1996 Japanese Grand Prix

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1996 Japanese Grand Prix
Race 16 of 16 in the 1996 Formula One World Championship
Suzuka circuit map (1987-2002).svg
Race details
Date 13 October 1996
Official name XXII Fuji Television Japanese Grand Prix
Location Suzuka Circuit
Suzuka, Mie Prefecture, Japan
Course Permanent racing facility
Course length 5.864 km (3.608 mi)
Distance 52 laps, 304.928 km (189.473 mi)
Scheduled distance 53 laps, 310.792 km (193.117 mi)
Weather Sunny, mild and dry
Pole position
Driver Williams-Renault
Time 1:38.909
Fastest lap
Driver Canada Jacques Villeneuve Williams-Renault
Time 1:44.043 on lap 34
Podium
First Williams-Renault
Second Ferrari
Third McLaren-Mercedes

The 1996 Japanese Grand Prix (officially known as the XXII Fuji Television Japanese Grand Prix) was a Formula One motor race held at Suzuka on 13 October 1996. It was the sixteenth and final race of the 1996 Formula One World Championship.

The 52-lap race was won by Damon Hill, driving a Williams-Renault. Hill took his eighth win of the season, and with it the Drivers' Championship, after teammate and pole-sitter Jacques Villeneuve made a poor start and then retired when a wheel fell off. Villeneuve had needed to win the race, without Hill scoring, in order to win the Championship himself. Michael Schumacher finished second in a Ferrari, enabling the Italian team to steal second place in the Constructors' Championship from Benetton, with Mika Häkkinen third in a McLaren-Mercedes.

In the UK, this was the last F1 race until 2009 to be broadcast live by the BBC. As Hill crossed the line to win the race and the championship, commentator Murray Walker said, "I've got to stop now, because I've got a lump in my throat." Hill was the first son of a World Champion to win the championship himself, his father Graham having been champion in 1962 and 1968. This was also the final race for Martin Brundle, who had been competing in F1 since 1984 and finished on the podium 9 times since 1992, as well as the last race for Pedro Lamy, Giovanni Lavaggi and Ligier.

Race[edit]

This was the first time since 1977 that Japan hosted the final round of the World Championship.

In qualifying, Villeneuve beat Hill to pole position by nearly half a second, with a further 0.7 seconds back to Schumacher in third. On race day, the first start was aborted when David Coulthard stalled his McLaren.[1] At the second start, Villeneuve made a poor getaway and fell to sixth behind Hill, Gerhard Berger, Häkkinen, Schumacher and Eddie Irvine. Meanwhile, Jean Alesi, attempting to make up several places after qualifying ninth, spun off at the second corner and destroyed his Benetton, Alesi was unhurt from the impact. On the third lap, Berger attempted to overtake Hill at the final chicane, only to damage his front wing. Thereafter, Hill gradually pulled away, with Schumacher overtaking Häkkinen for second during the first round of pit stops. Pedro Diniz had lost control of his Ligier at the final chicane and spun off into the gravel trap by lap 14. Hill pitted for his second stop with a 25-second gap to Schumacher, emerging narrowly ahead of the Ferrari, before pulling away gradually once again to lead by 13 seconds with ten laps remaining. Villeneuve, meanwhile, passed Irvine, set the fastest lap of the race and ran fourth before his right rear wheel came off on lap 37 due to a wheel bearing failure (This was the same incident that happened to teammate Damon Hill during the British Grand Prix, according to BBC pit reporter Tony Jardine), putting him out of the race and handing the Drivers' Championship to Hill, already dropped by Williams for the following season. Whilst fighting for 4th place, Gerhard Berger had another collision with the Ferrari of Eddie Irvine at the final chicane causing the Northern Irishman to spin out and retire, but Berger was able to carry on unscathed. A late fightback saw Schumacher close the gap to Hill, but Hill held on to win the race by 1.8 seconds, with Häkkinen a further 1.4 seconds back, while Berger recovered to finish fourth, Martin Brundle came fifth in his final Grand Prix, and Heinz-Harald Frentzen picked up the final point for sixth.

Classification[edit]

Qualifying[edit]

Pos No Driver Constructor Time Gap
1 6 Canada Jacques Villeneuve Williams-Renault 1:38.909
2 5 United Kingdom Damon Hill Williams-Renault 1:39.370 +0.461
3 1 Germany Michael Schumacher Ferrari 1:40.071 +1.162
4 4 Austria Gerhard Berger Benetton-Renault 1:40.364 +1.455
5 7 Finland Mika Häkkinen McLaren-Mercedes 1:40.458 +1.549
6 2 United Kingdom Eddie Irvine Ferrari 1:41.005 +2.096
7 15 Germany Heinz-Harald Frentzen Sauber-Ford 1:41.277 +2.368
8 8 United Kingdom David Coulthard McLaren-Mercedes 1:41.384 +2.475
9 3 France Jean Alesi Benetton-Renault 1:41.562 +2.653
10 12 United Kingdom Martin Brundle Jordan-Peugeot 1:41.600 +2.691
11 11 Brazil Rubens Barrichello Jordan-Peugeot 1:41.919 +3.010
12 9 France Olivier Panis Ligier-Mugen-Honda 1:42.206 +3.297
13 14 United Kingdom Johnny Herbert Sauber-Ford 1:42.658 +3.749
14 18 Japan Ukyo Katayama Tyrrell-Yamaha 1:42.711 +3.802
15 19 Finland Mika Salo Tyrrell-Yamaha 1:42.840 +3.931
16 10 Brazil Pedro Diniz Ligier-Mugen-Honda 1:43.196 +4.287
17 17 Netherlands Jos Verstappen Footwork-Hart 1:43.383 +4.474
18 20 Portugal Pedro Lamy Minardi-Ford 1:44.874 +5.965
19 16 Brazil Ricardo Rosset Footwork-Hart 1:45.412 +6.503
107% time: 1:45.833
DNQ 21 Italy Giovanni Lavaggi Minardi-Ford 1:46.795 +7.886

Race[edit]

Pos No Driver Constructor Laps Time/Retired Grid Points
1 5 United Kingdom Damon Hill Williams-Renault 52 1:32:33.791 2 10
2 1 Germany Michael Schumacher Ferrari 52 + 1.883 3 6
3 7 Finland Mika Häkkinen McLaren-Mercedes 52 + 3.212 5 4
4 4 Austria Gerhard Berger Benetton-Renault 52 + 26.526 4 3
5 12 United Kingdom Martin Brundle Jordan-Peugeot 52 + 1:07.120 10 2
6 15 Germany Heinz-Harald Frentzen Sauber-Ford 52 + 1:21.186 7 1
7 9 France Olivier Panis Ligier-Mugen-Honda 52 + 1:24.510 12  
8 8 United Kingdom David Coulthard McLaren-Mercedes 52 + 1:25.233 8  
9 11 Brazil Rubens Barrichello Jordan-Peugeot 52 + 1:41.065 11  
10 14 United Kingdom Johnny Herbert Sauber-Ford 52 + 1:41.799 13  
11 17 Netherlands Jos Verstappen Footwork-Hart 51 + 1 Lap 17  
12 20 Portugal Pedro Lamy Minardi-Ford 50 + 2 Laps 18  
13 16 Brazil Ricardo Rosset Footwork-Hart 50 + 2 Laps 19  
Ret 2 United Kingdom Eddie Irvine Ferrari 39 Collision/Spun off 6  
Ret 18 Japan Ukyo Katayama Tyrrell-Yamaha 37 Engine 14  
Ret 6 Canada Jacques Villeneuve Williams-Renault 36 Wheel bearing 1  
Ret 19 Finland Mika Salo Tyrrell-Yamaha 20 Engine 15  
Ret 10 Brazil Pedro Diniz Ligier-Mugen-Honda 13 Spun off 16  
Ret 3 France Jean Alesi Benetton-Renault 0 Spun Off 9  
DNQ 21 Italy Giovanni Lavaggi Minardi-Ford   107% Rule  
Source:[2]

Championship standings after the race[edit]

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

References[edit]

  1. ^ "F1 News - Grandprix.com > GP Encyclopedia > Races > Japanese GP, 1996". Grandprix.com. Retrieved 2011-04-05.
  2. ^ "1996 Japanese Grand Prix". formula1.com. Archived from the original on 1 November 2014. Retrieved 24 December 2015.
  3. ^ a b "Japan 1996 - Championship • STATS F1". www.statsf1.com. Retrieved 18 March 2019.


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1996 Portuguese Grand Prix
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