Wheel to wheel: How Villeneuve drove Hill to distraction

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The Independent Online
Australia

Damon Hill

Finished

1st

Looked quicker of two when chasing Villeneuve, and pressured him into mistake. Aware of need to avoid taking both off with any rash passing moves.

Jacques Villeneuve

Finished

2nd

Brilliant in qualifying, taking pole for first GP. Would have won but forced error damaged oil line.

Brazil

1st

Unstoppable in qualifying. Unstoppable in race, where he also set fastest lap.

Spun

Ran well in qualifying. Looked very impressive in first wet F1 race (only third-ever outing in rain) until he spun.

Argentina

1st

Brilliant again in qualifying.

Another easy race win.

2nd

Spoiled chances with poor start, but fought back to second. Lucky that Berger retired.

Europe

4th

Ruined third consecutive pole position with poor start. Fought back but looked shaky en route to fourth place.

1st

Grabbed lead early and then fended off

attentions of Schumacher all afternoon.

Excellent first win came at only fourth attempt.

San Marino

1st

Back on top in qualifying and race.

Smart enough to play tactics when it mattered in early stages.

11th

Qualified well, but aggression got him into trouble sitting it out with Alesi. Lost loads of time with resultant puncture.

Monaco

DNF

Outshone by Schumacher in qualifying but grabbed lead at start. Walking to well deserved victory when engine broke.

DNF

Looked lacklustre all weekend. Should never have been behind Irvine, Frentzen etc in the first place.

Spain

Spun

Back on top in qualifying, but race a disaster. Ride height too low, so car aquaplaned; he spun twice before crashing.

3rd

Backed Hill strongly in qualifying. Then redeemed poor Monaco showing with excellent run to third, bearing in mind lack of wet-weather experience.

Canada

1st

Stamped authority in qualifying and again at first corner, where he refused to let Villeneuve push him around. Won for fifth time, in style.

2nd

Desperately wanted to win at home, on circuit named after father. Beaten fair and square by Hill.

France

1st

Beaten by Schumacher in qualifying, but again dominant in race after Ferrari blew up on

parade lap. Sixth victory of the season.

2nd

Turning point for his season was, ironically, big crash in practice. Shrugged off sore neck to take strong second place.

Britain

DNF

Turning point of his season, after abysmal start left him fourth from pole position. Spun off after front wheel-nut loosened.

1st

Made inroads into Hill's lead at last with dominant second victory. Got own back for Canada in front of Hill's countrymen.

Germany

1st

Compromised race with another poor start from pole position. Fought back, and had lucky win when Berger's engine blew. Seventh victory.

3rd

Back to running behind Hill. Qualified only sixth and finished distant third behind Hill and Alesi.

Hungary

2nd

Yet another appalling start lost second on grid. Recovered from fourth to chase Villeneuve to flag.

1st

Qualified behind Hill but started better. Took lead from Schumacher in the pits and kept it under pressure from Hill.

Belgium

5th

Problems started when forgot to tell Renault about engine problem from morning warm-up, following spin. Very lacklustre race in spare car.

2nd

Benefited at Hill's expense over pit stop mix-up. Then went on to fight it out with Schumacher until handing went awry.

Italy

Spun

Stunned by sacking from Williams, but fought back to take pole. Brilliantly aggressive in opening laps, but threw lead and title away with stupid mistake.

7th

Struggled right from start of race. Hill's only consolation was that Villeneuve also screwed up by hitting a tyre stack.

Portugal

2nd

Brilliant at start, keeping Alesi at bay. Seemed to be running away until combination of traffic, loss of consistency and Villeneuve spoiled his day.

1st

His turn for bad start, but then brilliantly passed Schumacher. Quickly gobbled up Hill's advantage and charged on to thoroughly deserved win.

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