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Race Report

Luxembourg Grand Prix
Nurburgring, Germany

Qualifying - Race - Analysis

Nurburgring
2.831 miles

Qualifying : Warm, sunny

Hakkinen takes pole

1996 Pole: 1m 18.941s Damon Hill (Williams)

The Starting Grid

Mika Hakkinen McLaren-Mercedes 1m 16.602s
Jacques Villeneuve Williams-Renault 1m 16.691s
Heinz-Harald Frentzen Williams-Renault 1m 16.741s
Gianni Fisichella Jordan-Peugeot 1m 17.289s
Michael Schumacher Ferrari 1m 17.385s
David Coulthard McLaren-Mercedes 1m 17.387s
Gerhard Berger Benetton-Renault 1m 17.587s
Ralf Schumacher Jordan-Peugeot 1m 17.595s
Rubens Barrichello Stewart-Ford 1m 17.614s
Jean Alesi Benetton-Renault 1m 17.620s
Olivier Panis Prost-Mugen 1m 17.650s
Jan Magnussen Stewart-Ford 1m 17.722s
Damon Hill TWR Arrows-Yamaha 1m 17.795s
Eddie Irvine Ferrari 1m 17.855s
Pedro Diniz TWR Arrows-Yamaha 1m 18.128s
Johnny Herbert Sauber-Petronas 1m 18.303s
Shinji Nakano Prost-Mugen 1m 18.699s
Tarso Marques Minardi-Hart 1m 19.347s
Gianni Morbidelli Sauber-Petronas 1m 19.490s
Mika Salo Tyrrell-Ford 1m 19.526s
Jos Verstappen Tyrrell-Ford 1m 19.531s
Ukyo Katayama Minardi-Hart 1m 20.615s

107 % rule time: 1m 21.964s

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Oh Brother!

Race : 71 laps
Warm and sunny

1996 Winner: Jacques Villeneuve (Williams) 1h 33m 26.473s

The Result

Jacques Villeneuve Williams-Renault 1h 31m 27.843s
Jean Alesi Benetton-Renault 1h 31m 39.613s
Heinz-Harald Frentzen Williams-Renault 1h 31m 41.323s
Gerhard Berger Benetton-Renault 1h 31m 44.259s
Pedro Diniz TWR Arrows-Yamaha 1h 32m 10.990s
Olivier Panis Prost-Mugen 1h 32m 11.593s

Johnny Herbert Sauber-Petronas 1h 32m 12.197s
Damon Hill TWR Arrows-Yamaha 1h 32m 12.620s
Gianni Morbidelli Sauber-Petronas 1 lap down
Mika Salo Tyrrell-Ford 1 lap down
Jos Verstappen Tyrrell-Ford 50 laps - spun off
Rubens Barrichello Stewart-Ford 43 laps - engine failure
Mika Hakkinen McLaren-Mercedes 43 laps - engine failure
David Coulthard McLaren-Mercedes 42 laps - engine failure
Jan Magnussen Stewart-Ford 40 laps - broken halfshaft
Eddie Irvine Ferrari 22 laps - engine failure
Shinji Nakano Prost-Mugen 16 laps - engine failure
Michael Schumacher Ferrari 2 laps - broken suspension
Ukyo Katayama Minardi-Hart 1 lap -
Tarso Marques Minardi-Hart 1 lap -
Gianni Fisichella Jordan-Peugeot 0 laps - collision with R.Schumacher
Ralf Schumacher Jordan-Peugeot 0 laps - collision with Fisichella & M.Schumacher

Fastest Lap

1997 : Heinz-Harald Frentzen (Williams) 1m 18.805s
Previous Lap Record: 1m 21.180s Michael Schumacher (Benetton) - 1995

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Analysis :
For the second weekend in a row, Jacques Villeneuve kept his wild side in check and let the Championship come to him.

At the first corner Ralf Schumacher squeezed his Jordan team-mate Gianni Fisichella onto the inside kerb, the Italian lost control and collided with the German, sending him into the air and into the Ferrari of elder brother, Michael.
In the chaos, several cars went through the gravel trap, including Gerhard Berger, while Villeneuve and Williams team-mate Heinz-Harald Frentzen banged wheels causing Frentzen to accidentally turn off his ignition switch with his knee as he was jolted around. This dropped the Austrian and the sole remaining German way down the leaderboard.

As the race settled down the McLarens of first time polesitter Mika Hakkinen and David Coulthard sprinted away. The Finn, with a lighter fuel load, opened a commanding lead but it was to be for nothing, as first Coulthard and then Hakkinen succumbed to engine failures on the pit straight within one lap of each other. There were definitely some red faces at Mercedes.

Once again the Stewart's of Rubens Barrichello and Jan Magnussen ran well in the early going but mechanical failures again put paid to the chances of a points finish.
After another dismal qualifying performance, Jean Alesi got it right when it counted to take second while Berger followewd Frentzen back through the field to take more points for Benetton.
Clearly the suprise of the afternoon though was Pedro Diniz who managed to keep the returning Olivier Panis at bay for the final 20 laps with a great drive for fifth.

With a nine point lead and two races left, things have definitely swung in Jacques Villeneuve's favour, though Michael Schumacher won't be conceding the Championship just yet.

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JV on podium

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