We go back to the year 2006, when Michael Schumacher put on his overalls that donned a special livery for the Monaco Grand Prix. The streets of Monte Carlo were his domain, having won there on five occasions with the German's eyes set on a sixth triumph. However Schumacher, who was no stranger to crossing the line in order to get any advantage he could, did just that in search of pole.
Schumacher was fast during qualifying. Blazing fast in fact, but still, the Ferrari driver was far from confident. Yes, he had set the fastest time, but behind him other drivers were looking to leapfrog him, namely title rival Fernando Alonso.
In response the German came up with a plan that was simple, but one that was naive. At the final hairpin of the circuit, Rascasse, Schumacher locked up his wheels and slid straight for the walls. While the German's Ferrari stopped just in time and avoided the barriers of Monte Carlo, yellow flags waved and everyone behind him had to slow down, ending their hopes of taking pole from the German. He had done it yet again! Or had he?
Almost immediately, eyebrows were raised as to what exactly happened and whether or not it was intentional. After all, someone of Schumacher's skill didn't make those kind of mistakes, even though he defended himself, calling his final lap "just a touch too much". Many were convinced that the Ferrari veteran would have made the corner had he chosen to, with his final twist of the steering wheel conveniently keeping his Ferrari out of the barriers.
While the stewards announced they would be investigating the matter, several of Schumacher's peers came out and voiced their displeasure. Former rival and 1997 F1 champion Jacques Villeneuve was perhaps the most vocal.
"There's no way you could make a mistake like that," said the Canadian, who collided with Schumacher at the final race of the 1997 season that saw him clinch the title. "I hope it was deliberate, because if you can make a mistake like that, you shouldn't drive a race car."
In the end the stewards weren't convinced by the German's explanation, stripping him of the pole and sending him to the back of the grid. Alonso, the man that Schumacher was trying to keep off pole, was promoted to P1.
The Spaniard would go on to take victory, and the 2006 title, with McLaren's Juan Pablo Montoya coming in second and Red Bull's David Coulthard rounding out the podium.
Schumacher would battle back and finish fifth, with then Ferrari teammate Felipe Massa shedding some light on what happened that day back in 2020.
"We had a meeting with the team, we were talking about the qualifying," the Brazilian told Sky Sports' F1 documentary 'The Race to Perfection'.
"Then you had two sets of tyres for the qualifying. And Michael said something: 'Yeah but I mean if we are quicker straight away and then we go in for the second set…'.
"And Ross Brawn said: 'Maybe we can create a yellow flag'. And I said: 'For fun. Not seriously, for fun. It happens exactly that [way]. So Michael used that funny thing for him to do.
"I remember [after] that meeting I said 'I can’t believe he did it. He did it. And then the only thing is he was not able to say that he did it. It took one year for him to tell me that he did it on purpose. One year. I said 'how can you do that?' It shows that everybody makes mistake in life and this was, definitely.”