Japanese GP 1995

Japanese GP, 1995

Michael Schumacher dominated the Japanese Grand Prix weekend - outpacing the Williams boys all weekend. He was on pole with Jean Alesi's Ferrari second and Mika Hakkinen's McLaren-Mercedes third. Mika was recovering from his appendicitis operation but seemed to be unaffected: Suzuka is a track he relishes and that played no small part in the performance. But an ace is only as good as his car. The men at Mercedes were largely responsible thanks to yet another new evolution of the Ilmor-designed engine - flown in for the occasion from England - and the chassis suited the circuit.

But all was not wonderful at McLaren because Blundell went off on Friday afternoon and did not set a time and then had a big shuny on Saturday morning which meant he had to sit out final qualifying. He had not therefore completed a lap in qualifying and had to start at the back of the grid.

Blundell's crash was one of several: Johnny Herbert going in hard and Aguri Suzuki having a massive shunt in his Ligier on Saturday, Aguri putting himself into hospital

Damon Hill and David Coulthard were struggling in fourth and sixth places on the grid.

In the race - started in damp conditions with the whole field in wet tyres - Schumacher was again dominant. He got ahead at the first corner and quickly built up a commanding lead. He was helped when Alesi was given a 10-sec stop-go penalty for jumping the start. Jean pitted. A lap later he came back in for slick tyres. It was a risky move but Jean was soon making huge progress as the others were still messing about on wets. Alesi survived a spin when he was driven off the road by a hapless Pedro Lamy and his next laps were such that by the time Schumacher had stopped for his new tyres, Alesi was only six seconds behind - and closing. He was soon on Michael's tail and there he stayed until the Ferrari engine went bang.

The Williams team self-destructed in the mid-race as Damon Hill and David Coulthard ran second and third. Spots of rain began to fall down at the Spoon Curve, where the cars arrive on the limit of rear grip. If the circuit is more slippery than usual a car can be carried by momentum into the sandtrap. In such conditions drivers have to predict trouble. Schumacher managed to get through without drama but Hill, obviously pushing very hard, slid straight on, bounced across the sand trap, but managed to keep going, and motored slowly around on the grass verge between the sandtrap and the tyre barriers and rejoined just as Hakkinen was accelerating past him. Damon went into the pits for a new nose and rejoined in fifth place - although in doing so he went too fast in the pitlane. Coulthard then did exactly the same thing at Spoon, bouncing across the sand trap and filling his sidepods with gravel. He left some on the road and the rest was forced backward in the pods as he accelerated away down the straight. When he got to the next corner he braked and the gravel flew out into his path and he spun off on his own pebbles. Moments later Hill arrived at Spoon, anxious to make up for lost time, having just been told on the radio that he had to go back into the pits for a 10-sec stop-go penalty. He drifted onto the stones Coulthard had carried onto the track and spun into the gravel.

And so Benetton won the Constructors' Championship as well.

Hakkinen finished second, which was remarkable, and Johnny Herbert came home third.

Michael Schumacher Benetton-Renault B195 53 1h36m52.930s  
Mika Hakkinen McLaren-Mercedes MP4/10 53 1h37m12.267s  
Johnny Herbert Benetton-Renault B195 53 1h38m16.734s  
15 Eddie Irvine Jordan-Peugeot 195 53  
26 Olivier Panis Ligier-Mugen Honda JS41 52  11 
Mika Salo Tyrrell-Yamaha 023 52  12 
Mark Blundell McLaren-Mercedes MP4/10 52  23 
30 Heinz-Harald Frentzen Sauber-Cosworth C14 52  
24 Luca Badoer Minardi-Cosworth M195 51  17 
10 29 Karl Wendlinger Sauber-Cosworth C14 51  15 
11 23 Pedro Lamy Minardi-Cosworth M195 51  16 
12 10 Taki Inoue Footwork-Hart FA16 51  18 
Damon Hill Williams-Renault FW17 40 Spin 
David Coulthard Williams-Renault FW17 39 Accident 
21 Pedro Diniz Forti-Cosworth FG01-95 32 Spin 20 
27 Jean Alesi Ferrari 412T2 24 Differential 
17 Andrea Montermini Pacific-Cosworth PR02 23 Spin 19 
28 Gerhard Berger Ferrari 412T2 16 Electronics Sensor 
14 Rubens Barrichello Jordan-Peugeot 195 15 Accident 10 
Ukyo Katayama Tyrrell-Yamaha 023 12 Accident 13 
16 Bertrand Gachot Pacific-Cosworth PR02 Drive Shaft Bearing 22 
22 Roberto Moreno Forti-Cosworth FG01-95 Gearbox 21 
Gianni Morbidelli Footwork-Hart FA16 Spin 14 
ns 25 Aguri Suzuki Ligier-Mugen Honda JS41  Accident/injury 24