Michael Schumacher is best remembered from his sheer brilliance behind the wheel of an F1 car. The German driver managed to capture seven world championships in his career that featured 155 podiums and 91 race wins.
Widely regarded as one of the best races of all time, Schumacher boasts a unique record of winning five consecutive Formula One Drivers' Championships. Moreover, Michael Schumacher holds the record for the most race wins in a single season.
However, along with all those records, the German has been involved in a good number of controversies during his time in Formula One, and a few of those involved championship-deciding collisions, and in this article, let us take a trip down the memory lane and look closer at five of the most controversial moments of Michael Schumacher's illustrious Formula One career.
#5 Stop-and-go penalty at the 1998 British Grand Prix
Michael Schumacher's stop-and-go penalty at the 1998 British Grand Prix became the subject of huge controversy as the German driver found a loophole to complete the race without serving the penalty.
With less than two laps to go, Schumacher received a stop-and-go penalty for overtaking a lapped car while the race was under a Safety Car. The rules of the penalty stated that the driver had to serve the punishment within three laps of the penalty being issued.
The German waited until the last lap and rather than taking the chequered flag, dived into the pitlane to serve his penalty. However, Ferrari's pitstop was positioned behind the finish line, allowing Schumacher to complete the race without serving the penalty.
Initially, Michael Schumacher was awarded a 10-second penalty; however, it was later rescinded due to the irregularities in the issuance of the penalty.
Video: Final moments of the 1998 British Grand Prix
#4 Dangerous driving at the 2010 Hungarian Grand Prix
After returning to the sport, while driving for Mercedes, Michael Schumacher was involved in a dangerous driving incident with his former teammate Rubens Barrichello.
The incident occurred on the main straight when the German squeezed the Brazilian when he attempted to pass him in the Mercedes machine. Barrichello tried to pass on the inside of the track, despite Schumacher trying his best to close him down.
Following the move, the German didn't allow enough space between him and the concrete barrier despite realising that Barrichello was positioned side-by-side. Rubens Barrichello pulled off the move and finished the race in the ninth place, one spot above Michael Schumacher.
The German was awarded a 10-place grid penalty for the next race for dangerous driving.
Video: Schumacher squeezes Barrichello
#3 Team orders at the 2002 Austrian Grand Prix
Team orders were always a part of Formula One; however, no other team order has received as much flak as Ferrari's one at the 2002 Austrian Grand Prix.
Rubes Barrichello had a splendid qualifying session that saw him start the race from the pole position, while his teammate Michael Schumacher started the race from the second row in fourth place.
The Brazilian was in charge for most of the race and was moments away from winning the Grand Prix. However, an order from his team to let Schumacher take the victory forced him to slow down on the final straight. Eventually, Schumacher crossed the chequered flag first, with Barrichello finishing second, only 0.182 seconds behind the leader.
Schumacher reluctantly accepted the winner's trophy at the podium and insisted Barrichello take the top step. However, this didn't go well with the governing body, and both the drivers, along with the team were fined $1 million.
Video: Final moments of the 2002 Austrian Grand Prix
#2 Championship-deciding collision at the 1994 Australian Grand Prix
The 1994 Australian Grand Prix was the final race of the season, which was also the championship-deciding race. Schumacher, who led Damon Hill by a single point, started the race from the second place, while the Brit started the race from third.
Schumacher took the lead in the opening lap with Damon Hill following him for the most part of the initial duration of the race. An unforced racing error by the German opened up an opportunity for Hill, who attempted to pass him at the following corner.
However, Schumacher held his line and turned in, resulting in a collision between the two drivers. The German was eliminated on the spot while Damon Hill was retired moments later in the pits. No points were awarded for both the drivers, which ensured that Schumacher would be crowned the 1994 Formula One champion.
The race stewards decided that it was a racing incident and took no further action on Michael Schumacher. Naturally, this incident received a lot of criticism from the British media.
Video: Michael Schumacher and Damon Hill accident
#1 Another Championship-deciding crash at the 1997 European Grand Prix
The 1997 European Grand Prix at Jerez was the last race of the season, and much like 1994, was the championship-deciding race.
Coming into the race, Michael Schumacher led Jacques Villeneuve by a single point and needed to finish higher than the Canadian to win the championship. After a hotly contested qualifying session, the top-three drivers, Villeneuve, Schumacher and Frentzen, finished the session by posting the same time on the board.
Eventually, Villeneuve started the race from pole while his adversary started the race from the second place. Villeneuve and Schumacher traded places and fought fiercely for the top spot for the better part of the race.
However, on lap 48, when Jacques Villeneuve attempted to pass Schumacher by braking late, the German deliberately swerved his car into the back of the Williams, which resulted in his immediate retirement. Despite the damage, the Canadian driver continued and claimed the championship.
Michael Schumacher was not so lucky this time, as the investigation that followed the race established that the crash was deliberate. The German was disqualified from the 1997 drivers' championship.
Interestingly, till 2018, he is the only Formula One driver to be disqualified from the championship.
Video: Collision between Jacques Villeneuve and Michael Schumacher