Belgian GP 1995

Belgian GP, 1995

Michael Schumacher started from 16th on the grid and won the race. It was a brilliant performance but a controversial one because Michael's outrageous blocking of Damon Hill when the German was on slicks in the wet and the Englishman was on wets - travelling much faster - was disgraceful and unsporting. After the race Hill was typically civil but he felt sufficiently upset to go straight to Schumacher to express his feelings. Later he refused to reveal what he had said to the German. The stewards agreed with Hill and Schumacher was given a one-race ban, suspended for four Grands Prix.

Weather dominated the Spa weekend - as often it does - and so the grid was strange with Gerhard Berger and Jean Alesi sharing the front row for Ferrari with Mika Hakkinen (McLaren) third and Johnny Herbert (Benetton) fourth. David Coulthard (Williams) was fifth, Hill eighth and Schumacher a disastrous 16th.

With such a grid it was always going to be an exciting race.

There was an early battle for the lead between Herbert and Alesi. Jean got ahead and then broke down as usual. Herbert could not hold Coulthard back and spun, which gave Williams a 1-2. A confident Coulthard pulled quickly away but was stopped by yet another gearbox problem. And so Hill led Berger and Schumacher. When the first two pitted Schumacher led before his pit stop. Then it started to rain. Hill chose to stop for wets, Berger retired with electronic trouble, and Schumacher was convinced by his engineers to stay out in the hope that the track would dry: it was the only way he had any chance of beating Hill. Hill rejoined behind Schumacher but was quickly right on Michael's tail.

On the wets Damon was capable of lapping in the 2m17s bracket, while Schumacher was lapping in the 2m23s. There is no doubting Schumacher performed like an artist, because driving on slicks in such circumstances is extremely difficult, but some of his tactics were unacceptable. On a couple of occasions he simply squeezed Damon into positions where Hill had to either back off or go off the road. And it was not only in the slow corners, as Michael later claimed, he was also doing it at Blanchimont and Raidillon, the fastest corners of the track . At one point they touched wheels.

It was a clash of philosophies as much as a clash of drivers. What Schumacher felt was acceptable was not what Hill believed a sporting driver would do. Ultimately, however, the race was not won or lost with these tactics but because Hill lost out for other reasons.

Hill lost 15secs behind the weaving German before Michael finally went off onto the grass. Hill was ahead and gone. He had a three-second lead by the end of the lap but luck was on Schumacher's side. The track conditions changed and slicks suddenly began to work. Michael's next lap was 10secs faster and he breezed passed Hill again, leaving Damon no choice but to pit for slicks. Schumacher was suddenly 30secs ahead. The officials sent out a ludicrous Safety Car to slow down the racers when the rains increased and so Hill and Schumacher went back onto wets and were suddenly line astern again. But no sooner had the Safety Car pulled off than Hill was given a stop-go penalty for speeding in the pitlane. This meant that he had to go back into the pits and wait a while before returning to the track. The race was over.

Schumacher stroked it home while Hill found himself chasing Martin Brundle's Ligier for second place. He overtook him on an exciting last lap. Heinz-Harald Frentzen (Sauber) finished right behind the Ligier while Mark Blundell (McLaren) ended fifth. Rubens Barrichello finished off the points scorers for Jordan - which was boost as Eddie Irvine's car had caught fire in the pits when a fuel valve stuck open. Luckily no-one was hurt.

Michael Schumacher Benetton-Renault B195 44 1h36m47.875s  16 
Damon Hill Williams-Renault FW17 44 1h37m07.368s  
25 Aguri Suzuki Ligier-Mugen Honda JS41 44 1h37m12.873s  13 
30 Heinz-Harald Frentzen Sauber-Cosworth C14 44 1h37m14.847s  10 
Mark Blundell McLaren-Mercedes MP4/10 44 1h37m21/647s  
14 Rubens Barrichello Jordan-Peugeot 195 44 1h37m27.549s  12 
Johnny Herbert Benetton-Renault B195 44 1h37m41.923s  
Mika Salo Tyrrell-Yamaha 023 44 1h37m42.423s  11 
26 Olivier Panis Ligier-Mugen Honda JS41 44 1h37m54.045s  
10 23 Pedro Lamy Minardi-Cosworth M195 44 1h38m07.664s  17 
11 29 Jean-Christophe Boullion Sauber-Cosworth C14 43  14 
12 10 Taki Inoue Footwork-Hart FA16 43  18 
13 21 Pedro Diniz Forti-Cosworth FG01-95 42  24 
14 22 Roberto Moreno Forti-Cosworth FG01-95 42  22 
Ukyo Katayama Tyrrell-Yamaha 023 28 Spin  15 
16 Giovanni Lavaggi Pacific-Cosworth PR02 27 Gearbox  23 
24 Luca Badoer Minardi-Cosworth M195 23 Accident  19 
28 Gerhard Berger Ferrari 412T2 22 Electrics  
15 Eddie Irvine Jordan-Peugeot 195 21 Refueling Fire  
Max Papis Footwork-Hart FA16 20 Spin  20 
17 Andrea Montermini Pacific-Cosworth PR02 18 Fuel Pressure  21 
David Coulthard Williams-Renault FW17 13 Gearbox Oil Loss  
27 Jean Alesi Ferrari 412T2 Rear Suspension  
Mika Hakkinen McLaren-Mercedes MP4/10 Spin