At the start, David Coulthard got away well, leaving Schumacher to battle it with Hill. Despite a brave attempt, Schumacher failed, and ended up down in 5th place, behind Alesi (who got up to 2nd), Hill and Berger. By the end of the first lap, ...
At the start, David Coulthard got away well, leaving Schumacher to battle it with Hill. Despite a brave attempt, Schumacher failed, and ended up down in 5th place, behind Alesi (who got up to 2nd), Hill and Berger. By the end of the first lap, Coulthard had built a 2.8 second lead. Hill was on the tail of the Ferrari, looked, but got nowhere near to getting by. Coulthard, meanwhile, was striding away with a 4.2 second lead by the end of lap 2. By lap 3, Gachot (driving for Pacific again) was out. On lap 4, Schumacher out dragged Berger on the straight and take 4th. Positions on lap 5:
Coulthard Alesi +8.426 Hill +9.117 Schumacher +10.973 Berger +12.110 Herbert +12.914
On lap 8, J-C Boullion retired. By lap 10, Schumacher was all over the Williams of Hill, who was falling behind from Alesi. Schumacher made a daring move to go around the outside of Hill at the hairpin, but it didn't pay off. Suzuki spun off on lap 12. By lap 14, the 2-3-4 trio came up upon the Forti of Diniz. Barrichello, clearly inspired by Schumachers attempt on Hill, tries the same thing on Magnusson. Like Schumachers' attempt it failed. Meanwhile, in the pits, Ferrari and Williams were preparing for stops. Hill had a look at Alesi, but failed again. Benetton now had also joined the preparations for stops. The trio all enter the pits together. Once again, the Benetton team showed how they manage to make the most of every opportunity, giving Schumacher only as much fuel as would go in whilst tyres were fitted. Hill was last out, a problem with the left rear tyre hampering his progress. Positions on lap 20:
Coulthard Berger Herbert Schumacher Irvine Frentzen
Hill manages to get by Frentzen for 5th place (Herbert has now also pitted). Was Coulthard on a 2 stopper? Alesi makes a wonderful tyre-smoking dive on Irvine, and gets by. Hill tries to follow (rather unwisely) and taps the rear of the Jordan. In the process Hill manages to damage his left-front end plate. Hill must ask Father Christmas for stronger wings for his present. Coulthard finally pits, 11.3 seconds, a clear 2 stop strategy was in place. Positions on lap 25:
Coulthard Schumacher +7.528 Alesi +26.859 Hill +28.213 Irvine +30.239 Berger +31.302
Hill is once again over Alesi, trying to get by, but failing. Meanwhile, there was drama in the Benetton pit. When the tyres from both cars were removed it was found that something was fouling the wheels and machining them away. On lap 27, Hill was in a position again to challenge Alesi, but once again nothing happened. Further up the field, Schumacher was tearing into Coulthards lead. On lap 33, Schumacher comes in for his second stop. Barrichello, meanwhile, takes 10th place from Magnusson. Williams, Benetton and Ferrari were once again ready for a stop. This time it was for Hill, Herbert & Alesi. The former two pit together, Ferrari waiting another lap. Schumacher sets a fastest lap of 1m16.374, and Inoue retires from 18th place. On lap 44, Berger takes his stop, whilst Coulthard was seeing his lead being eaten by Schumacher at a tremendous rate. On lap 48, Diniz retires - nothing spectacular there, except that he decided to make it noticeable by going all over the edge of the track kicking mud all over the track. Nice one. The Williams team were once again ready for a stop. Coulthard pitted in 11.8 seconds, hoping to remove the performance deficit to Schumacher. Schumacher now had the lead again. It would be a few laps before he pitted, and when he did, he didn't lose the lead again. Everything went rather quiet from then on, with Barrichello retiring on lap 69, and Irvine had a rear puncture on lap 75, but rejoined the race.
And so to the end. Schumacher won. Hill didn't. Schumacher champion. Hill isn't.
Schumacher Coulthard Hill Berger Alesi Herbert
-- Stephen M Baines
"[The Autosport sticker] started to peel off in the middle of Eau Rouge and it distracted me. In fact it was the first thing to hit the barrier" Tiff Needell - Jaguar XJR-15 Challenge - Interview with Autosport