Hill fulfils his destiny at Silverstone

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The Independent Online
DAMON HILL sweeps past the flag-waving crowd (above) as he drives his Williams-Renault to victory in the British Formula One Grand Prix at Silverstone yesterday.

For a change, it was the world championship leader, Michael Schumacher, who ran into trouble and controversy. He and his Benetton-Ford team were fined pounds 17,000 because the German driver ignored a black-flag signal to go into the pits to serve a five-second penalty imposed for overtaking Hill during the pre- race parade lap.

The German eventually obeyed the order, claiming that he had initially been told over his radio that the penalty would simply be added to his time at the end of the race. While he was in the pits, Hill opened an 18-second lead, which he protected until the finish. Schumacher had to be content with second place, with France's Jean Alesi, driving a Ferrari, third.

It is always a driver's fondest wish to win his home grand prix, but for Hill the victory had particular poignancy as his late father, Graham, who won the world drivers' championship twice, never won the British event.

'It's the best day of my life. It's like a dream,' said Hill. 'I feel like every part of my life has come together at this point. If you believe in destiny, I was destined to win this race. I got a lot of motivation to win here - not least because my father never won it. I feel like this has completed a little hole my father left in his record. He would be delighted.'

During the week, Hill was subjected to speculation that if, as expected, Nigel Mansell returned to Formula One from IndyCar racing he would not want Hill in the team. Hill also had mechanical problems with his car on the first day of qualifying for the race.

(Photograph omitted)

Report, page 40