European GP 1995

OCTOBER 1, 1995

European GP, 1995

At the end of the European Grand Prix at the Nurburgring, Damon Hill stepped out from behind the barriers where his Williams was at rest and joined the thousands of German fans applauding a great drive from Michael Schumacher in his Benetton.

With only a week between the Portuguese and European events it was no surprise that David Coulthard set the pace in qualifying with team mate Damon Hill joining him at the top of the timesheets. But then qualifying was disrupted by the weather and so we never really had a decent showdown. Schumacher was third on the grid with the Ferraris fourth and sixth, split by Eddie Irvine - who will be driving for Ferrari next season. It was pretty much business as usual with McLaren-Mercedes a distressing ninth and tenth, despite the fact that this was Mercedes country.

Race day was damp and, on the recognition laps before the cars go to the pre-grid, Coulthard screwed up again, spinning off and stalling. The crestfallen Scotsman had to hurry back to the pits to take the spare car. His race, however, was compromised before it even began because the spare is never quite as good as a race car.

Despite this David made a good start and, as Hill floundered on the dirty side of the track, Schumacher slotted into second place. Everyone, except Ferrari and McLaren, had chosen to go on wet tyres and in those early laps the slick runners dropped back, notably the McLarens, which were embarrassing as they were passed by Pacifics and Fortis. The Ferraris only dropped to sixth and ninth.

Out front Coulthard led Schumacher and the recovering Hill and that order would remain the same as the track began to dry. As it did so the Ferraris began to speed up and pit stops began for slick tyres. When this was done Alesi had a 20 secs advantage over Coulthard, Schumacher and Hill.

Hill was trying to pass Schumacher in what was clearly - at that moment - a faster car. Michael defended as he has done in recent races - like a man who has nothing to lose. There was one particularly ruthless and vicious chop, which nearly sent Hill off as he locked up trying to avoid the German. It was one of those manouevres guaranteed to start an argument between observers. Damon did not give up and a few minutes later managed to get past thanks to sheer balls and determination which left Schumacher unable to react. But at the last corner Damon blew his advantage when he nearly spun. Schumacher got ahead again and this time began to pull away. Coulthard began to have trouble with the handling of the spare as the fuel load burned off and soon David was behind both Schumacher and Hill.

No-one was even close to Alesi - ahead now by half a minute before he came in for a pit stop. Jean kept the lead and with Schumacher also stopping quickly it was left to Hill to challenge Alesi. It ended with Damon minus his front wings, heading for the pits.

Hill now began charging but he would make a mistake and crash heavily.

Up ahead, realising that he could win the race, Schumacher attacked Alesi's advantage in a brilliant display of driving. The pressure was such that Alesi went off the road at one point. With a few laps to go Jean and Michael were nose-to-tail. And then Michael made the decisive move, going around the outside of Alesi into the chicane. It was a risky move but Michael was prepared to take it. He had nothing to lose. The Benetton went ahead and Michael reeled off the closing laps as the crowd began celebrating.

Alesi came home second with Coulthard a distant third.

Michael Schumacher Benetton-Renault B195 67 1h39m50.044s  
27 Jean Alesi Ferrari 412T2 67 1h40m01.728s  
David Coulthard Williams-Renault FW17 67 1h40m34.426s  
14 Rubens Barrichello Jordan-Peugeot 195 66  11 
Johnny Herbert Benetton-Renault B195 66  
15 Eddie Irvine Jordan-Peugeot 195 66  
25 Aguri Suzuki Ligier-Mugen Honda JS41 66  12 
Mika Hakkinen McLaren-Mercedes MP4/10 65  
23 Pierluigi Martini Minardi-Cosworth M195 64  16 
10 Mika Salo Tyrrell-Yamaha 023 64  15 
11 24 Luca Badoer Minardi-Cosworth M195 64  18 
12 Gianni Morbidelli Footwork-Hart FA16 64  17 
13 21 Pedro Diniz Forti-Cosworth FG01-95 62  22 
14 Ukyo Katayama Tyrrell-Yamaha 023 61  19 
15 16 Giovanni Lavaggi Pacific-Cosworth PR02 60  24 
Damon Hill Williams-Renault FW17 58 Accident 
17 Andrea Montermini Pacific-Cosworth PR02 45 Out Of Fuel 20 
29 Karl Wendlinger Sauber-Cosworth C14 44 Accident 13 
28 Gerhard Berger Ferrari 412T2 40 Electronics 
22 Roberto Moreno Forti-Cosworth FG01-95 22 Gearbox 23 
30 Heinz-Harald Frentzen Sauber-Cosworth C14 17 Accident 
26 Olivier Panis Ligier-Mugen Honda JS41 14 Spin 14 
Mark Blundell McLaren-Mercedes MP4/10 14 Spin 10 
10 Taki Inoue Footwork-Hart FA16 Electronic Control System 21