On 8th September 1996, Michael Schumacher won the Italian Grand Prix. It was the German’s first of five victories at this race, all of them at the wheel of a Ferrari.
The F310 was a good car, but not a match for the Williams-Renault which was dominating the season. In Spa two weeks earlier, Schumacher won, although a bit of luck was involved, lifting the spirits of the Scuderia at the end of a particularly difficult summer. Even in Monza, good fortune threw its hat in the ring, although Michael did well in not making any mistakes, unlike many of his stronger opponents. His main rival in the fight for the top spot was Jean Alesi, who had previously spent five seasons at Maranello and was still hugely popular with the Italian crowd. Michael got ahead of him at the one and only pit stop, which came shortly after half-distance. After that, the only worrying moment for Jean Todt and his crew came when the tyres took a knock as Michael tried to avoid cutting the second chicane, but it was not enough to prevent him taking the chequered flag ahead of the rest.
“I have never seen so much emotion from the fans,” he said in the press conference. “It’s one huge crowd and it could only happen in Italy. It’s fantastic and it gave me goose bumps on the podium: the fans have waited such a long time for this result and they all deserve it.”