Michael Schumacher stamped his authority on F1 after returning from suspension on this day in 1994.
Schumacher had been banned for two races for failing to observe a stop-go penalty during the British Grand Prix. Title rival Damon Hill won both the races. Making matters worse for Schumacher, he’d been disqualified after winning the previous race at Spa, handing Hill another win.
His Benetton team had been lost in his absence. JJ Lehto temporarily returned from injury but proved woefully ineffective. Team mate Jos Verstappen added just two points to the team’s tally while Schumacher was forced to watch Hill decimate his advantage.
As they arrived at Jerez for the European Grand Prix Schumacher’s championship lead, which had stood at a daunting 37 points at one stage, was down to a single point.
But on the twisty Spanish track Schumacher regained the initiative in a race that was all about fuel strategy. While Hill plodded around on a two-stopper, struggling in traffic, Schumacher went on the attack with a lighter-fuelled car, pitting three times.
In the end it mattered not that Hill beat pole-sitter Schumacher to turn one – the Benetton driver’s speed won the day.
Nigel Mansell was back in the other Williams again but spun out. Mika Hakkinen joined Schumacher and Hill on the podium but was well over a minute behind.