On this day in 1992, Michael Schumacher won for the first time in his F1 career in front of two Williams drivers Mansell and Patrese after switching to dry tyres at the right time.
Mansell won a commanding pole position with 2.198 seconds ahead of Senna and 2.676 seconds ahead of third-placed Schumacher, but race was held in very wet conditions.
In 1991, Schumacher debuted at Spa in Jordan, having qualified in seventh place, but quickly dropped out of the race due to car failure. But a year later, the German secured his first out of a total of 91 career wins.
The race was led by four drivers, Mansell led for 25 laps, Schumacher 11, Senna 5 and Patrese 3 while Schumacher was third after 30 laps behind Mansell and Patrese. At that point, the Germans went on the grass shortly, after which he and the team decided that it was time to try to move to dry tyres.
That gamble paid off very well because Schumacher overtook Mansell who changed the tyres three laps later and returned 5.7 seconds behind German. Mansell reduced the gap to three seconds, but the problem with the Renault V10 engine forced him to give up the chase for Schumacher. He finished second, 36.6 seconds behind Schumacher while Patrese finished third, 43.9 seconds behind the winner.
“I had a good feeling this weekend, I do not know why, but when I was in the motorhome, I was thinking of a possible victory, but I was only third or fourth, but everything changed!,” commented the delighted Schumacher.
“I got in the dry tyres at the perfect moment, I had a chance to win and decided to try. I was really happy to win without someone having an accident or a car problem, it was a direct fight. Car was better than in qualifying and I thank my team for that. ”
“When I went wide in Stavelot, I missed the apex and I turned too late. I was lucky I did not hit the barriers, Martin passed me and I saw that his tyres were blistering so I decided to get in the pits for new tyres right away. Tonight we will have a great celebration for CAMEL BENETTON FORD!”
Schumacher’s victory at the Belgian Belgian is also the last victory for a car with the classic H-Shift pattern. After that, all races were won with sequential gearboxes with gear changing levers behind the steering wheel, pioneered by Ferrari 640 in 1989.