1997 French Grand Prix

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France  1997 French Grand Prix
Race details
Race 8 of 17 in the 1997 Formula One season
Magny Cours 1992new.jpg
Date 29 June 1997
Official name LXXXIII French Grand Prix
Location Circuit de Nevers, Magny-Cours, France
Course Permanent racing facility
4.250 km (2.641 mi)
Distance 72 laps, 306.000 km (190.140 mi)
Weather Dry at first, rain in closing stages
Pole position
Driver Germany Michael Schumacher Ferrari
Time 1:14.548
Fastest lap
Driver Germany Michael Schumacher Ferrari
Time 1:17.910 on lap 37
Podium
First Germany Michael Schumacher Ferrari
Second Germany Heinz-Harald Frentzen Williams-Renault
Third United Kingdom Eddie Irvine Ferrari

The 1997 French Grand Prix (formally the LXXXIII French Grand Prix) was a Formula Onemotor race held at Circuit de Nevers, Magny-Cours, France on 29 June 1997. It was the eighth round of the 1997 Formula One season. The race, contested over 72 laps, was won by Michael Schumacher driving a Ferrari car after starting from pole position. Heinz-Harald Frentzen finished second driving for the Williams team, with Eddie Irvine third in the other Ferrari. Schumacher's win was his third of the season and his second consecutive win having won the preceding Canadian Grand Prix.

Race summary[edit]

At the start, Michael Schumacher led away from pole with Frentzen in the Williams behind him all the way. It was a bad start for Damon Hill, who lost his wing at the first corner after going off and didn't feature much after that.

Not too much happened in the race until towards the end, when rain hit, causing some drivers to spin off. Even Michael Schumacher had an off but managed to continue and maintained his big lead, but he did not pit for wet tyres.

In the end, Michael crossed the line well ahead of Frentzen but on the last couple of laps a huge battle was going on between Ralf Schumacher, David Coulthard and Jean Alesi. At the same time Jacques Villeneuve was reeling in Eddie Irvine for the final podium spot.

Ralf Schumacher spun, seemingly throwing away sixth place, but as mentioned in the notes, Michael Schumacher (who had lapped him), allowed him back through at the final corner. At the time, Murray Walker famously said that it was a silly move. It allowed Ralf Schumacher to gain back sixth place on the final lap.

On the last lap Alesi pushed Coulthard straight off, costing David fifth place, thus giving Ralf Schumacher the final point.

Meanwhile, at the last corner, Villeneuve had caught Irvine. In a desperate lunge at the final corner he spun off, rejoining, somehow holding off Alesi at the flag.

Classification[edit]

Qualifying[edit]

Pos No Driver Constructor Time Gap
1 5 Germany Michael Schumacher Ferrari 1:14.548
2 4 Germany Heinz-Harald Frentzen Williams-Renault 1:14.749 +0.201
3 11 Germany Ralf Schumacher Jordan-Peugeot 1:14.755 +0.207
4 3 Canada Jacques Villeneuve Williams-Renault 1:14.800 +0.252
5 6 United Kingdom Eddie Irvine Ferrari 1:14.860 +0.312
6 14 Italy Jarno Trulli Prost-Mugen-Honda 1:14.957 +0.409
7 8 Austria Alexander Wurz Benetton-Renault 1:14.986 +0.438
8 7 France Jean Alesi Benetton-Renault 1:15.228 +0.680
9 10 United Kingdom David Coulthard McLaren-Mercedes 1:15.270 +0.722
10 9 Finland Mika Häkkinen McLaren-Mercedes 1:15.339 +0.791
11 12 Italy Giancarlo Fisichella Jordan-Peugeot 1:15.453 +0.905
12 15 Japan Shinji Nakano Prost-Mugen-Honda 1:15.857 +1.309
13 22 Brazil Rubens Barrichello Stewart-Ford 1:15.876 +1.328
14 16 United Kingdom Johnny Herbert Sauber-Petronas 1:16.018 +1.470
15 23 Denmark Jan Magnussen Stewart-Ford 1:16.149 +1.601
16 2 Brazil Pedro Diniz Arrows-Yamaha 1:16.536 +1.988
17 1 United Kingdom Damon Hill Arrows-Yamaha 1:16.729 +2.181
18 18 Netherlands Jos Verstappen Tyrrell-Ford 1:16.941 +2.393
19 19 Finland Mika Salo Tyrrell-Ford 1:17.256 +2.708
20 17 Argentina Norberto Fontana Sauber-Petronas 1:17.538 +2.990
21 20 Japan Ukyo Katayama Minardi-Hart 1:17.563 +3.015
22 21 Brazil Tarso Marques Minardi-Hart 1:18.280 +3.732

Race[edit]

Pos No Driver Constructor Laps Time/Retired Grid Points
1 5 Germany Michael Schumacher Ferrari 72 1:38:50.492 1 10
2 4 Germany Heinz-Harald Frentzen Williams-Renault 72 +23.537 2 6
3 6 United Kingdom Eddie Irvine Ferrari 72 +1:14.801 5 4
4 3 Canada Jacques Villeneuve Williams-Renault 72 +1:21.784 4 3
5 7 France Jean Alesi Benetton-Renault 72 +1:22.735 8 2
6 11 Germany Ralf Schumacher Jordan-Peugeot 72 +1:29.871 3 1
7 10 United Kingdom David Coulthard McLaren-Mercedes 71 Collision 9  
8 16 United Kingdom Johnny Herbert Sauber-Petronas 71 +1 lap 14  
9 12 Italy Giancarlo Fisichella Jordan-Peugeot 71 +1 lap 11  
10 14 Italy Jarno Trulli Prost-Mugen-Honda 70 +2 laps 6  
11 20 Japan Ukyo Katayama Minardi-Hart 70 +2 laps 21  
12 1 United Kingdom Damon Hill Arrows-Yamaha 69 +3 laps 17  
Ret 19 Finland Mika Salo Tyrrell-Ford 61 Electrical 19  
Ret 8 Austria Alexander Wurz Benetton-Renault 60 Spun off 7  
Ret 2 Brazil Pedro Diniz Arrows-Yamaha 58 Spun off 16  
Ret 17 Argentina Norberto Fontana Sauber-Petronas 40 Spun off 20  
Ret 22 Brazil Rubens Barrichello Stewart-Ford 36 Engine 13  
Ret 23 Denmark Jan Magnussen Stewart-Ford 33 Brakes 15  
Ret 9 Finland Mika Häkkinen McLaren-Mercedes 18 Engine 10  
Ret 18 Netherlands Jos Verstappen Tyrrell-Ford 15 Spun off 18  
Ret 15 Japan Shinji Nakano Prost-Mugen-Honda 7 Spun off 12  
Ret 21 Brazil Tarso Marques Minardi-Hart 5 Engine 22  

Notes[edit]

  • Pedro Diniz outqualified team-mate Damon Hill for the first time.
  • Michael allowed his brother Ralf to overtake him and unlap himself on the last corner. Ralf subsequently gained the last point of the day as a result, rising from 7th to 6th after Jean Alesi ran David Coulthard off the road.
  • Jarno Trulli switched from Minardi to Prost replacing the injured Olivier Panis.
  • Trulli's seat at Minardi went to Tarso Marques.
  • Norberto Fontana replaced Gianni Morbidelli at Sauber. Morbidelli had suffered from a broken arm.

Standings after Grand Prix[edit]

  • Note: Only the top five positions are included for both sets of standings.


Previous race:
1997 Canadian Grand Prix
FIA Formula One World Championship
1997 season
Next race:
1997 British Grand Prix
Previous race:
1996 French Grand Prix
French Grand Prix Next race:
1998 French Grand Prix