Qualifying : Warm, sunny
1996 Pole: 1m 38.909s Jacques Villeneuve (Williams)
The Starting Grid
|Jacques Villeneuve||Williams-Renault||1m 36.071s|
|Michael Schumacher||Ferrari||1m 36.133s|
|Eddie Irvine||Ferrari||1m 36.466s|
|Mika Hakkinen||McLaren-Mercedes||1m 36.469s|
|Gerhard Berger||Benetton-Renault||1m 36.561s|
|Heinz-Harald Frentzen||Williams-Renault||1m 36.628s|
|Jean Alesi||Benetton-Renault||1m 36.682s|
|Johnny Herbert||Sauber-Petronas||1m 36.906s|
|Gianni Fisichella||Jordan-Peugeot||1m 36.917s|
|Olivier Panis||Prost-Mugen||1m 37.073s|
|David Coulthard||McLaren-Mercedes||1m 37.095s|
|Rubens Barrichello||Stewart-Ford||1m 37.343s|
|Ralf Schumacher||Jordan-Peugeot||1m 37.443s|
|Jan Magnussen||Stewart-Ford||1m 37.480s|
|Shinji Nakano||Prost-Mugen||1m 37.588s|
|Pedro Diniz||TWR Arrows-Yamaha||1m 37.853s|
|Damon Hill||TWR Arrows-Yamaha||1m 38.022s|
|Gianni Morbidelli||Sauber-Petronas||1m 38.556s|
|Ukyo Katayama||Minardi-Hart||1m 38.983s|
|Tarso Marques||Minardi-Hart||1m 39.678s|
|Jos Verstappen||Tyrrell-Ford||1m 40.259s|
|Mika Salo||Tyrrell-Ford||1m 40.529s|
Warm and sunny
1996 Winner: Damon Hill (Williams) 1h 32m 33.791s
|Michael Schumacher||Ferrari||1h 29m 48.446s|
|Heinz-Harald Frentzen||Williams-Renault||1h 29m 49.824s|
|Eddie Irvine||Ferrari||1h 30m 14.830s|
|Mika Hakkinen||McLaren-Mercedes||1h 30m 15.575s|
|Jean Alesi||Benetton-Renault||1h 30m 28.849s|
|Johnny Herbert||Sauber-Petronas||1h 30m 30.076s|
|Gianni Fisichella||Jordan-Peugeot||1h 30m 45.271s|
|Gerhard Berger||Benetton-Renault||1h 30m 48.875s|
|Ralf Schumacher||Jordan-Peugeot||1h 31m 10.482s|
|David Coulthard||McLaren-Mercedes||1 lap down|
|Damon Hill||TWR Arrows-Yamaha||1 lap down|
|Pedro Diniz||TWR Arrows-Yamaha||1 lap down|
|Jos Verstappen||Tyrrell-Ford||1 lap down|
|Mika Salo||Tyrrell-Ford||48 laps - engine|
|Tarso Marques||Minardi-Hart||47 laps -|
|Olivier Panis||Prost-Mugen||36 laps - engine failure|
|Shinji Nakano||Prost-Mugen||22 laps - rear wheel bearing failure|
|Ukyo Katayama||Minardi-Hart||8 laps -|
|Rubens Barrichello||Stewart-Ford||6 laps -|
|Jan Magnussen||Stewart-Ford||3 laps -|
|Jacques Villeneuve||Williams-Renault||1h 30m 28.222s (disqualified from 5th place)|
1997 : Heinz-Harald
Frentzen (Williams) 1m 38.942s
Previous Lap Record: 1m 40.646s
In a dynamic display of team unity Micheal Schumacher was handed victory by Ferrari #2 Eddie Irvine, while Jacques Villeneuve was frustrated, penalized and finally disqualified as the FIA tried to do its' best to ruin the climax to the Drivers' Championship.
In the opening laps, Villeneuve was obviously holding up the Ferrari's, but Irvine had other things in mind with a perfectly executed maneuver, around the outside of the Canadian, entering the final chicane. After that he drove off into the distance, putting 12 seconds between himself and Jacques.
Meanwhile, a balky fuel hose during the first round of pit-stops meant that Michael was ahead of his Championship rival. With a definite sense of oneupmanship, Irvine slowed dramatically allowing Schumacher to pass, then speeded up and proceeded to pace Villeneuve while his German team-mate motored to an easy victory.
Villeneuve's drive was for nothing however, as the race stewards had disqualified him from the race for failing to slow down when a yellow flag was shown during qualification. Although he was allowed to compete on Sunday following an appeal, the Williams team subsequently withdrew their appeal (fearing a ban from the final GP in Jerez) and Jacques was stripped of his 5th place finish.
The only bright spot for Williams was Heinz-Harald Frentzen's second place (thanks to better pit work by the Didcot boys) which assured the team of the World Constructors crown once again.
Elsewhere, the Jordan's of Ralf Schumacher and Gianni Fisichella kept to themselves and quietly ran to the end. Gerhard Berger and Jean Alesi were steady but unspectacular, while Johnny Herbert picked up a point for the hard working Sauber equipe. Mika Hakkinen, who once again ran well in qualifying, almost made it onto the podium, while fellow McLaren-Mercedes driver David Coulthard suffered an all to familiar engine failure on the very last lap.
It is a great shame that the Championship is to be decided by politicians and stewards, while great drivers like Jacques Villeneuve and Michael Schumacher are made to look like extras in an epic saga.