In a Formula One career spanning more than two decades, Michael Schumacher reigned the sports as no one ever did.
Since breaking into the F1 mould in 1991 as a 22 year-old rookie, the German went onto win seven F1 Drivers` Championship titles in 11 years, which includes five on trot from 2000 to 2004 with Ferrari. This is still one record, sporting fans consider anonymous to domination.
Here is a low-down on each one of his seven titles.
1994 - The Arrival
Michael Schumacher won his first individual title by a single point, over Damon Hill of United Kingdom. Driving in a Ford chassis, Benetton`s Schumi started the season by winning the first four races of the season. In the remaining 12 races, he managed to win another four to wrest the title from a hugely impressive Hill.
The season, which also witnessed the tragic deaths of sports undisputed king Ayrton Senna and Austrian rookie, Ronald Ratzenberger over the San Marino Grand Prix weekend, is still considered as one of the closest in the title fight. Ironically, Schumacher`s arrival was marked by the departure of one legend from the sport.
1995 - A Double
Schumacher`s rivalry with Damon Hill continues! The German won his second successive title, again beating Hill, though this time in a more convincing manner - by a respectable 33 points. Still living with the deaths of Senna and Ratzenberger, the season marked the arrival of lower capacity engine, from 3.5 litres to 3.00 litres and an assortment of enhanced safety measures.
In the season, contested over 17 races, Schumacher won nine races while his main rival, Hill captured four, thus reducing the field into a two team, or rather a two-men fight. Schumi`s performance helped his team, Benetton won the Constructor`s title, which was eluded in the previous season.
2000 - In The Cusp of Greatness
The season marked the beginning of the famous Ferrari era in F1 history. After spending four seasons without a title with the team, Schumacher regained the title last won in 1995 with 108 points, 19 ahead of Mercedes` Mika Hakkinen. In doing so, Schumi helped the legendary Italian marquee win their first World Driver`s title in 21 years.
Despite retirements in Monaco, France, Austria and his home GP in Germany, Schumacher recorded nine race wins with another two podium finishes. With his team partner, Rubens Barrichello, who finished four in the individual championship, helped the prancing horse win the team championship.
2001 - Domination is The Name
The prodigious German continues his domination for the second year running in the same livery. The season further proved Schumacher`s master-class as he won nine out of the 17 races. He also finished second in Brazil, Canada and Great Briton.
Schumacher`s domination was such that, the individual title was already decided, of course, in his favour with four races left in the season. Briton David Coulthard, who finished second in the driver`s championship could only muster 65 points, another 58 behind the German.
2002 - For The Record
Michael Schumacher`s first major record arrived as he equalled Juan Manuel Fangio`s long standing record of five world championship titles. The season also witnessed many other records coming his way.
Despite the controversy involving his team-mate Rubens Barrichello over team order at the Austrian GP, in which the Brazilian was asked to slow down to gift Schumi the race win, it was season of excellence from the German.
Schumacher recorded 11 wins in the 17-races season, a record until his compatriot, Sebastian Vettel broke it in the 2013 season. In the remaining six races, Schumacher finished on the podium all six times, thus setting the record of fishing all the races of a season on podium. He won the title with six races to go, 67 ahead of his team-mate Rubens Barrichello.
2003 - Mettle in The Grid
The season is still remembered as one the closest championship fights, with more than five drivers in contention for the individual trophy in the initial part of the season. After comfortable wins in the previous seasons, Schumi`s record breaking season as the most successful driver, witnessed him fighting for points in majority of the races.
After an indifferent start to the season, where he failed to finish on podium in the first three races, Schumacher won the next three races in San Marino, Spain and Austria. It was followed by wins in Canada, Italy and USA. However, still requiring one more point to become the only person the win six titles in the sports history, Schumi finished 8th starting from 14th in the grid in the season`s finale at Japan`s Suzuka Circuit. With the one point thus gained, he became arguably the greatest driver. In the final count, he got 93 points and pipped Mercedes` Kimi by a meagre two points.
2004 - An Enduring Story
The last of his seven titles was a rather comfortable one. Schumacher won 12 of the first 13 races of the 18-races season, with the only blemish happening at the famous Monaco Street Circuit. After a below-par qualifying session in the Monaco GP, Schumacher retired after a collision with Juan-Pablo Montoya.
Contrary to his otherwise excellent record, Schumi found himself compromising his virtuosity in the inaugural Chinese GP and the season-finale at Interlagos in Brazil.
In China, Schumi started the race from the pit lane as he failed to set time during the qualifiers. And in the Brazilian GP, Schumi received a ten-place grid penalty for a engine change. However, he managed to finished to finish among the points, 7th after starting from 18th in the grid.
The troubles in the later stages of the season didn`t hampered his record creating feat, thanks to his early onslaught. Finally he scored 148 points against team-mate, Ruben Barrichello`s 114 to finish a one-two for the Italian stable.