Name Nat Race Time 1. David Coulthard SCO 1h30:28.718 2. Michael Schumacher GER 20.046 3. Mika Hakkinen FIN 22.177 4. Gerhard Berger AUT 22.841 5. Olivier Panis FRA 1:00.308 6. Nicola Larini ITA 1:36.040 7. Shinji Nakano JPN 2 laps 8. H.-H. Frentzen GER 3 laps 9. Jarno Trulli ITA 3 laps 10. Pedro Diniz BRA 4 laps Not classified: Rubens Barrichello BRA 9 laps Mika Salo FIN 16 laps Jan Magnussen DEN 22 laps Jean Alesi FRA 24 laps Ukyo Katayama JPN 26 laps Giancarlo Fisichella ITA 44 laps Ralf Schumacher GER 56 laps Jos Verstappen HOL 56 laps Eddie Irvine IRL 57 laps Johnny Herbert GBR 57 laps Jacques Villeneuve CAN 57 laps Damon Hill GBR retired during warm-up lap Not qualified: Vincenzo Sospiri ITA Ricardo Rosset BRA Fastest Lap: Heinz-Harald Frentzen 1:30.780Hill had to stop his car during the warm-up lap. This is the worst possible start of the new season for the reigning world champion. Irvine pushed Villeneuve and Herbert into the gravel and had to stop his car a few hundred meters later. Frentzen took advantage of this crash and lead the field in front of Coulthard, Michael Schumacher, Hakkinen and the two Benettons. Ralf Schumacher spinned off in lap 1 and gave a very short introduction performance.
After the first round of pit stops, Frentzen still lead in front of Coulthard, Schumacher, Hakkinen, Panis and Berger. Alesi forgot to come to the pits and ran out of fuel. During his second pit stop, Frentzen had a problem with a front wheel and dropped down to third. Coulthard lead in front of Schumacher.
Schumacher had to come in 8 laps before the checkered flag due
to a miscalculation concerning the fuel consumption and dropped
down to third. Frentzen spinned off into the gravel because of
a broken brake disc with 5 laps to go. Coulthard won the first
Grand Prix for McLaren since Senna and the car was allowed to
be called "Silberpfeil".
Name Nat Race Time 1. Jacques Villeneuve CAN 1h36:06.990 2. Gerhard Berger AUT 4.190 3. Olivier Panis FRA 15.870 4. Mika Hakkinen FIN 33.033 5. Michael Schumacher GER 33.731 6. Jean Alesi FRA 34.020 7. Johnny Herbert GBR 50.912 8. Giancarlo Fisichella ITA 1:00.639 9. H.-H. Frentzen GER 1:15.402 10. David Coulthard SCO 1 lap 11. Nicola Larini ITA 1 lap 12. Jarno Trulli ITA 1 lap 13. Mika Salo FIN 1 lap 14. Shinji Nakano JPN 1 lap 15. Jos Verstappen HOL 2 laps 16. Eddie Irvine IRL 2 laps 17. Damon Hill GBR 4 laps 18. Ukyo Katayama JPN 5 laps Not classified: Ralf Schumacher GER 20 laps Rubens Barrichello BRA 56 laps Pedro Diniz BRA 57 laps Jan Magnussen DEN did not restartThe new Lola team had to give up because of financial problems. Hill had to start in his T-car. Barrichello rested on the pitlane and it was not possible to pull him away fast enough, so the race had to be restarted. Villeneuve lost the star duel with Schumacher and went through the gravel of the first chicane. As another car spun in that chicane, more cars had to take the hard way. Irvine, Fisichella, Barrichello, Frentzen and Herbert had to start with the T-car. Magnussen was not able to restart, because Barrichello got the spare Steward.
Villeneuve lost the restart duel again, but was able to overtake
Schumacher soon afterwards. Irvine had problems with a too tight
safety belt and had to come in to relieve his pressure. Nakano
lost a wheel when driving into pit entrance, but managed to get
to his team and get a new set of tyres. Berger gave Villeneuve
a hard time in the later stages of the race and came in a close
second. Panis showed a good performance and suggested that the
Bridgestone tyre is better than the Goodyear. Hakkinen, Schumacher
and Alesi scored the remaining points. Hill showed a great performance,
but had to stop his car short before the finish.
Name Nat Race Time 1. Jacques Villeneuve CAN 1h52:01.715 2. Eddie Irvine IRL 0.979 3. Ralf Schumacher GER 12.089 4. Johnny Herbert GBR 29.919 5. Mika Hakkinen FIN 30.351 6. Gerhard Berger AUT 31.393 7. Jean Alesi FRA 46.359 8. Mika Salo FIN 1 lap 9. Jarno Trulli ITA 1 lap 10. Jan Magnussen DEN 5 laps Not classified: Nicola Larini ITA 9 laps Pedro Diniz BRA 22 laps Shinji Nakano JPN 23 laps Jos Verstappen HOL 29 laps Ukyo Katayama JPN 35 laps Damon Hill GBR 39 laps Giancarlo Fisichella ITA 48 laps Rubens Barrichello BRA 49 laps Olivier Panis FRA 54 laps H.-H. Frentzen GER 67 laps David Coulthard SCO 72 laps Michael Schumacher GER 72 laps Fastest lap: Gerhard Berger 1:27.981At the start of the warm-up lap, Frentzen did not come off, but retook his starting position. Michael Schumacher and Barrichello had contact in first corner with Coulthard being entangled. Schumacher and Coulthard had to give up. In cotrast to the previous races, the race was not stopped, but the safety car came out. Villeneuve lead the field in front of Frentzen, Panis, Irvine, Fisichella and Hill.
In lap 5, Frentzen had to give up due to technical problems with
the gearbox, short time later, Panis had to pull off. In the middle
of the race, Ralf Schumacher took his teammate Fisichella out
of teh race, when he saw a gap where there was none. Irvine showed
a promising performance with the remaining Ferrari and was able
to reduce the gap to Villeneuve in the last laps.
Name Nat Race Time 1. H.-H. Frentzen GER 1h31:00.673 2. Michael Schumacher GER 1.237 3. Eddie Irvine IRL 1:18.343 4. Giancarlo Fisichella ITA 1:23.388 5. Jean Alesi FRA 1 lap 6. Mika Hakkinen FIN 1 lap 7. Nicola Larini ITA 1 lap 8. Olivier Panis FRA 1 lap 9. Mika Salo FIN 2 laps 10. Jos Verstappen HOL 2 laps 11. Ukyo Katayama JPN 3 laps Not classified: Pedro Diniz BRA 8 laps Jacques Villeneuve CAN 21 laps David Coulthard SCO 23 laps Rubens Barrichello BRA 29 laps Johnny Herbert GBR 43 laps Ralf Schumacher GER 44 laps Shinji Nakano JPN 50 laps Damon Hill GBR 50 laps Gerhard Berger AUT 57 laps Jan Magnussen DEN 60 laps Jarno Trulli ITA 62 laps Fastest lap: Gerhard Berger 1:27.981Damon Hill had to start in his T-car from the pits. Berger did not get very far in his 200th Grand Prix of his career; he spun off into the gravel. Hill did not give himself enough time to go up through the field, misjudged the start chicane and took Nakano with him off. Lying on 4th position, Ralf Schumacher and one lap later Johnny Herbert had to give up.
Coulthard with a leaking engine was giving a hard time to his followers Irvine and Fisichella who were sliding all over the track till the Mercedes engine blew up. Villeneuve had problems with the gearbox and a couple of laps later retired in the pits. Frentzen took his first victory in front of a strong Ferrari team with Schumacher and Irvine. The young Jordan driver Fisichella came in on a good 4th place and continued this years promising Jordan performance. Alesi and Hakkinen took the remaining points.
I have to comment on today "performance" of the RTL men. Ebel
with his ever-only question: "From your point of view?" Wasser
talking of Enzo and Dino Ferrari as brothers like Michael and
Ralf Schumacher and, as always, the fourpointsixthreeeighteight
kilometer track (does anyone care for the exact number so much
that he has to mention it several times?!?!) and the gap between
two drivers that was reduced by 3 thousandths (dear Mr. Wasser,
when we see on the screen that the driver is in the slipstream
of another car, we all know that the exact time gap is of no real
use at all!!!!). But the worst of all was today's timing of the
commercial breaks. The first one right after two laps, when the
tension is still high and loads of interesting stuff can happen.
The second one exactly at the point, when the leading drivers
come into the pits and the third one during the second round of
pit stops. Everybody knows that today, the starting and the pit
stop periods are the most interesting phases of a race. Everybody
except for the RTL men. Or is it really that bad, that they know
the tension is high at these points and use the possibility to
place their ads right here. Don't they know that the masses that
they want to reach switch off, when they are kept from seeing
the action. Only freaks like me keep zapping and come back when
the break is over. Why can't they cover the eciting moments and
place their ads throughout the boring moments of a race (and there
are enough). Another point is the length of these breaks. I am
used to short-time breaks like Eurosport did it in the last years
and I am not willing to sit and wait for more than five minutes
while the race is in its decisive moments. To come up with clear
Name Nat Race Time 1. Michael Schumacher GER 2h00:05.654 2. Rubens Barrichello BRA 53.306 3. Eddie Irvine IRL 1:22.108 4. Olivier Panis FRA 1:44.402 5. Mika Salo FIN 1 lap 6. Giancarlo Fisichella ITA 1 lap 7. Jan Magnussen DEN 1 lap 8. Jos Verstappen HOL 2 laps 9. Gerhard Berger AUT 2 laps 10. Ukyo Katayama JPN 2 laps Not classified: H.-H. Frentzen GER 23 laps Shinji Nakano JPN 26 laps Nicola Larini ITA 38 laps Jean Alesi FRA 46 laps Jacques Villeneuve CAN 46 laps Ralf Schumacher GER 52 laps Johnny Herbert GBR 53 laps Jarno Trulli ITA 55 laps David Coulthard SCO 61 laps Mika Hakkinen FIN 61 laps Damon Hill GBR 61 laps Pedro Diniz BRA 62 lapsA little late, but here it comes: The result of the Monte Carlo Grand Prix '97. After sunny weather during the training sessions, more or less heavy rainfall during the race influenced teh outcome quite a bit. After Frentzen took his first ever pole in front of M. Schumacher and Villeneuve, he lost the advantage of the front row starting position by starting with a dry car setup. So did his teammate and Villeneuve as well did not have success with that strategy. The rainfall even got heavier and so both Williams dropped back and later on they retired.
Michael Schumacher won the front row duell at the start of the race and could not be hold up throughout the whole race. Nobody could come up with comparable times and so Schumachers driver error 10 minutes before the end of the race was the only danger to his victory. Luckily, he managed to recover and rejoin the race, still a minute in front of second place man Rubens Barrichello. The Brazilian won the first points for the Steward team with a great performance without any mistakes in the whole race. Though Eddie Irvine did only start from 15th position, he managed to finish on the podium due to a good rain performance of the Ferrari, the errors of others and not to forget due to a good drive from the Ulsterman. He contributed to a phantastic result for the Ferrari team, even more with the Williams dropping out.
The other point finishers are Panis, last years surprise winner,
who could not take that much advantage of the Bridgestone tyres
as we would have awaited, Salo on fifth position, who went through
the whole race without one pitstop (I have not seen that for quite
a couple of years) and who now is the one that completed the most
laps during this season, and Fisichella who was not able to take
advantage of his very good fourth qualifying position, but he
now equals his teammate Ralf Schumacher with four points in the
championhsip. The younger Schumacher dropped out of the race as
many others after hitting the wall. Gerhard Berger went through
a horrible weekend on his 201st Grand Prix, starting from 17th
position, having the wrong setup, not giving up though being lapped
twice by the winner. Tough stuff for him and only real sportsmen
go through that hell. He deserves more luck next time.
Name Nat Race Time 1. Jacques Villeneuve CAN 1h30:35.890 2. Olivier Panis FRA 5.804 3. Jean Alesi FRA 12.534 4. Michael Schumacher GER 17.979 5. Johnny Herbert GBR 27.986 6. David Coulthard SCO 29.744 7. Mika Hakkinen FIN 48.785 8. H.-H. Frentzen GER 1:04.139 9. Giancarlo Fisichella ITA 1:04.767 10. Gerhard Berger AUT 1:05.670 11. Jos Verstappen HOL 1 lap 12. Eddie Irvine IRL 1 lap 13. Jan Magnussen DEN 1 lap 14. Gianni Morbidelli ITA 2 laps 15. Jarno Trulli ITA 2 laps Not classified: Pedro Diniz BRA 11 laps Ralf Schumacher GER 14 laps Rubens Barrichello BRA 27 laps Mika Salo FIN 29 laps Shinji Nakano JPN 30 laps Damon Hill GBR 46 laps Ukyo Katayama JPN 53 laps Fastest lap: Giancarlo Fisichella 1:22.242First of all, the rumour that Larini would be replaced by Morbidelli came true. Before the start, a second warm-up lap had tobe done, because of Ralf Schumacher waving with his arm. Later he stated that Hakkinen in front of him had stalled his engine and he wanted to focus attention on that, not on a problem with his own car. That was his point of view.
Frentzen did not come off the grid and fell back a couple of places immediately. Coulthard had a good start and was able to challenge Villeneuve in the first corner, but had to give way. Michael Schumacher made a very good start and was able to overtake three drivers before the first corner and furthermore passed Coulthard a kilometer later. But he showed that the Barcelona track is not a Ferrari track: He held up Coulthard, Alesi and Hakkinen and enabled Villeneuve to pull away.
Nevertheless, Coulthard managed to pass Schumacher and stayed in front of the German after the first round of pitstops that was initiated by these two. The classement confusingly changed all race long due to three pitstops by most of the drivers. Villeneuve, Alesi and Bridgestone-equipped Panis chose to come in only twice while the rest of the top drivers stopped three times. Especially Panis with his different tyre brand seemed to have longer-lasting pneus.
Frentzen appeared to have setup problems again and so he did not once in this race match the lap times of the leaders. He struggled to get into the points and finally failed. Last year champion Hill had to stop again because of technical problems: his engine blew up not very far in the race. Another engine blow up was that of Ralf Schumacher, but he did make it further. His engine started smoking after 45 laps and some laps later left Alesi in a dense fog with no visibility, so the Frenchman had to lift the throttle for a few meters.
Until his second pitstop, Coulthard closed the gap to Villeneuve completely, but in the final stages of the race dropped back to sixth position. Panis, by stopping only twice, took the second place and in the last laps nearly was able to challenge Villeneuve. His quest was disturbed by Ferrari driver Irvine who held up Panis for a couple of laps and lots of seconds. The 10 second penalty that was given to him did not give Panis the seconds, he had lost behind the Ulsterman. Alesi and Michael Schumacher managed to take advantage of Irvine's blocking and closed up to Panis, but that did not result in change of positions. Johnny Herbert drove a calm, equalized race and was able to snatch 5th place from Coulthard in the last laps.
Though the Spanish Grand Prix is a very demanding track concerning drivers fitness and concerning tyre wear, 15 drivers made it to the checkered flag and 10 of them were not lapped. Villeneuve took the lead in the drivers championship, but his 10 points were not enough to snatch the top rank in the constructors championship from Ferrari. The Scuderia still leads by one point.
New in my statistics section are the graphs for the development
throughout the season. I hope I can give a more accurate color
scheme to the lines representing the drivers/teams during the
Name Nat Race Time 1. Michael Schumacher GER 1h17:40.646 2. Jean Alesi FRA 2.565 3. Giancarlo Fisichella ITA 3.219 4. H.-H. Frentzen GER 3.768 5. Johnny Herbert GBR 4.716 6. Shinji Nakano JPN 36.701 7. David Coulthard SCO 37.753 8. Pedro Diniz BRA 1 lap 9. Damon Hill GBR 1 lap 10. Gianni Morbidelli ITA 1 lap 11. Olivier Panis FRA 3 laps Not classified: Mika Salo FIN 8 laps Jos Verstappen HOL 12 laps Alexander Wurz AUT 19 laps Rubens Barrichello BRA 21 laps Jarno Trulli ITA 22 laps Ralf Schumacher GER 40 laps Ukyo Katayama JPN 49 laps Jacques Villeneuve CAN 53 laps Jan Magnussen DEN 54 laps Mika Hakkinen FIN 54 laps Eddie Irvine IRL 54 laps Fastest lap: David Coulthard 1:19.635Gerhard Berger had to be replaced by the Benetton test driver, his fellow countryman Alexander Wurz. In the last moments of the Saturday qualifying session, Schumacher snatched the pole from Villeneuve
Schumacher was able to defend that leading position into and through the first corner, while Villeneuve had to give way to the German. Third placeman on the grid was Barrichello, but he was the loser of the start and dropped back rapidly. Frentzen was overtaken not only by Fisichella, but as well by Alesi and Coulthard. In the first corner, Panis ran into the back of Hakkinen and both lost the respective wing. Irvine had to bear the consequence: One of those wings fell in the way of one of his back wheels and he immediately spun.
At the end of the first lap, Villeneuve misjudged the critical last corner and spun into the barrier. His teammate Frentzen continued the endless row of problems for his car: His Goodyear tyres dissolved in the first laps and he had to come in for an unplanned pit stop in lap 10. Earlier, in lap 6, Katayama crashed his car into the wall and the safety car came out and slowed down the field till lap 9.
The next victim of the Goodyear tyres was Ralf Schumacher, whose tyre exploded on the starting straight and therefore went into a tyre stack in lap 14. His brother was the last one to come into the pits for a tyre change, except ofr Coulthard: The Scot was able to stay out 12 laps longer and even then his tyres seemed to be quite fresh. In doing so, he moved up the order to second behind Schumacher's Ferrari and in front of Alesi, Fisichella, Herbert and Wurz on his premier drive.
As Coulthard seemed not to need a second pit stop, he lead the field after his competitors second round of pit stops. The dices looked to have fallen, when Schumacher only seven laps after pit stop 2, had to come in again for tyre change. Only one lap later Coulthard needed an extra pit stop as well. His Goodyear tyres lasted for 12 laps. When he wanted to accelerate out of the pit, he stalled the car. Afterwards it was said that there was a clutch problem. This looks true to me, because the McLaren team needed unbelievable long time to fire up the car. If there were no real problem, Coulthard would have come out again much earlier.
Because of Coulthards bad luck, Schumacher inherited the lead and kept it till the early end: Panis' back came round in the part after the island hairpin. With his front, he touched the right side barrier and slid quite fast into a tyre stack on the left. The safety car gathered the field again and as Panis' wreck could not be cleared off the track, the officials red-flagged the race in lap 56. The race counts with the ranking after lap 54. Later in the evening, news about Panis' state were spread: He broke both legs twice.
No real joy about another victory for Ferrari developped that afternoon; because of Panis being brought to hospital, noone recognized that this was the first race in the season to be finished by Hill: Though he was classified in Interlagos with 4 laps back, he had to stop his car in Brasil early. The debut of Wurz was no real hammer, but quite a solid performance until he stopped. The young Austrian was able to keep a point-scoring position till his stop, which is not that common for the Benetton team in the last time. The Japanese Nakano scored his first ever F1 championship point, but that will be no relief for the Prost team.
Name Nat Race Time 1. Michael Schumacher GER 1h38:50.492 2. H.-H. Frentzen GER 23.537 3. Eddie Irvine IRL 1:14.801 4. Jacques Villeneuve CAN 1:21.784 5. Jean Alesi FRA 1:22.735 6. Ralf Schumacher GER 1:29.871 7. David Coulthard SCO 1 lap 8. Johnny Herbert GBR 1 lap 9. Giancarlo Fisichella ITA 1 lap 10. Jarno Trulli ITA 2 laps 11. Ukyo Katayama JPN 2 laps 12. Damon Hill GBR 3 laps Not classified: Mika Salo FIN 11 laps Alexander Wurz AUT 12 laps Pedro Diniz BRA 14 laps Norberto Fontana ARG 32 laps Rubens Barrichello BRA 36 laps Jan Magnussen DEN 39 laps Mika Hakkinen FIN 54 laps Jos Verstappen HOL 57 laps Shinji Nakano JPN 65 laps Tarso Marques BRA 67 laps Fastest lap: Michael Schumacher 1:17.910Again changes in the driver line-up before this weekend: Berger has not yet been fit, Wurz drove another race for him. Panis returned from the Canadian Grand Prix with two broken legs and it is doubtful whether he will come back this year. His seat at the Prost team is taken over by the young Italian Trulli, who drove for Minardi till Canada. This free seat is occupied by their former test driver Tarso Marques, who was able to complete 33.75 laps of the two South American Grand Prixs for Minardi last year. As Gianni Morbidelli had quite a serious accident at the tests earlier this week, where he broke his arm, the third driver had to be found for the second Sauber. Former Formula 3 driver Norberto Fontana from Argentina? completes the line-up.
Michael Schumacher surprisingly was able to achieve the pole position during the Saturday qualifying, though it was said that Magny Cours was not a track well suited to the Ferrari. His countryman Frentzen qualified second in front of little Schumacher, Ralf. Villeneuve, Irvine and Trulli in the Prost were the next grid position.
Schumacher did a very good start with his Ferrari, one could get the impression it was a little early. Frentzen came off the grid well, in contrast to Ralf Schumacher, who blamed some technical problems with the car for his bad start after the race. Villeneuve took advantage of that and the second Ferrari driver Irvine overtook both these drivers. Trulli and the two Benettons of Alesi and Wurz dropped back behind Coulthard and Hakkinen. Reigning world champion Hill continued his streak of misery: In the first corner, he went through the gravel and damaged his front wing, but he reached the pits for having exchanged the nose.
Back to the front: Michael Schumacher and Frentzen pulled away bit by bit and even Irvine was able to open up a gap to Villeneuve. In the first lap, Ralf Schumacher fought with the Canadian for position, but soon he could not quite keep up with Villeneuve. As Michael Schumacher and Frentzen pulled away that easily compared to Villeneuve, it could have been assumed that they were on a two pit stop strategy, whereas Villeneuve was planning to come in only once.
In lap 5, Tarso Marques, Minardi's spare driver blew his engine; two laps later, Nakano ended the Prost's home Grand Prix with an early spin. The next casualties of the race were Verstappen and Hakkinen. The Mercedes of the Finn did not finish in the points for the fourth time in a row. It is time for the McLarens to improve on reliability. The same can be said of the Steward team. Since Barrichello scored six points in Monaco, Magnussens finish in Barcelona is the only one for the new team in Formula One.
The first round of pit stops saw no important change of the positions, but we learned that Villeneuve planned to come in again for a second pit stop as well. Michael Schumacher still lead in front of Frentzen, Irvine, Villeneuve, Coulthard and Ralf Schumacher. Some raindrops on the outer part of the circuit came down, but did not influence the race at all. The continuance of the race brought more drivers stopping their car: Fontana had some problems with the front of his car and after several pit stops, he stepped out of his car after a not so amazing race in lap 40. Diniz spun in lap 58.
Then came the rain. Ten laps before the checkered flag, the track became wet and the cars started sliding. Wurz and Salo were the first casualties of the weather and even the leader Michael Schumacher left the track in the Estoril bend, but he luckily was able to rejoin the race in a secure first position. Coulthard and Ralf Schumacher were the first to change to intermediate tyres and their lap times were up to ten seconds better than Michael Schumacher's. Alesi who temporarily had come up to fourth was the next to change and consequently had again to give way to Coulthard and Ralf Schumacher. The young German made a trip through the gravel, but as his brother, he came back on the track and showed a great battle with Coulthard for fifth position. Though he was only 7 seconds ahead of Villeneuve, Irvine decided to come in, but so did the Canadian and Irvine got away still in third posotion. Villeneuve rejoined the race behind Coulthard and Ralf Schumacher who took advantage of their early decision for intermediates. Alesi also made up time on his new tyres and was right in the back of Villeneuve. The Frenchman obviously was faster, but he did not find the gap to overtake. As the rain had stopped and the tyres seemed to have worn off quite fast, Villeneuve who changed last was able to lap quickest at that time. He closed up to Ralf Schumacher and overtook him. When Michael Schumacher started his last lap, fourth, fifth, sixth and seventh namely Coulthard, Villeneuve, Ralf Schumacher and Alesi crossed the line within 3 seconds. At the Adelaide hairpin, Villeneuve passed Coulthard and even Ralf Schumacher squeezed through. The young Jordan driver tried to follow Villeneuve, but went off the track only two corners later. He dropped back to seventh behind Alesi and was lapped by his brother. Generously, Michael let Ralf unlap himself by nearly stopping in the last chicane. This paid out because Coulthard spun off in the last lap while battling with Alesi and was not able to rejoin, so Ralf inherited the last point. Villeneuve closed up to Irvine, because the Ulsterman went off the track at the second chicane in his last lap. The Canadian started a kamikaze-like manoeuver in the last chicane, Irvine shut the door and Villeneuve spun into the pit entrance. But he kept the engine going, spun back onto the track right in front of the nearing Alesi and saved fourth position and 3 points.
This left us with two Ferraris on the podium and for the first time this year, both Williams in the points. Surprisingly at no time of the race, any of the Williams drivers was able to match Michael Schumachers performance and as Irvine as well gave a hard time to Frentzen and even more Villeneuve, it must be assumed that the Ferrari car works quite well, if not best. With a lot of luck, Alesi scored two points and Coulthard, after Montreal, again was denied his deserved success. Trulli was not quite able to fulfill the expectations, but nevertheless his qualifying performance was impressing. For the second time in a row, as well as for the second time this year, reigning world champion Hill finished, but there is a lot of work to do for the Arrows team. The newcomer Wurz was able to keep up with Alesi till the point when he stopped. Interesting whether Wurz will automatically be replaced by Berger when he is fit again. The other newcomers, Marques and Fontana, were not able to impress, but they suffered from technical problems.
A point that to my opinion, has to be mentioned is that though
a lot of drivers went off the track and most of them rejoined.
Nobody got stuck, not even when the rain came down and the gravel
TRAP was supposed to be even more sticky. It is very questioningly,
whether the gravel traps at Magny Cours fulfilled their task.
Within the race, nobody was in real need of the braking quality
of the gravel traps and so part of the tension was kept up by
rejoining drivers, but don't they care about the security of the
Name Nat Race Time 1. Jacques Villeneuve CAN 1h28:01.665 2. Jean Alesi FRA 10.205 3. Alexander Wurz AUT 11.296 4. David Coulthard SCO 31.229 5. Ralf Schumacher GER 31.880 6. Damon Hill GBR 1:13.552 7. Giancarlo Fisichella ITA 1 lap 8. Jarno Trulli ITA 1 lap 9. Norberto Fontana ARG 1 lap 10. Tarso Marques BRA 1 lap 11. Shinji Nakano JPN 2 laps Not classified: Mika Hakkinen FIN 7 laps Jan Magnussen DEN 9 laps Jos Verstappen HOL 14 laps Eddie Irvine IRL 15 laps Mika Salo FIN 15 laps Johnny Herbert GBR 17 laps Michael Schumacher GER 21 laps Rubens Barrichello BRA 22 laps Pedro Diniz BRA 30 laps H.-H. Frentzen GER 59 laps Ukyo Katayama JPN 59 laps Fastest lap: Michael Schumacher 1:24.475Berger again was not able to take part in this weekend's Grand Prix and therefore Wurz was allowed to go for another race. The start of the race had to be red-flagged as Frentzen stalled his engine by stopping his car after the warm-up lap in first gear and not in neutral. Therefore Frentzen had to start from the back of the grid. Back to the front: Villeneuve made a good start and pulled away slightly. Michael Schumacher was able to keep the McLarens of Coulthard and Hakkinen in his back. Next in the first corner was the Sauber of Herbert, in front of Ralf Schumacher, Irvine, Alesi, Wurz and Fisichella rounding up the top ten. Frentzen was able to overtake several cars on the first meters, but he had contact with the Tyrrell of Verstappen in Maggotts corner, slid into the gravel and was out of the race. Katayama did not even make it that far: He crashed into the barriers even before crossing the starting line, but without any obvious reason. Probably, accelerating too hard was the reason for his back stepping sideways and leading him into misery. This incident caused a pace car period in the first laps that did not bring any change in positions.
Villeneuve and Schumacher were able to open up a gap to the rest of the field, led and eventually held up by Coulthard. But Hakkinen was not in the position to challenge his team mate. Herbert, Ralf Schumacher, Irvine, Fisichella, Alesi and Wurz followed. After some Bridgestone drivers, Herbert was the first of the top drivers to come in for a tyre change in lap 17. Only a short time later, Coulthard showed first signs of problems with the brake balance of his car: In Club corner he locked up his left front dramatically, but was able to stay on the track and keep his position. Michael Schumacher was next to come in and he left the pits after a good pit stop. One lap later, Villeneuve came in and not for the first time, the Williams team had problems: The nut on the front left tyre could not be fixed and made Villeneuve stand still for 33.6 seconds. The Canadian rejoined the track in 7th position and saw his hopes for a victory in Silverstone disappear. The Jordan drivers changed tyres as well, but without any problems, so we saw Michael Schumacher leading over the McLarens of Coulthard and Hakkinen who were on a one-stop strategy as well as the Benettons of Alesi and Wurz behind. Finally, Coulthard again locked up his front tyre in Club corner and this time Hakkinen slipped through. The Finn was soon able to pull away and Coulthard had massive problems with his worn tyre in the following laps. Therefore he steered his car to the pits to get new rubbers.
After lap 32, we saw Schumacher leading by 21 seconds over Hakkinen and then in shorter distances Alesi, Wurz, Villeneuve and Herbert. The Sauber of Herbert showed an impressive performance; though dropping to 14th position after stopping as first of the top men, he was able to make his way up to a point scoring position again, keeping the powerful Jordans behind him and matching the times of the Benettons. At the time when Alesi changed tyres for the first time, Schumacher's Ferrari showed first signs of smoke from his left rear wheel. He came into the pits for a tyre change a little earlier than planned, but only a kilometer further in the race, Schumacher had to stop his car, due to the increasing smoke from his back. Afterwards it turned out to be a damage of the wheel bearing. It should be mentioned that this was the first severe technical defect of a Ferrari in the 1997 season. What an improvement over last years reliability or even more compared to the state of five years ago.
Barrichello dropped out of the race with an engine blow-up and Herbert and Wurz nearly crashed in the pit lane. As a result of that (?), Herbert frequented the pits and finally retired on lap 42. Irvine retired in lap 44 with a broken drive shaft while leaving the pits after his second stop. Next came a couple of further engine blow-ups: Salo in lap 44, Verstappen in lap 45 and Magnussen in lap 50. After the last round of pit stops, we had the following succession: Hakkinen leading and able to hold off Villeneuve, but on the left rear tyre of the Finn, bubbles were emerging and threatened the first victory of the Finn. Alesi, Wurz, Coulthard and Ralf Schumacher followed with quite a gap and no real prospect of winning.
Fate stroke Hakkinen hard in lap 52 in Club corner. But it was not his tyre that denied him success, it was his engine that expelled nothing but a cloud of smoke. Villeneuve, who would have had difficulties in overtaking Hakkinen, inherited the top position and did not give it away till the checkered flag fell. Alesi and Wurz were the other podium finishers, David Coulthard stayed in front of Ralf Schumacher and with Nakano's engine going up in smoke in the last lap, Damon Hill could score the last point. With six retirements at the start of the season, this is the third finish in a row; isn't that promising, Damon? After many rumours this week about Hill's future with or without the Arrows team, Hill showed that it is not him who keeps the Arrows from scoring points. For this effort he earned a lot of deserved respect from his driving collegues and is on the best way to translate his goal into action that he declared with a twinkle of an eye earlier in the week: He wants to avoid to become the worst world champion and therefore needs to score more than two points as Jody Scheckter, world champion of 1979, did in 1980.
After Patrick Head, technical director at Williams, criticized
both his drivers quite hard this week, he again had to face the
technical problems with the Williams cars in this year. Frentzens
retirement would not have happened, if Frentzen had started from
the front row. And it is questionable, whether Frentzen's lack
of capabilities is the reason for not being able to shift to neutral.
The Williams team may not be used to struggle with problems, because
of their domination throughout the last years and both sides,
technical and driver side have points to improve, but hey, they
are a close second in the team championship! That is no disgrace!
They only have to face a streak of bad luck as the Ferraris did
Name Nat Race Time 1. Gerhard Berger AUT 1h20:59.046 2. Michael Schumacher GER 17.527 3. Mika Hakkinen FIN 24.770 4. Jarno Trulli ITA 27.165 5. Ralf Schumacher GER 29.995 6. Jean Alesi FRA 34.717 7. Shinji Nakano JPN 1:19.722 8. Damon Hill GBR 1 lap 9. Norberto Fontana ARG 1 lap 10. Jos Verstappen HOL 1 lap 11. Giancarlo Fisichella ITA 5 laps Not classified: Jacques Villeneuve CAN 12 laps Rubens Barrichello BRA 12 laps Mika Salo FIN 12 laps Jan Magnussen DEN 18 laps Ukyo Katayama JPN 22 laps Johnny Herbert GBR 37 laps Pedro Diniz BRA 37 laps David Coulthard SCO 44 laps H.-H. Frentzen GER 44 laps Eddie Irvine IRL 44 laps Tarso Marques BRA 45 lapsGerhard Berger made it back! The old man of the Formula One circus returned to the championship after his sanitary problems and the tragic death of his father and surprised everyone with his pole position. Fisichella with his second place on the grid as well topped the expectations in him. Berger took profit of his pole and pulled away bit by bit soon afterwards. Fisichella was able to hold off Schumacher and Hakkinen. The next drivers into the first corner were Irvine and Frentzen. The Irishman came from behind, but he was on the inside. As none of the two lifted the throttle to give way and as Frentzen prefered not to go through the dust, Irvine's left rear wheel touched Frentzens front right wheel and both tyres were destroyed. Therefore these two were overtaken in lap one, both crawled into the pits, but both had to give up. Irvines car even stood in flames, but noone was hurt.
The next cars were Alesi, Villeneuve, Coulthard, Trulli and Herbert. At the entry of the Motodrome, Coulthard braked much too late, locked up and slid into the gravel. He was able to steer his car immediately to the pits, changed tyres, went out again, but did not make it round once again. As overtaking was nearly impossible on the very-high speed track, the most changes in positions were caused by retirements or pit stops. In lap 8, Diniz and Herbert crashed and were out of the race. Next major point of the race was the first round of pit stops for the Benettons: Alesi and one lap later, Berger came in and therefore lost their good positions. As a result of that, Giancarlo Fisichella was able to lead and to make his first laps round a Grand Prix circuit in the leading spot. Michael Schumacher slipped through and Berger came out in fourth position right behind the McLaren of Hakkinen
The young Italian lost the leading position after his pit stop and Berger was in the lead again. Behind second place man Fisichella came Alesi, to whom Michael Schumacher lost his third place. As the Benettons were on a two stop strategy, Berger as well as Alesi had to come in again. Alesi dropped back behind Villeneuve, Trulli and Ralf Schumacher and rejoined in 8th position. Berger made a very short stop, but did not manage to keep his position. He came out right behind Fisichella, but the 37 year old Austrian overtook the youngster in the same lap.
Twelve laps before the checkered flag fell, Villeneuve spun into the gravel after a driving error while an overtaking manoeuver. Bad luck stroke Fisichella 6 laps before he secured the second place that he held at that point. His rear left tyre exploded for no obvious reason at the entry of the motodrome. With another spin at pit lane entry, he made it to his pit, had replaced his tyres and went out again, but this was his last lap. This brought the final result with Berger finishing first, Michael Schumacher inheriting the second place from Fisichella and Hakkinen crossing the checkered flag third. Trulli proved his driving qualities and earned his first championship points ever. Ralf Schumacher and Alesi took the last points and Nakano, Hill, Fontana and Verstappen were the remaining finishing drivers.
The Williams team scored another poor result with no driver finishing. This weekend, Patrick Head's criticism would be apropriate. Irvine as well should make it to the classement again soon. In contrast to these descending performances, Hill finished for the fourth time in a row; not in the points, but a solid piece of work. But the most respect deserves Gerhard Berger. He drove an unchallenged race and therefore stood on the top step of the podium. He brought the first victory to the Benetton team since Michael Schumacher left the team at the end of '95. Last year Berger lead the German Grand Prix till two laps before the finish and then he suffered a huge engine blow-up. This year he proved that the Hockenheimring is HIS race track. ...and all that after his enormous problems in the last weeks....
Unregarded his victory today, Berger's future is not secured.
He declared that he will not race for Benetton next year, but
all the seats in the top teams seem to be occupied. His best option
at the moment would be to change seats with Fisichella, but everybody
knows how long the contracts of less successful drivers last and
probably there would be again a seat for Berger in a top team...
Name Nat Race Time 1. Jacques Villeneuve CAN 1h45:47.149 2. Damon Hill GBR 9.079 3. Johnny Herbert GBR 20.445 4. Michael Schumacher GER 30.501 5. Ralf Schumacher GER 30.715 6. Shinji Nakano JPN 41.512 7. Jarno Trulli ITA 1:15.552 8. Gerhard Berger AUT 1:16.409 9. Eddie Irvine IRL 1 lap 10. Ukyo Katayama JPN 1 lap 11. Jean Alesi FRA 1 lap 12. Tarso Marques BRA 2 laps 13. Mika Salo FIN 2 laps Not classified: David Coulthard SCO 12 laps Jos Verstappen HOL 16 laps Pedro Diniz BRA 24 laps Giancarlo Fisichella ITA 35 laps H.-H. Frentzen GER 48 laps Rubens Barrichello BRA 48 laps Mika Hakkinen FIN 65 laps Giancarlo Morbidelli ITA 70 laps Jan Magnussen DEN 72 laps Fastest Lap: H.-H. Frentzen GER 1:18.875Damon Hill somehow managed to qualify in third position and surprised everyone by justifying this grid position by dominating the race at the Hungaroring. A few laps in hte race, he passed pole sitter Michael Schumacher, who ruined his new Ferrari chassis in the Sunday morning warm-up and had tyre problems till his first pit stop. Damon pulled away and neither the Ferraris nor the Williams were able to follow. Only Frentzen was able to challenge Hill for a couple of laps as the German was on a strategy with one stop less. But as so often this season, Frentzens Williams had technical problems and due to that he retired.
But Damon Hill was denied his earned 10 points as his Arrows slowed down one lap before the checkered flag. The 30 second gap to Villeneuve vanished, the Canadian passed Damon, but Damon cruised around the last lap and crossed the finish line and came in second. Third was Johnny Herbert, who is not a common podium finisher as well. He proved that the Sauber is a reliable car that is not much off the pace of the top teams. Because of his tyre problems in the beginning and in the latter part of the race, Michael Schumacher was lucky to leave Hungary with three more points. His brother Ralf, scoring two points, could have gone a lot quicker, but as always on the Hungaroring, it is very, very difficult to overtake other cars. Eddie Irvine could have scored the last point, but the Ulsterman managed to spin off during the last lap of the race, so Shinji Nakano scored one point for the second time in his career.
Both Benettons had to struggle with blisters on their tyres and therefore were kept from pushing harder. Probably also remarkable that both Minardis finished...
The last paragraph of today's review is, again, dedicated to the
commentators of RTL Television. I would love to know who Heiko
Wasser thinks he is talking to. He seems to assume that only complete
idiots watch Formula One on RTL. I sampled the "best" of his race
comment and encoded it as 48kbps-MPEG-Layer III. You can download dd the sound document, but be sure that you have an appropriate
player (such as SoundApp (2.4 or newer) for the Mac or WinPlay
for DOS machines). The file length is about 103 kB.
Name Nat Race Time 1. Michael Schumacher GER 1h33:46.717 2. Giancarlo Fisichella ITA 26.753 3. H.-H. Frentzen GER 32.147 4. Johnny Herbert GBR 39.025 5. Jacques Villeneuve CAN 42.103 6. Gerhard Berger AUT 1:03.741 7. Pedro Diniz BRA 1:25.931 8. Jean Alesi FRA 1:42.008 9. Gianni Morbidelli ITA 1:42.582 10. Mika Salo FIN 1 lap 11. Jan Magnussen DEN 1 lap 12. Damon Hill GBR 1 lap 13. Ukyo Katayama JPN 1 lap 14. Eddie Irvine IRL 1 lap 15. Jarno Trulli ITA 2 laps Not classified: Jos Verstappen HOL 18 laps Ralf Schumacher GER 22 laps David Coulthard SCO 24 laps Tarso Marques BRA 29 laps Rubens Barrichello BRA 44 laps Shinji Nakano JPN 44 laps Mika Hakkinen FIN 30.856Immediately before the start of the race, a heavy, short rain came down, so that the tyre choice became quite a gamble. Michael Schumacher again won that gamble by opting for intermediates. Pole sitter Villeneuve made the wrong decision with rain tyres. As the track was too wet for a secure start, the race commenced with three laps behind the safety car. While Schumacher started the race with overtaking Alesi and Villeneuve and then pulling away by five or more seconds per lap, the Canadian changed to intermediates in the fifth lap and in the tenth lap he finally put on slicks. After the track had dried out and everyone had changed toi slicks, Schumacher lead the race by nearly fifty seconds. As he lapped not much slower thatn the others in the dry, he was able to secure another victory for Ferrari.
The Italian Fisichella became second, because he had the right tyre strategy as well and because he did not make driver errors. Hakkinen managed to come in third, but he was under pressure from Frentzen in the last laps. After a quite bad seventh position on the starting grid and a wrong tyre decision at the start, Frentzen dropped down to 12th, but on the dry, he was able to make his way up position by position and finally deserved what he achieved: three championship points. After Hungary, where he finished on the podium, Herbert again scored points with his fourth position that he secured with a constant, good effort. The aforementioned Villeneuve scored the final point despite all his tyre problems and the slower cars he had to overtake several times. Berger who had severe problems during qualifying on Saturday and therefore had to start from way back on the grid made his way up the grid to seventh position and would have deserved a point as well for that great drive.
The eighth to cross the line was the Brasilian Pedro Diniz who was involved in an incident with Irvine in the last lap. The outcome of that situation was that Irvine, as in Hungary, lost a better position in the very last lap and in the end was classified 15th instead of 8th. Jean Alesi was the only one to match the performance of Villeneuve on Saturday and began the race quite promising. Like Villeneuve, he started on wet weather tyres, but he did not come in for intermediates. Alesi waited five laps longer and then took slicks. With this strategy, he was second on the track, but later, he dropped down the order, because he had to come in for unplanned pit stops. Otherwise he could have finished second or at least in the points (as H. Wasser would say: "...hätte, wäre, wenn..."). Last years champion Damon Hill confirmed the improved performance of his Arrows car in the qualifying session and even Diniz started as one of the top ten. In the race, Damon Hill lost a more promising position, because he came to the pits in two consecutive laps, due to a wrong tyre being put on at the first time.
After the race, there were rumours about Hakkinen having spun on the safety car laps and then overtaking other cars. He denied having made actions nonconform with the regulations. In addition to that, there were discussions about the fuel that the McLarens used during the qualifying.
Mika Hakkinen was disqualified for his unregularities in his fuel.
Name Nat Race Time 1. David Coulthard SCO 1h17:04.609 2. Jean Alesi FRA 1.937 3. H.-H. Frentzen GER 4.343 4. Giancarlo Fisichella ITA 5.871 5. Jacques Villeneuve CAN 6.416 6. Michael Schumacher GER 11.481 7. Gerhard Berger AUT 12.471 8. Eddie Irvine IRL 17.639 9. Mika Hakkinen FIN 49.373 10. Jarno Trulli ITA 1:02.706 11. Shinji Nakano JPN 1:03.327 12. Giancarlo Morbidelli ITA 1 lap 13. Rubens Barrichello BRA 1 lap 14. Tarso Marques BRA 3 laps Not classified: Damon Hill GBR 7 laps Ralf Schumacher GER 14 laps Johnny Herbert GBR 15 laps Mika Salo FIN 20 laps Jan Magnussen DEN 22 laps Jos Verstappen HOL 41 laps Ukyo Katayama JPN 45 laps Pedro Diniz BRA 49 laps Fastest Lap: Mika Hakkinen GER 1:24.808During the qualifying, Jean Alesi had made it to the front spot on the grid in front of Frentzen. The only overtaking manouevers took place within the first kilometer: Michael Schumacher who only qualified 9th, passed his brother Ralf and Berger and rejoined the trail in 7th. Alesi pulled away, Frentzen came second and Coulthard made up a couple of places, while Fisichella, Villeneuve and Hakkinen lost a position each.
As mentioned earlier, there were no manouevers from the top drivers so that this race was decided within the pit lane. Coulthard moved up another two places to the leading position while Alesi and Frentzen dropped one place back. Fisichella and Villeneuve lost a place to Mika Hakkinen, but as the Finn had a tyre failure immediately after his only pitstop, he dropped way back. Though he showed an impressive performance afterwards, proved by the fastest race lap, he could not get any further up than to 9th position. The Ferraris of Michael Schumacher and Eddie Irvine lacked of speed during the whole weekend of their home Grand Prix and have to thank Hakkinens bad luck for scoring at least one point.
The only two remarkable race actions were Hill's engine blow-up and Ralf Schumacher pushing Herbert in the grass and therefore in the tyre barrier after overtaking him. Not a very gentle move from the German; it would not have done any harm to him, if he let a small gap for Herbert.
The race did not change very much in the championship; after Villeneuve reduced the gap to Schumacher by one point during the last week, when Hakkinen's result from Spa was eliminated, the Canadian scored another single point more than the championship leader.
Name Nat Race Time 1. Jacques Villeneuve CAN 1h27:35.999 2. David Coulthard SCO 2.909 3. H.-H. Frentzen GER 3.962 4. Giancarlo Fisichella ITA 12.127 5. Ralf Schumacher GER 31.859 6. Michael Schumacher GER 33.411 7. Damon Hill GBR 37.207 8. Johnny Herbert GBR 49.057 9. Giancarlo Morbidelli ITA 1:06.455 10. Gerhard Berger AUT 1 lap 11. Ukyo Katayama JPN 2 laps 12. Jos Verstappen HOL 2 laps 13. Pedro Diniz BRA 2 laps (????) Not classified: Rubens Barrichello BRA 6 laps Jan Magnussen DEN 12 laps Jarno Trulli ITA 13 laps Shinji Nakano JPN 13 laps Mika Salo FIN 22 laps Eddie Irvine IRL 33 laps Jean Alesi FRA 34 laps Mika Hakkinen FIN 70 laps Disqualified after qualifying and therefore not started: Tarso Marques BRA Fastest Lap: Jacques Villeneuve CAN 1:11.814Tarso Marques was not allowed to start at the Austrian Grand Prix due to some irregularities during the qualifying session. Gerhard Berger only qualified 18th at his home Grand Prix, for an unknown reason, he started from the pits and if this were not enough, he spun in the first lap.
Villeneuve, who had snatched pole from Hakkinen seconds before the end of the qualifying, made a bad start, so that Hakkinen, Trulli and even Barrichello slipped through. Next came the other Steward of Magnussen and Frentzen. The main rival for the championship title, Michael Schumacher, who qualified ninth, made up two places at the start. At the end of the first lap, Mika Hakkinen's Mercedes lost engine power and came to a standstill right at the side of the starting straight. Trulli, who inherited the lead was able to pull away in the following laps, Barrichello was temporarily able to open up a gap to Villeneuve. Magnussen clearly was slower than Frentzen and Michael Schumacher, but they were not able to overtake him. The surprising performance of the Stewards only lasted till their first pit stop and partially was based on the little fuel amount they had on board.
Short before the only round of pit stops, Michael Schumacher passed Frentzen and was able to pull away from the Williams driver. Bad luck that he passed his countryman within a yellow flagged area and so he had to come into the pits for a 10 second penalty. At this time of the race he was on a promising second position, as Trulli was already in the pits. When he rejoined the track he found himself on his starting position: 9th. The yellow flags were waved because of an incident including Irvine and Alesi. The French driver, who will drive for Sauber next year, tried to outbreak the Ulsterman, but not for the first time with Irvine involved, one of the two had to give way. As none of the two did, the wheels touched and Alesi was lifted way up in the sky. The Benetton suffered severe damages and had to be pulled away by a crane and the Ferrari managed to drive to the pits, but Irvine gave up there.
Trulli lost his leading position during his pit stop and sadly for the Prost team, both of their drivers suffered an engine blow-up within one lap. Frentzen lost two places during the pit stops period and Michael Schumacher and Coulthard slipped through. After Schumacher's penalty, Coulthard was the only one to chase Villeneuve and indeed he reduced the gap bit by bit. Michael Schumacher rejoined behind a group lead by his brother Ralf, followed by Hill and Barrichello. When Schumacher was within making a move on the Brazilian, Barrichello tried to defend his position by moving in a zig-zag style over the track. Not only did he confuse Schumacher with this manoeuver, more relevantly he missed the break point and could not stay on the track. He went through the grass, ripped off his front spoiler and broke his front suspension. Schumacher went through the corner regularly and was seventh. In the last lap, he made a move on Damon Hill at the same corner of the track where Irvine and Alesi crashed. But Damon Hill is not Eddie Irvine: Though Schumacher's move was quite optimistic, Hill enabled both drivers to come through the corner safely by leaving enough space.
Villeneuve won the race quite unchallenged (disregarding Trulli's great performance) and Coulthard could not quite close the gap on the last laps. The McLaren came in second and one could only guess where Hakkinen could have finished, if he had not lost engine power in the beginning. Frentzen finished on the podium for the third consecutive time and should have pleased the demands of his team bosses. Fisichella made the best after his starting position, drove a good race and took profit of the bad luck of others. His teammate Ralf Schumacher received two points for a balanced performance as well. As mentioned before Michael Schumacher snatched away the last point from Damon Hill. Gerhard Berger finished tenth. After Villeneuve lapped the Austrian, Berger was able to follow the leader and he was denied a good result, only because of his horrible qualifying performance. It is sad, but it has to be assumed that the Formula One circus will lose Berger as one of the major "characters". There is no seat left in the top teams and Berger will not drive for a backmarker team. Only some outrageous speculations speak of Berger in a Williams next year and Villeneuve in a Prost, but who knows....
I'm sorry, but again I have to complain about the desastrous commentators at RTL: They needed more than half a lap to recognize that Villeneuve had taken the lead from Trulli. They said Berger spun on the warmup lap. My first impression was he spun within the first race lap and reviewing the tape seemed to prove that. Furthermore RTL refuses to show a result table; not after the checkered flag fell and not within their "highlights". Finally, from now on Kai Ebel has to be seen as a cult star. His unique questions are unbeatable. Thank you Kai, you are great fun to watch and you are the only one to turn a boring race at least into something entertaining.
Name Nat Race Time 1. Jacques Villeneuve CAN 1h31:27.843 2. Jean Alesi FRA 11.770 3. H.-H. Frentzen GER 13.480 4. Gerhard Berger AUT 16.416 5. Pedro Diniz BRA 43.147 6. Olivier Panis FRA 43.750 7. Johnny Herbert GBR 44.354 8. Damon Hill GBR 44.777 9. Giancarlo Morbidelli ITA 1 lap 10. Mika Salo FIN 1 lap Not classified: Jos Verstappen HOL 17 laps Rubens Barrichello BRA 24 laps Mika Hakkinen FIN 24 laps David Coulthard SCO 25 laps Jan Magnussen DEN 27 laps Eddie Irvine IRL 45 laps Shinji Nakano JPN 51 laps Michael Schumacher GER 65 laps Ukyo Katayama JPN 66 laps Tarso Marques BRA 66 laps Giancarlo Fisichella ITA 67 laps Ralf Schumacher GER 67 laps Fastest Lap: H.-H. Frentzen GER 1:18.805Olivier Panis made his return to Formula One after his injury during the Canadian Grand Prix. He replaced Jarno Trulli, who showed a couple of promising performances in the Prost and hopefully will join the Formula One circus again next year. Mika Hakkinen achieved the best qualifying time and consequently started the race from the pole position. Jacques Villeneuve aside him and Michael Schumacher only in 5th position. The McLarens, not for the first time, showed how you should start a Grand Prix: Hakkinen took advantage of his grid position and pulled away while Coulthard, coming from 6th, passed a Ferrari, a Jordan and both Williams and shadowed his teammate for the initial laps. Like the Scot, Ralf Schumacher made a very good start and managed to overtake his brother and even came up to his temamate Fisichella. But he judged his position falsely and pushed the other "young gun" more and more to the inside and finally into the gravel. As Ralf did not leave any room at all to his teammate, Fisichella was not able to avoid him and their wheels touched. Ralf Schumacher was lifted and crashed down into his brother's front suspension, who was on the outside of him, but Michael was in no position to avoid the crash. Michael rejoined the track and gave hope to the crowd that he was able to continue, but at the end of lap 2 he came into the pits and halted the car. The rsult of the first laps was: Ralf Schumacher was out of the race and he took Fisichella and his brother with him. Berger had to go through the gravel, but suffered no damage, so he could rejoin the race. Hakkinen lead the race in front of his team mate Coulthard and Jacques Villeneuve, who could take it easy after he saw that his championship rival Schumacher was out. Fourth was Barrichello, followed by Alesi and Magnussen in the second Steward. There is an obvious improvement in the performance of the Stewards within the last races, they only have to stabilize their achievements, so that they can score points. Frentzen touched Villeneuve at the entry of the first corner softly, but both did not suffer any damage and probably he was involved in Ralf Schumachers incident as well. What we know is that he found himself around 13th position after lap 1.
Mika Hakkinen pulled away easily and Coulthard always kept a gap between himself and Jacques Villeneuve, so the McLarens seemed to have everything under control in the early stages of the race. When Mika and Villeneuve went into the pits at the same time, we knew that they were both on a two stop strategy, so Mika's lead was under no thread. Even David Coulthard was able to rejoin the track in front of Villeneuve after his pit stop a few laps later. The Canadian nearly lost his third place to Barrichello, who was on a one stop strategy that would have brought him points if not his engine failed later on. The other Steward of Magnussen clearly was slower, but Hill was not in the position to start a manoeuver on him. Alesi rejoined the track in 8th position after his pit stop, behind Diniz. Berger and Frentzen tried to move up the order, but they were stuck in battles for around eleventh place. Irvine who drove the wheels off his Ferrari, had to stop his car in lap 22 due to a technical problem. Bad luck for Eddie and it is really time for him not only to finish another race, but to score some more points.
Then came what decided not only today's race, but very likely this years championship. After Michael Schumacher's early end, the hope of the Ferrari driver lay in the McLarens that should keep Villeneuve from scoring maximum points. But the Mercedes engine was against Michael Schumacher: Within two laps, Coulthard's engine blew in a drastic way and Hakkinen as well stopped his car right beside Coulthard. The McLarens could have easily scored the maximum 16 points this weekend, but the reliability of the Mercedes engine denied this. So Villeneuve found himself in the leading position and after the second and last round of pit stops, he was chased by Alesi, Frentzen and Berger. Both Stewards had retired, Hill stalled his engine when leaving the pits and lost a lot of time there. His teammate Diniz could take profit out of that and held fifth position in front of Panis and Herbert. Noone was able to improve in position within the last laps so that this ranking represents the final result of the Grand Prix of Luxemburg.
It has to be said that Michael Schumacher lost the championship today. With the remaining races in Suzuka and Jerez and with the strength and reliability of the Williams cars and drivers in the last races, there is no real chance for Michael Schumacher to get the drivers title for Ferrari in 1997. Except if there will be rain in Japan and in Jerez...
Name Nat Race Time 1. Michael Schumacher GER 1h29:48.446 2. H.-H. Frentzen GER 1.378 3. Eddie Irvine IRL 26.384 4. Mika Hakkinen FIN 27.129 5. Jacques Villeneuve CAN 39.776 6. Jean Alesi FRA 40.403 7. Johnny Herbert GBR 41.630 8. Giancarlo Fisichella ITA 56.825 9. Gerhard Berger AUT 1:00.429 10. Ralf Schumacher GER 1:22.036 11. David Coulthard SCO 1 lap 12. Damon Hill GBR 1 lap 13. Pedro Diniz BRA 1 lap 14. Jos Verstappen HOL 1 lap Not classified: Mika Salo FIN 5 laps Tarso Marques BRA 6 laps Olivier Panis FRA 17 laps Shinji Nakano JPN 31 laps Ukyo Katayama JPN 45 laps Rubens Barrichello BRA 47 laps Jan Magnussen DEN 50 laps Fastest Lap: H.-H. Frentzen GER 1:38.942During the qualifying, Jacques Villeneuve did not slow down in a yellow-flagged area, like four other drivers did, but as he already did so earlier, he was banned from the race in Suzuka. As the Williams team objected, Villeneuve was allowed to take part in the race and a later decision has to be made whether his raceban is confirmed and his result taken away from him or whether the ban will be extended for more races.
Villeneuve started from the pole position and managed to get into the first corner first. He tried to slow down the whole field so that someone would be able to overtake Michael Schumacher. But the Ferrari team showed an unbelieveable, never seen team performance: Schumacher followed Villeneuve easily, but did not risk to start a manoeuver on the Canadian. Instead he slowed down in one corner and Hakkinen behind him was surprised and braked. Not so Eddie Irvine. He knew that Schumacher will slow down the Finn at that special spot and was prepared to go round Hakkinen on the outside. He passed Schumacher as well and now was second behind Villeneuve. Not much later Irvine outbraked Villeneuve at the chicane and passed the Williams driver on the outside. This second overtaking manoeuver was much more risky, as Schumacher could not help Irvine and as Villeneuve normally would be able to keep Irvine behind him. Probably the Canadian was surprised, but fact is that suddenly Irvine was first and pulled away.
It seemed that Villeneuve still concentrated on holding up Schumacher, so Irvine could open up a gap of about 14 seconds within a few laps. The first round of pitstops was the chance for Schumacher to overtake without risking too much. Schumacher made quite a good pitstop and came out with no problems. After his stop he had a clear road in font of him so that he could put in a couple of fast laps. Then Villeneuve came in, needed a little more time and rejoined the track right in front of Schumacher. He crossed the track quite harsh, but he was not yet at full speed so that Schumacher could squeeze through. Irvine still was leading the race, but now in front of his team mate. He slowed down to enable Schumacher to get passed and started racing right in front of Villeneuve. Some might say he held up Villeneuve, but I do not think so: Villeneuve was not able to cope with Irvine's speed in the following laps.
The second series of pit stops brought no problems for both of the Ferraris, but Villeneuve's pit crew had problems to with the fuel hose and held up Villeneuve for at least six seconds. Therefore he was way back when ha rejoined. The man of the second part of the race was Frentzen. He overtook Hakkinen during the first pit stop period and passed Villeneuve and Irvine throughout the second one. In the last laps he was even able to close the gap to the leading Schumacher down to a few seconds.
The Ferrari team showed a never seen team performance and could have finished on the top two steps of the podium, if Irvine waited for Schumacher not at half distance, but in the final stages of the race. Otherwise, they would have risked that Schumacher dropped back behind Villeneuve with a not so perfect pit stop. Earlier in the season they would have taken the risk, but as their only goal at that time of the season was Schumachers ten points, they did the right thing.
Everybody was delighted about Schumachers performance in Suzuka, but noone remarked that the Williams team secured the team championship with Frentzen's six points. The outcome of the drivers championship is open again, probably more open than we would have hoped. Rumours say that Villeneuve will be banned from the final race in Jerez as well, if his team does not take back their objection. This would mean that Schumacher has already won the championship...
The last thing to remark: As I write these lines I hear that Gerhard
Berger will withdraw from Formula One racing after this years
last Grand Prix in Jerez.
Bye, bye Gerhard. We will miss you ! ! !
Meanwhile, the Williams team did withdraw their objection, so Villeneuve's 5th position is given to Alesi and Johnny Herbert scores the final point.
Name Nat Race Time 1. Mika Hakkinen FIN 1h38:57.773 2. David Coulthard SCO 1.654 3. Jacques Villeneuve CAN 1.802 4. Gerhard Berger AUT 1.919 5. Eddie Irvine IRL 3.789 6. H.-H. Frentzen GER 4.537 7. Olivier Panis FRA 1:07.145 8. Johnny Herbert GBR 1:12.960 9. Jan Magnussen DEN 1:17.487 10. Shinji Nakano JPN 1:18.215 11. Giancarlo Fisichella ITA 1 lap 12. Mika Salo FIN 1 lap 13. Jean Alesi FRA 1 lap 14. Norberto Fontana ARG 1 lap 15. Tarso Marques BRA 1 lap 16. Jos Verstappen HOL 1 lap 17. Ukyo Katayama JPN 1 lap Not classified: Damon Hill GBR 22 laps Michael Schumacher GER 22 laps Ralf Schumacher GER 25 laps Rubens Barrichello BRA 39 laps Pedro Diniz BRA 58 laps
We saw a thrilling end of the season with a deserved outcome. But is it sport what we saw or is it pure business and a strive for maximum profit. Can we, the audience, support a sports scene that makes come true what adidas said in their tv ad: 0% fair - 100% legal. Think about this development in sports for a while...
Back to the race weekend: The qualifying session on Saturday brought an unbelievable result: The top three drivers crossed the line with exactly the same time. The word unbelievable is meant as it is said: We have never ever seen two drivers with the same time and on Saturday we saw three of them. These drivers were not some of the less known drivers in the back of the field, they were the top drivers leading the qualifying ranking. I can not believe what they told us what the outcome of this qualifying session was.
Be it as it is. Villeneuve was the man on pole, but his championship rival Michael Schumacher was to his right in second grid position. The German lead the drivers championship by one point and some were thinking of 1994, when Schumacher lead the championship table by one point as well and when he crashed into his rival Damon Hill and by doing so, he won the title. Advices for Michael's race tactics in Jerez were at hand from specialists like Niki Lauda who suggested Michael to go into the first corner in an "aggressive style". Everybody knew what he meant: Take your line and whenever Villeneuve tries to challenge you, crash him. Great sportsmanship from the former world champion.
Michael's superb start prevented a decision in the first corner. Villeneuve's car moved first, but Schumacher passed him easily way before the first corner. Even Frentzen who came from third position passed his teammate. Schumacher pulled away from the whole field, so the Williams team, especially Frentzen, could not repeat what Irvine did to Villeneuve in Suzuka. Therefore Frentzen slowed down, so that he could hold up Schumacher after the first pit stop and by doing so, possibly enabling Villeneuve to close the gap. The manoeuver of the Williams team succeeded so that when Frentzen came in, Schumacher was only leading by under a second. But Schumacher was able to pull out a gap of about two seconds again. Michael came in early for the second stop so that he could possibly come out in front of a deliberately slow driving Frentzen. The calculations of the Ferrari crew were perfect and Schumacher could join the track right in front of the group of the two McLarens and Frentzen. Villeneuve stopped a little bit faster, but nevertheless had to let through Coulthard. The Scot wanted to keep out of the battle for the championship and came in for his pit stop one lap later. The positions on the track at this moment were Schumacher leading by 2 seconds, Villeneuve following and after another two seconds Frentzen who had only stopped once yet.
In the following lap we witnessed that Villeneuve was able to come closer bit by bit and as Schumacher was easily in control of the race in the early stages, I suspect that his tyres showed a slightly worse performance. While Villeneuve reached for the gearbox of Schumacher, Frentzen nearly unnoticed closed up to the leading duo. At the end of the long straight, Villeneuve pulled out of the slipstream and went on the inside of Schumacher. The German saw the Williams on the better line and tried to shut the door, but Villeneuve was as far on the inside as he could be. So Schumacher had the choice of letting Villeneuve through and losing the title or crashing into him and winning the title himself. He took the second option. He tried to slamshut the door by all means, but sadly for him, his front wheel crashed into Villeneuve's car right in the middle of the front and the rear suspension so that he caused no damage to the Williams car. The only thing that broke was his own front suspension, but he got stuck in the gravle anyway. Had he succeeded with his manoeuver, the whole world would have cheered to a Ferrari world champion, but he only crashed himself out of the race.
Though Villeneuve's suspensions were unhurt, he was worried that his radiator could have been damaged. He slowed down and speeded up again for hte rest of the race. In the last lap, he showed real sportsmanship and pulled over to let Hakkinen and Coulthard through. If he had seen that Gerhard Berger was coming as well, he possibly would have handed over the final podium position to the Austrian in his final race in Formula One. These four passed the checkered flag within two seconds, followed by Frentzen and Irvine who was not even 5 seconds behind. If Frentzen had not slowed down twice during the race, he could have fairly easily won.
We saw a great Formula One season and it has not been that tight for a long time. The Williams team showed unexpected weaknesses meaning they were not miles in front of the rest of the field, but only a few inches. In the first half of the season, they had massive problems with reliability and both of their drivers did not fulfill the expectations. Finally they finished the season in their common way: They won the constructors title as well as the drivers title. The Ferraris, especially the one of Michael Schumacher showed the reliability that we missed last season and so Schumacher was able to challenge Villeneuve for the title. Irvine denied himself from finishing more often with unnecessary manoeuvers and crashes, but had a lot of bad luck as well. The Benettons had big ups and downs this year, but the downs weighed more. With Gerhard Berger, we lose a great driver personality and Jean Alesi will be less often the focus of attention at Sauber as well. Their new driver Alexander Wurz Showed a promising performance especially at the German Grand Prix, but he has to prove that he is a character that should be in Formula One. The McLarens have come closer to the top spots, but need to refind the reliability they had last season. At the final Grand Prix, Mika Hakkinen won the first Formula One Grand Prix in his career. If his car had not stopped him several times this year, he could have finished further up in this years championship. The Jordans were third behind the Williams and Schumacher on some tracks, but on other circuits they were way back like in Jerez. Eddie Jordan's team had the expected problems with his young guns that retired unnecessaryly often, but on the other side they were close to winning the German Grand Prix. Let's hope their next year's Mugen engine will be as powerful as the Peugeout engine was. The Prost team had immense ups and downs as well mainly caused by the accident of their first driver Panis in Canada. The young Italian Trulli who started the season with Minardi showed some promising drives for the Prost team and we will see for whom he will drive in '98, but I'm sure he will be in a car next year. The Sauber team lacked of a second reliable driver. Johnny Herbert did all he can, but he could not bring the team in touch with better teams alone. The Arrows team, as expected played a minor roll in this years championship, but they had their moments as well. Especially last years champion Damon Hill surprised us all when he lead the race in Hungary unchallenged. But as Damon will join Ralf Schumacher at Jordan, future qualities of the Arrows team are questioningly. The new Steward team had massive problems with their Ford engine blowing up frequently. The second place of Barrichello at Monaco was a big surprise and did not reflect the power of the team at that time, but in the last races of the season, the Steward team was stronger as the results appeared and they would have really deserved a second point finish. The Tyrrell team has not had the power to cope with the other teams and in the later part of the season they were even slower than the Minardis who occupied the last rows for some years now. Theses two teams obviusly do not have the financial power to compete with the other teams, but unlike the Fortis last year, they always stayed within the 107% of the qualifying. The Lola team did not really take part in this season.
Let's hope for next season that the drivers will behave like sportsmen
and do not accept crashing other drivers as an appropriate means
to follow their goals. It is a drivers championship, not a crashers
championship. The other hope I have is that the rule changes for
next year will bring us the promised overtaking mannoeuvers.
1. Jacques Villeneuve CAN 81 pts 2. Michael Schumacher GER 78 pts 3. H.-H. Frentzen GER 42 pts 4. David Coulthard SCO 36 pts 5. Jean Alesi FRA 36 pts 6. Gerhard Berger AUT 27 pts 7. Mika Hakkinen FIN 27 pts 8. Eddie Irvine IRL 24 pts 9. Giancarlo Fisichella ITA 20 pts 10. Olivier Panis FRA 16 pts 11. Johnny Herbert GBR 15 pts 12. Ralf Schumacher GER 13 pts 13. Damon Hill GBR 7 pts 14. Rubens Barrichello BRA 6 pts 15. Alexander Wurz AUT 4 pts 16. Jarno Trulli ITA 3 pts 17. Mika Salo FIN 2 pts 17. Shinji Nakano JPN 2 pts 17. Pedro Diniz BRA 2 pts 19. Nicola Larini ITA 1 pt No points for (best result in brackets): Jan Magnussen DEN (7) Jos Verstappen HOL (8) Norberto Fontana ARG (9) Ukyo Katayama JPN (10) Gianni Morbidelli ITA (10) Tarso Marques BRA (10) Ricardo Rosset BRA (none) Vincenzo Sospiri ITA (none)
1. Williams 123 pts 2. Ferrari 102 pts 3. Benetton 67 pts 4. McLaren 63 pts 5. Jordan 33 pts 6. Prost 21 pts 7. Sauber 16 pts 8. Arrows 9 pts 9. Steward 6 pts 10. Tyrrell 2 pts No points for (best finish in brackets): Minardi (9) Lola d never q
1. Jean Alesi 947 laps 89,8% 2. Mika Salo 906 laps 85,9% 3. Michael Schumacher 875 laps + 0.1 83,0% 4. Jacques Villeneuve 864 laps + 0.2 82,0% 5. Giancarlo Fisichella 852 laps + 0.1 80,8% 6. Johnny Herbert 847 laps 80,4% 7. Heinz-Harald Frentzen 810 laps + 0.1 76,8% 8. Gerhard Berger 809 laps 93,1% (did not compete in CAN, FRA and GB) 9. Eddie Irvine 802 laps + 0.2 76,1% 10. David Coulthard 791 laps 75,0% 11. Jos Verstappen 786 laps 74,6% 12. Damon Hill 760 laps + 0.2 72,1% 13. Mika Hakkinen 722 laps + 0.1 68,5% 14. Shinji Nakano 716 laps + 0.1 67,9% 15. Jarno Trulli 702 laps 81,1% (did not compete in LUX and JAP) 16. Ralf Schumacher 700 laps + 0.1 66,4% 17. Pedro Diniz 678 laps + 0.1 64,3% 18. Ukyo Katayama 637 laps + 0.1 60,4% 19. Jan Magnussen 589 laps + 0.2 55,9% 20. Rubens Barrichello 586 laps + 0.1 55,6& 21. Olivier Panis 550 laps 83,8% (did not compete between FRA and LUX) 22. Gianni Morbidelli 351 laps 81,6% (competing at ESP, CAN and since HUN, not in JAP) 23. Tarso Marques 319 laps + 0.1 52,3% (competing since FRA, not qualified for AUT) 24. Nicola Larini 277 laps 84,9% (out of championship since ESP) 25. Norberto Fontana 210 laps 85,7% (competing in FRA, GB and GER) 26. Alexander Wurz 154 laps 83,2% (competing in championship at CAN, FRA and GB) 27. Vincenzo Sospiri 0 laps 27. Ricardo Rosset 0 lapsThe + 0.x value expresses how often a driver qualified, but did make it round once; 0.1 equals once, 0.2 equals twice, ...
1. Benetton 1910 laps 90,6% 2. Tyrrell 1692 laps 80,2% 3. Sauber 1685 laps 82,0% started in JAP with only one car 4. Ferrari 1677 laps 79,6% 5. Prost 1677 laps 79,6% 6. Williams 1674 laps 79,4% 7. Jordan 1552 laps 73,6% 8. McLaren 1513 laps 71,8% 9. Arrows 1438 laps 68,2% 10. Minardi 1255 laps 59,5% 11. Steward 1175 laps 55,7% 12. Lola 0 laps
© sucks, so no ©by Oliver Schubert, but noone would like to copy that anyway . . .
this page was started on 4/27/1997
last updated on 10/29/1997