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Thursday, March 5, 1998 Published at 17:18 GMT

Sport: Formula 1

Race summaries: 1997 season


Just click on a race for the details:

Australia: Melbourne - March 9, 1997

Scotsman David Coulthard gave the season a surprising start when he won the first race almost 20 seconds ahead of Michael Schumacher's Ferrari.

Favourite Jacques Villeneuve went off on the first corner, sandwiched between Eddie Irvine and Johnny Herbert. Champion Damon Hill did not even reach the start after his car stopped on the parade lap.

1 David Coulthard, McLaren Mercedes; 2 Michael Schumacher, Ferrari; 3 Mika Hakkinen, McLaren Mercedes; 4 Gerhard Berger, Benetton Renault; 5 Olivier Panis, Prost Mugen-Honda; 6 Nicola Larini, Sauber Petronas

Brazil: Interlagos - March 30, 1997

Jacques Villeneuve won the Brazilian Grand Prix after the race was restarted. Gerhard Berger took second place for Benetton after battling his way through the field.

Olivier Panis crossed the line third giving the Prost team, and Bridgestone tyres, their first podium place. The TWR Arrows team continued to have problems with reliability , and Damon Hill retired again just six laps from the finish.

1 Jacques Villeneuve, Williams Renault; 2 Gerhard Berger, Benetton Renault; 3 Olivier Panis, Prost Mugen-Honda; 4 Mika Hakkinen, McLaren Mercedes; 5 Michael Schumacher, Ferrari; 6 Jean Alesi, Benetton Renault.

Argentina: Buenos Aires - April 13, 1997

Jacques Villeneuve took the chequered flag less than a second ahead of Ferrari's Eddie Irvine to take his second win in a row.

As the Jordan Team celebrated their 100th Grand Prix, Ralf Schumacher gave his team-mates an added bonus by coming third. His older brother Michael was forced to retire on the first lap after a collision with Rubens Barrichello and David Coulthard.

1 Jacques Villeneuve, Williams Renault; 2 Eddie Irvine, Ferrari; 3 Ralf Schumache,r Jordan Peugeot; 4 Johnny Herbert, Sauber Petronas; 5 Mika Hakkinen, McLaren Mercedes; 6 Gerhard Berger, Benetton Renault

[ image: The young pretender with a great F1 name - Villeneueve]
The young pretender with a great F1 name - Villeneueve

San Marino: Imola - April 27, 1997

Heinz-Harald Frentzen rebutted criticism in the press by winning his first Grand Prix. His Williams team-mate, Jacques Villeneuve, was forced out of the race on lap 41 with a transmission problem.

Schumacher and Irvine in the two Ferraris came second and third respectively.

Gerhard Berger and Johnny Herbert, respectively celebrating their 200th and 100th Grand Prixs both spun out.

1 Heinz-Harald Frentzen, Williams Renault; 2 Michael Schumacher, Ferrari; 3 Eddie Irvine, Ferrari; 4 Giancarlo Fisichella, Jordan Peugeot; 5 Jean Alesi, Benetton Renault; 6 Mika Hakkinen, McLaren Mercedes

Monaco: Monte Carlo - May 11, 1997

In the drenched conditions of the Mediterranean principality, Michael Schumacher won the race to take himself and his team to the top of the championship.

Jackie Stewart's team, in their first season, got six championship points from Rubens Barrichello who finished second. Former champion Stewart was overcome with emotion by the result and ended up in tears.

1 Michael Schumacher, Ferrari; 2 Rubens Barrichello, Stewart Ford; 3 Eddie Irvine, Ferrari; 4 Olivier Panis, Prost Mugen-Honda; 5 Mika Salo, Tyrrell Ford; 6 Giancarlo Fisichella, Jordan Peugeot

Spain: Barcelona - May 25, 1997

Jacques Villeneuve re-asserted his status as favourite to take the championship by winning the Spanish Grand Prix after leading from the first corner.

Michael Schumacher started well, moving from seventh to second place but the Ferrari was handling badly on the bumpy track and he dropped back to fourth.

Pit stop strategy eventually decided the placings with Olivier Panis coming in second and Jean Alesi third.

1 Jacques Villeneuve, Williams Renault; 2 Olivier Panis, Prost Mugen-Honda; 3 Jean Alesi, Benetton Renault; 4 Michael Schumacher, Ferrari; 5 Johnny Herbert, Sauber Petronas; 6 David Coulthard, McLaren Mercedes

Canada: Montreal - June 15,1997

David Coulthard seemed to have the Canadian race in the bag, but when he stalled in the pits on lap 54, he left enough space for Michael Schumacher to slip through and take the flag in a dramatic race.

Olivier Panis had a huge crash in his Prost. He broke both his legs and the safety car lead a procession until the organisers stopped the race. Damon Hill finished his first race of the season, coming in ninth.

1 Michael Schumacher, Ferrari; 2 Jean Alesi, Benetton Renault; 3 Giancarlo Fisichella, Jordan Peugeot; 4 Heinz-Harald Frentzen, Williams Renault; 5 Johnny Herbert, Sauber Petronas; 6 Shinji Nakano, Prost Mugen-Honda

France: Magny-Cours - June 29, 1997

Michael Schumacher started from pole position but only won the race on the last lap. He not only battled with second placed Heinz-Harald Frentzen, but both drivers struggled to control their slick tyres on a rain-soaked track.

David Coulthard fought to keep his fifth place, but after a tussle with Jean Alesi he ended up in the gravel.

Villeneuve spun on the last corner while trying to take third place off Irvine. He managed to swing himself back onto the track and keep his fourth place to the line.

1 Michael Schumacher, Ferrari; 2 Heinz-Harald Frentzen, Williams Renault; 3 Eddie Irvine, Ferrari; 4 Jacques Villeneuve, Williams Renault; 5 Jean Alesi, Benetton Renault; 6 Ralf Schumacher, Jordan Peugeot.

Britain, Silverstone - July 13, 1997

As Jacques Villeneuve crossed the Silverstone winning line in first place, Williams Racing won their 100th Formula 1 Grand Prix.

Michael Schumacher took the lead from Villeneuve during the first round of pit stops, but he was forced to retire midway through the race with a broken wheel bearing. McLaren's Mika Hakkinen then took the lead but left the track six laps from the end with engine problems.

Damon Hill rewarded the British crowd's support by winning his, and the TWR Arrows team's, first ever championship point, coming in sixth.

1 Jacques Villeneuve, Williams Renault; 2 Jean Alesi, Benetton Renault; 3 Alex Wurz, Benetton Renaul ; 4 David Coulthard, McLaren Mercedes; 5 Ralf Schumacher, Jordan Peugeot; 6 Damon Hill, Arrows Yamaha

Germany: Hockenheim - July 27, 1997

Gerhard Berger, at 34 the oldest driver in Formula 1, and having missed three races due to illness, proved he wasn't too old to win a Grand Prix at the Hockenheim track.

Michael Schumacher rewarded his loyal home crowd by taking second place and McLaren's Mika Hakkinen came in third.

1 Gerhard Berger, Benetton Renault; 2 Michael Schumacher, Ferrari; 3 Mika Hakkinen, McLaren Mercedes; 4 Jarno Trulli, Prost Mugen-Honda; 5 Ralf Schumacher, Jordan Peugeot; 6 Jean Alesi, Benetton Renault

Hungary: Budapest - August 10, 1997

Damon Hill came agonisingly close to winning the Hungarian race. The Arrows team had always thought of Hungary as their best chance to win this season, and they were proved right - except for Hill's hydraulic problem just two laps from the finish.

Victory went to Jacques Villeneuve and Damon had to settle for second place - his highest position so far in 1997.

Johnny Herbert came a well-deserved third in the Sauber - it was also his best place this season. Michael Schumacher fended off younger brother Ralf to come in fourth and keep his lead at the top of the Drivers' Championship.

1 Jacques Villeneuve, Williams Renault; 2 Damon Hill , Arrows Yamah ; 3 Johnny Herbert, Sauber Petronas; 4 Michael Schumacher, Ferrari; 5 Ralf Schumacher, Jordan Peugeot; 6 Shinji Nakano, Prost Mugen-Honda

[ image: Twice world champion Schumacher]
Twice world champion Schumacher

Belgium: Spa - August 24, 1997

Michael Schumacher strengthened his lead at the top of the Drivers' Championship table by winning in the rain at Spa.

Jordan's Giancarlo Fisichella was also thrilled with second place - his best result in Formula One.

There was worse news for Mika Hakkinen who was stripped of his third place after the FIA ruled he used illegal fuel in Saturday's qualifying session.

1 Michael Schumacher, Ferrari; 2 Giancarlo Fisichella, Jordan Peugeot; 3 Heinz-Harald Frentzen, Williams Renault; 4 Johnny Herbert, Sauber Petronas; 5 Jacques Villeneuve, Williams Renault; 6 Gerhard Berger, Benetton Renault.

Italy: Monza - September 7, 1997 David Coulthard scored his second win of the 1997 season at Monza. Getting a reputation for astonishing form away from the grid he jumped from sixth to third by the first corner. He went on to take the lead thanks to the swift work of the McLaren mechanics during the pit stop.

Benetton's Jean Alesi started on pole but had to settle for second place at the finish.

1 David Coulthard, McLaren Mercedes; 2 Jean Alesi, Benetton Renault; 3 Heinz-Harald Frentzen, Williams Renault; 4 Giancarlo Fisichella, Jordan Peugeot; 5 Jacques Villeneuve, Williams Renault; 6 Michael Schumacher, Ferrari.

Austria: Zeltweg - September 21, 1997

Jacques Villeneuve scored his sixth win of the season at the A1 Ring. A poor start saw the Canadian drop from pole position to fourth but thanks to a superior pit stop from the Williams mechanics, Villeneuve regained the lead and never lost it. The win left Villeneuve just one point behind rival Michael Schumacher in the Drivers' Championship.

A spirited drive from David Coulthard almost won him his third GP of 1997, but the Scot had to settle for second place.

Heinz-Harold Frentzen completed a near perfect day for Williams by taking third place. Michael Schumacher dropped to sixth after incurring a 10 second penalty for ignoring a yellow flag. Damon Hill finished outside the points in seventh.

1 Jacques Villeneuve, Williams Renault; 2 David Coulthard, McLaren Mercedes; 3 Heinz-Harald Frentzen, Williams Renault; 4 Giancarlo Fisichella Jordan Peugeot; 5 Ralf Schumacher, Jordan Peugeot; 6 Michael Schumacher, Ferrari.

Japan: Suzuka - October 12, 1997

Eddie Irvine came third in the race, but was the hero of a thrilling day at Suzuka. The Irishman, so often kept out of the limelight by his Ferrari teammate Michael Schumacher, was heralded by the German, who came home first, to take 10 championship points.

On a track he knows extremely well, Irvine made a dramatic jump up the order to lead early in the race. Having got out in front he pulled away from the pack. His performance was equalled by Ferrari's tactical prowess. Irvine let Schumacher pass him and held up Villeneuve long enough to guarantee 10 points for the twice world champion. Irvine was rewarded by third place on the podium and gratitude from the Ferrari team.

Villeneuve came in fifth, but his Williams partner Heinz-Harald Frentzen stormed through to secure second place. His six constructors points gave Williams the Constructors' Championship title with an unassailable 120 points.

Right from qualifying on Saturday it was not Villeneuve's race. He raced under the shadow of an appeal against a ban for ignoring a yellow flag in qualifying. The appeal hearing was to be held nine days after the race. Williams were warned against pursuing the appeal, and backed off, accepting instead the loss of Villeneuve's points.

The Canadian will go into the climactic showdown of the season one point behind Michael Schumacher in the Drivers Championship. After losing out to Damon Hill in the last race last year, he will be eager to overcome Schumacher.

However, both drivers know that the spectre of Adelaide in 1994 hangs over their heads. It was then that Damon Hill could have won the championship if he had finished ahead of Michael Schumacher. Instead Hill finished the race in a gravel pit after a 'coming together' with Schumacher - the man who then became World Champion.

1 Michael Schumacher, Ferrari; 2 H-H Frentzen, Williams; 3 E Irvine, Ferrari; 4 M Hakkinen, McLaren; 5 J Alesi, Benetton; 6 J Herbert, Sauber.

Spain: Jerez - October 26, 1997

The Canadian driver, Jacques Villeneuve, won his first Formula One World Championship in a dramatic last race of the season -- the European Grand Prix at Jerez in Spain.

Villeneuve took the lead after a collision with the championship leader, Michael Schumacher of Germany, with two-thirds of the race completed.

The collision forced Schumacher out of the race, and appeared also to affect Villeneuve's car. He had slipped to third place by the end -- but this still earned him enough points for the title.

The winner was Mika Hakkinen of Finland, gaining his first grand prix victory.

David Coulthard of Britain was second.

1 Mika Hakkinen - McLaren Mercedes
2 David Coulthard - McLaren Mercedes
3 Jacques Villeneuve - Williams Renault
4 Gerhard Berger - Benetton Renault
5 Eddie Irvine - Ferrari
6 Heinz-Harald Frentzen - Williams Renault

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Irvine's $2m miss

Hakkinen crowned F1 champion

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1999 Championship standings

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The best man won

Damon Hill: An F1 career in pictures

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