."

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