F1 Preview. Japanese Grand Prix. 1996 – King of the Hill

Damon Hill emulates his father – and 1962 1968 World Champion Graham – by securing the 1996 Formula 1 world championship in Sukuka.

Formula One World Championship

Though Red Bull Racing has downplayed the possibility of Sebastien Vettel securing his fourth consecutive Formula 1 world championship in Japan this weekend, should Fernando Alonso’s Ferrari finish lower than ninth, it will be the 14th time in 28 races that a World Champion has been crowned at Suzuka.

Among the most memorable was in 1996, when Damon Hill – entering his last ever race for Williams-Renault – faced teammate Jacques Villeneuve for the F1 world championship. A superb rookie campaign by Villeneuve, already a four-time winner in 1996, meant just nine points separated him from standings leader Hill. But despite a near-miss with Gerhard Berger’s Benetton on lap one, Hill controlled the race throughout the afternoon, securing his eighth victory of the season in style. Villeneuve meanwhile lost a potential fourth place with just 15 laps to go when his right rear wheel beat him into the turn one gravel trap.

Nil points. The title belonged to Damon Hill, who emulated two-time world champion Graham in the process. It was a moment immortalised by Murray Walker’s now famous parting words: “I’ve got to stop, because I’ve got a lump in my throat.”

A fitting way to celebrate Murray’s 90th birthday yesterday too, I’m sure you’ll agree.

Source – Tomyx Yautja, imsoniacidiot and Williams/LAT

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