1996 Japanese Grand Prix
|1996 Japanese Grand Prix|
|Race 16 of 16 in the 1996 Formula One World Championship|
|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)|
|Weather||Sunny, mild and Dry|
|Time||1:44.043 on lap 34|
Williams' Damon Hill took his eighth win of the season, and with it the Drivers' Championship, after team-mate 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, enabling Ferrari to steal second place in the Constructors' Championship from Benetton, while McLaren's Mika Häkkinen was third. This was also the last race for Giovanni Lavaggi, Pedro Lamy and Martin Brundle.
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. 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. 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. 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, putting him out of the race and handing the Drivers' Championship to Hill, already dropped by Williams for the following season. 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 emulated his result at the same race a year earlier when he picked up the final point for sixth.
Championship standings after the race
- Note: Only the top five positions are included for both sets of standings.
- "F1 News - Grandprix.com > GP Encyclopedia > Races > Japanese GP, 1996". Grandprix.com. Retrieved 2011-04-05.
- "1996 Japanese Grand Prix". formula1.com. Archived from the original on 1 November 2014. Retrieved 24 December 2015.
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1997 Japanese Grand Prix