1995 San Marino Grand Prix
|Race 3 of 17 in the 1995 Formula One season|
|Date||April 30, 1995|
|Official name||15° Gran Premio di San Marino|
|Location||Autodromo Enzo e Dino Ferrari, Imola, Emilia-Romagna, Italy|
|Course||Permanent racing facility|
|Course length||4.895 km (3.059 mi)|
|Distance||63 laps, 308.385 km (192.740 mi)|
|Weather||Heavy Rain before the Start, before brightening up|
|Time||1:29.568 on lap 57|
Following the deaths of Roland Ratzenberger and Ayrton Senna at Imola the previous year, the track was heavily modified for 1995. New chicanes were built at Tamburello and Villeneuve corners, Aqua Minerale chicane was removed and replaced by a right-hand corner, Rivazza was eased and the final corner became a single chicane, rather than the 5th-gear sweep previously.
Damon Hill's victory at the track at which his teammate Senna died a year earlier was an emotional one and if the team had left the track a year earlier in deep distress, when they packed up this year, Williams knew that they had a car which was capable of winning races on a regular basis.
Michael Schumacher secured pole position with his time on Friday, in an exciting qualifying session. David Coulthard had looked to have set the fastest time on Friday but it only lasted for a few seconds before it was snatched back by Schumacher. Moments later Gerhard Berger - who was on a stupendously fast lap in his Ferrari - screamed towards the start-finish line and looked set to send the local Ferrari fans into raptures. Berger came agonisingly close to securing pole position and a mere 0.008 seconds separated the Austrian's Ferrari from Schumacher's Benetton.
Berger's performance guaranteed massive crowds for the rest of the weekend but on Saturday the weather was hotter and the track a lot slower. None of the fast men improved. Nigel Mansell, making his return to F1 with McLaren, qualified ninth, three places down on team-mate Häkkinen.
Before the race, all the drivers participated in a one-minute in the memory of Roland Ratzenberger and Ayrton Senna who had died a year earlier at the same track.
The weather took a turn on race day and Sunday morning was greeted with steady rain but the rain did not deter the fans and the hillsides of Imola were packed with the joyful Ferrari fans from dawn onwards. As the grid lined up teams had to decide whether to race on slick tyres or on wets. Six drivers chose wet tyres: the first five on the grid and Rubens Barrichello in 10th place. By the end of the first lap the men on wet tyres were lying 1-2-3-4-5-6 and everyone else was waiting for the track to dry. The drivers on wets gained about five seconds a lap on their rivals. Then they started coming in. Schumacher's race lasted only half a lap after his pit stop because, on the way up to the top of the circuit, the Benetton snapped suddenly to the right and hit the wall hard. It looked like a driver of a very sensitive car making a mistake on slicks in damp conditions, but Schumacher said it was a car problem.
With Schumacher out of the way Berger led Hill, Coulthard and Alesi. The latter pair put on a good show, ducking and weaving as they dived through the backmarkers.
The fight became more significant when Berger's Ferrari stalled during his next pit stop. This left Hill in the lead with Coulthard and Alesi on his tail. During the exciting pit stop sequence Coulthard and Alesi brushed but the Williams team did not spot a damaged front wing. An over-eager Coulthard exceeded the speed-limit when exiting the pits, resulting in the Williams driver receiving a 10-second penalty. Unfortunately for Coulthard the rules meant that the Williams team would be unable to change his now obviously damaged front wing when he returned to the pits to serve his penalty and so had to make a third trip to the pits to replace his damaged front wing, by which time his race was ruined. There was nearly disaster for Hill when a refuelling hose stuck during his final pit stop but he managed to get out ahead of Alesi.
Hill won, with Alesi and Berger coming second and third. Coulthard was fourth and Häkkinen fifth, the McLaren a lap down, while Heinz-Harald Frentzen gave Sauber another unexpected point by finishing sixth. The Ferrari fans and the team itself were left asking what might have been had Berger not stalled in the pits while he was involved in a titanic struggle with Hill.
|Pos||No||Driver||Constructor||Q1 Time||Q2 Time||Gap|
|6||8||Mika Häkkinen||McLaren-Mercedes||1:28.343||no time||+1.069|
Standings after the race
- Note: Only the top five positions are included for both sets of standings.
- Formula One World Championship Grand Prix Review 1995 (VHS Video Presentation). 1995. Event occurs at 37:23-37:47.
1995 Argentine Grand Prix
|FIA Formula One World Championship
1995 Spanish Grand Prix
1994 San Marino Grand Prix
|San Marino Grand Prix||Next race:
1996 San Marino Grand Prix