In the fourth round of the 2003 Formula One Season, the Schumacher brothers Michael and Ralf secured the first two positions on the grid on Saturday’s qualifying session. Soon after, both were flown in a private jet to visit their mother Elisabeth Schumacher in Germany.
Elisabeth was suffering from internal bleeding and was in a coma as a result of a fall she had at home a week earlier. After visiting their mother, Michael and Ralf decided to fly back to Imola on Sunday morning to take part in the race.
The race organisers released them from the need to be present in the post-race ceremonies. However, just a few hours before the race, the Schumacher brothers received grim news. Their mother had passed away. It was doubtful for both to take part in the race.
But they did. Despite the emotional trauma they were undergoing, they raced at Imola and came out with flying colours. Ralf took the initial lead but only until he pitted. Michael Schumacher then took the lead all the way up to the finish line while Ralf finished fourth.
An emotional Schumacher was seen on the podium, it was the first victory of the season and his 65th overall victory. But, this was also his saddest. He was filled with tears as he took the winning trophy. No champagne was sprayed on the podium as a mark of respect.
The Schumacher brothers immediately left the venue as and the post-race conference was taken over by Ferrari Team Principal Jean Todt who mentioned that the decision on whether to race or not had been left to Schumacher. He said:
“I think it was very important. He decided together with his brother yesterday to go to Germany and definitely he felt in a way more comfortable having been there.”
“Today again Michael has shown the dimension of what he is as a driver and as a man.
“It’s a shame sometimes that people may want not to understand what he is. Today I think he has done a big demonstration and we are very proud of him.”
Seldom do we see such champions who are willing to push more than 100% despite going through immense pain and suffering.