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Race Report

Austrian Grand Prix
A1 Ring, Spielburg

Qualifying - Race - Analysis

A1 Ring
2.47 miles

Qualifying : Warm, sunny

Villeneuve

1996 Pole: no race

The Starting Grid

Jacques Villeneuve Williams-Renault 1m 10.304s
Mika Hakkinen McLaren-Mercedes 1m 10.398s
Jarno Trulli Prost-Mugen 1m 10.510s
Heinz-Harald Frentzen Williams-Renault 1m 10.670s
Rubens Barrichello Stewart-Ford 1m 10.700s
Jan Magnussen Stewart-Ford 1m 10.893s
Damon Hill TWR Arrows-Yamaha 1m 11.025s
Eddie Irvine Ferrari 1m 11.051s
Michael Schumacher Ferrari 1m 11.056s
David Coulthard McLaren-Mercedes 1m 11.076s
Ralf Schumacher Jordan-Peugeot 1m 11.186s
Johnny Herbert Sauber-Petronas 1m 11.210s
Gianni Morbidelli Sauber-Petronas 1m 11.261s
Gianni Fisichella Jordan-Peugeot 1m 11.299s
Jean Alesi Benetton-Renault 1m 11.382s
Shinji Nakano Prost-Mugen 1m 11.596s
Pedro Diniz TWR Arrows-Yamaha 1m 11.615s
Gerhard Berger Benetton-Renault 1m 11.620s
Ukyo Katayama Minardi-Hart 1m 12.036s
Jos Verstappen Tyrrell-Ford 1m 12.230s
Tarso Marques * Minardi-Hart 1m 12.304s
Mika Salo Tyrrell-Ford 1m 14.246s

* Tarso Marques was disqualified for being 3kg underweight

107 % rule time: 1m 15.225s

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The start

Race : 71 laps
Warm and sunny

1996 Winner: no race

The Result

Jacques Villeneuve Williams-Renault 1h 27m 35.999s
David Coulthard McLaren-Mercedes 1h 27m 38.908s
Heinz-Harald Frentzen Williams-Renault 1h 27m 39.961s
Gianni Fisichella Jordan-Peugeot 1h 27m 48.126s
Ralf Schumacher Jordan-Peugeot 1h 28m 07.858s
Michael Schumacher Ferrari 1h 28m 09.410s

Damon Hill TWR Arrows-Yamaha 1h 28m 13.206s
Johnny Herbert Sauber-Petronas 1h 28m 25.056s
Gianni Morbidelli Sauber-Petronas 1h 28m 42.454s
Gerhard Berger Benetton-Renault 1 lap down
Ukyo Katayama Minardi-Hart 2 laps down
Jos Verstappen Tyrrell-Ford 2 laps down
Pedro Diniz TWR Arrows-Yamaha 3 laps down
Rubens Barrichello Stewart-Ford 65 laps - spun off & broke front suspension
Jarno Trulli Prost-Mugen 59 laps - engine failure
Jan Magnussen Stewart-Ford 59 laps - engine
Shinji Nakano Prost-Mugen 58 laps - engine failure
Mika Salo Tyrrell-Ford 49 laps - gearbox
Eddie Irvine Ferrari 39 laps - collision damage
Jean Alesi Benetton-Renault 38 laps - collision with Irvine
Mika Hakkinen McLaren-Mercedes 1 lap - engine

Fastest Lap

1997 : Jacques Villeneuve (Williams) 1m 11.814s
Lap Record: Circuit changed since last GP

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Jarno Trulli

Analysis :
A calm and calculated drive by Jacques Villeneuve allowed him to close the gap on Michael Schumacher. David Coulthard continued his recent success bringing the McLaren home in second, while Heinz-Harald Frentzen collected more valuable Constructor's points in third.

The highlight of the race however, was the stirring performance of Jarno Trulli in the Prost, who qualified third and easily led the early going. After his pit stop he was a comfortable second, before being let down (as was his teammate Nakano) bt his Mugen-Honda engine.

Also showing well early on were the Stewart's of Rubens Barrichello and Jan Magnussen, who ran second and fourth before the first round of pit-stops.
Yet another Ford engine malady put paid to Magnussens' chances, while Barrichello made an unnecessary (and plain stupid) move on Schumacher's Ferrari and paid dearly.

Further down the field there was plenty of dicing among the likes of Hill, Herbert and Morbidelli, while Jean Alesi overcooked a move on Eddie Irvine and was catapulted into retirement in spectacular fashion (and then tried to blame the Ulsterman !).

With only a week between this and the Luxembourg GP at Nurburgring, the race for the Championship can only get hotter.

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the podium

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Photo credits : AP /