Motor Racing: Hill wins drive

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The Independent Online
DAMON HILL, son of the late double world champion, Graham Hill, will today be awarded the much-sought-after second drive with the Williams-Renault team for next season.

The long running saga to find the replacement for world champion Nigel Mansell and partner to the Frenchman, Alain Prost, is due to end and, barring yet another sudden change of direction by the team, the vote will go to Hill, a 32-year-old Londoner.

For the past two years he has been the team's test driver and his sound performance at Estoril early this month, when he outpaced Prost, secured the drive.

The other main contender was the young Finn, Mika Hakkinen, who had an impressive 1992 season with Lotus-Ford and is contracted to stay with the Norfolk based team next season.

It is understood Williams negotiated for Hakkinen's release because, much as they admired Hill, there were concerns about the latter's lack of experience in Grand Prix racing. He has had only two races at this level, in an uncompetitive Brabham.

Clearly however the swell of opinion inside the camp swung the issue Hill's way and Williams are also conscious that the nomination of a Briton should appease a public still puzzled - and in many cases angered - by the departure of Mansell to IndyCar racing.