1997 French Grand Prix
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|1997 French Grand Prix|
|Race 8 of 17 in the 1997 Formula One World Championship|
|Date||29 June 1997|
|Official name||LXXXIII French Grand Prix|
Circuit de Nevers|
|Course||Permanent racing facility|
|Course length||4.250 km (2.641 mi)|
|Distance||72 laps, 306.000 km (190.140 mi)|
|Weather||Dry at first, rain in closing stages|
|Time||1:17.910 on lap 37|
The 1997 French Grand Prix (formally the LXXXIII French Grand Prix) was a Formula One motor race held at Circuit de Nevers, Magny-Cours, France on 29 June 1997. It was the eighth race of the 1997 Formula One World Championship.
The 72-lap race was won from pole position by Michael Schumacher, driving a Ferrari, with Heinz-Harald Frentzen second in a Williams-Renault and Eddie Irvine third in the other Ferrari. The win, Schumacher's third of the season and second in succession, gave him a 14-point lead in the Drivers' Championship over Jacques Villeneuve, who finished fourth in the other Williams-Renault.
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.
The race was relatively uneventful until towards the end when a nearby thunderstorm caused rain around the circuit. Some drivers pitted for wet tyres whilst others stayed on their dry tyres. Several drivers spun under the conditions, including Michael Schumacher. Schumacher maintained his big lead, however
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, losing 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, commentator Murray Walker said that it was a silly move. However, on the last lap Alesi pushed Coulthard straight off, costing Coulthard fifth place, thus giving Ralf Schumacher the final point because he had unlapped himself.
Meanwhile, at the last corner, Villeneuve had caught Irvine. In a desperate lunge at the final corner he spun off, rejoined, and held off Alesi at the flag.
- 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 and David Coulthard made contact, with Coulthard stuck in the gravel.
- 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.
Championship standings after the race
- Note: Only the top five positions are included for both sets of standings.
1997 Canadian Grand Prix
|FIA Formula One World Championship
1997 British Grand Prix
1996 French Grand Prix
|French Grand Prix||Next race:|
1998 French Grand Prix