This track is the best Grand Prix track! Last year we had the most exciting race of the season there with Schumacher's fabulous win over Alesi near the end of the race. This year the action was also non stop from start to finish. It must...
This track is the best Grand Prix track! Last year we had the most exciting race of the season there with Schumacher's fabulous win over Alesi near the end of the race. This year the action was also non stop from start to finish. It must have seemed quite familiar to Jacques Villeneuve from his Indy Car days with close battles, side by side racing and a finish with very little between #1 and 2 as well as numbers 3 through 5 coming across nose to tail. It started with an exciting start during which Hill almost stood still on the pole position while Villeneuve, Coulthard, Barrichello and Schumacher all streaked past him. While Villeneuve started to pull expectedly away in his all conquering Williams-Renault Barrichello, Schumacher and Hill fought for position. After a few laps Hill used his totally dominant Williams to power past Schumacher and close on Barrichello. And there Hill was stuck. Barrichello used every gram of skill as well as the impressively powerful Peugeot engine to hold Hill back lap after exciting lap. This was racing! The first pitstops came around starting with Hill who came in and stayed in for 20 seconds while mechanics checked his car for some imagined damage that Hill reported. There was none but Hill was now back in 15th and out of the race. The rest of the leaders had good stops except for Coulthard who took 12 seconds and lost his 2nd place to Schumacher who had gotten through faster than Barrichello who was now 3rd. Now an amazing thing happened. Schumacher started to catch Villeneuve very quickly until he was within a few seconds of him at which point Villeneuve managed to arrest his slide and hold the lead. Further back Hill managed to use his superior Williams to knock off backmarkers until he badly miscalculated with Diniz. Trying to pass him they came together and both ran wide over one of the rather ineffectual gravel traps. There was tire contact both front and rear but no damage appeared to have been done to either car. Hill's Williams looked like it should have picked up a lot of gravel in its radiators but his luck held once again and the car was undamaged. A second round of pit stops managed to shuffle the order once again with Barrichello losing out to Coulthard this time and reversing positions. Hill meanwhile used his Williams to power into the points. This time he reached Barrichello but got past him. However his former partner Coulthard was the next man in 3rd and he wasn't about to let him past onto the podium. Driving superbly Coulthard fended off Hill's advances all the way to the last corner! Barrichello almost managed to take advantage of the fight and was right on Hill's tail all the way to the finish. The laps were counting down and double World Champion Schumacher was now trying very hard, using every bit of his immeasurable skill, fishtailing, locking up wheels trying to pass Villeneuve. But no dice, the Renault engine helped Villeneuve to defeat all attempts. Thus it came to pass that Jacques Villeneuve, Indy Car Champion, son of Formula One driver Gilles Villeneuve and Formula One rookie won his first Grand Prix! What a way to win! In only his 4th F1 race he beats the incredible Michael Schumacher and covers himself in hard earned glory!
CONGRATULATIONS JACQUES! May this be the first of many, many wins this year on the way to the 1996 World Driving Championship!
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