1995 Japanese Grand Prix

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Japanese Grand Prix – Suzuka, 29 October 1995 – 53 laps of 3.64 mile circuit (192.92 miles)

1: Michael Schumacher – Benetton B195-Renault V10 – 1h 36m 52.930s
2: Mika Hakkinen – McLaren MP4/10B-Mercedes V10 – 1h 37m 12.267s
3: Johnny Herbert – Benetton B195-Renault V10 – 1h 38m 16.734s
4: Eddie Irvine – Jordan 195-Peugeot V10 – 1h 38m 35.066s
5: Olivier Panis – Ligier JS41-Mugen Honda V10 – 52 laps
6: Mika Salo- Tyrrell 023-Yamaha V10 – 52 laps

The race in brief

Michael Schumacher leads Jean Alesi, Mika Hakkinen, Damon Hill, Eddie Irvine and David Coulthard at the start on a wet-but-drying circuit. Gianni Morbidelli makes it only as far as the first corner where he is hit by the Sauber of F1 returnee Karl Wendlinger. Roberto Morneo’s Forti is immediately in gearbox trouble, and retires at the end of lap1.

Alesi’s pursuit of the leader is halted on lap 5, when both Ferraris are given 10-second stop-go penalties for jumping the start. Coulthard overtakes Irvine for fifth position.

Bertrand Gachot’s Pacific retires with driveshaft bearing failure on lap 6.

Alesi has fought back to seventh when he is the first to pit for slick tyres on lap 7.

Start

The start of the Japanese Grand Prix

Motorsport Images

On lap 9 the Frenchman goes six seconds quicker than the leader, prompting the rest of the field to follow his move to slicks. His spectacular drive nearly ends on lap 10, when he skates while trying to pass Pedro Lamy but incredibly controls the 360-degree spin and quickly rejoins.

With the first stops completed by lap 12, Schumacher now leads Alesi, Hill, Hakkinen, Irvine and Coulthard. Uncomfortable in his Tyrrell after damaging a wrist in warm-up, Ukyo Katayma crashes out.

Irvine, who is grappling with bad oversteer, is involved in the first of many incidents when Jordan team-mate Rubens Barrichello spins on lap 16 attempting to wrest sixth place from him. Heinz-Harald Frentzen tries to bundle past on lap 20, but contract sends the Sauber pitward for a new nose. In the meantime, a faulty engine sensor sees Gerhard Berger retire. His team-mate has set a succession of fastest laps, and is all but with Schumacher.

The German responds to the challenge by setting fastest laps on laps 23 and 24, and the battle ends when the Ferrari is sidelined by transmission failure on lap 25. Further back, Andrea Montermini retires the last Pacific after an accident.

Schumacher makes his final refuelling stop on lap 31, briefly dropping to second, but regains the lead when Hill pits on lap 35.

SchumacherAlesi

Michael Schumacher is shadowed by Jean Alesi in the Ferrari

Motorsport Images

Hill spins off at Spoon corner on lap 37, and pits for a new nose. Coulthard later follows suite at the same bend, and crashes again seconds later when he loses control on the gravel which shoots from his own car under braking. Pedro Diniz (broken suspension), Mark Blundell, Frentzen and Irvine all slide off on the same oil.

Hill is given a stop-go penalty for speeding in the pit lane, but never makes it back there. Spoon claims the Williams for goon on lap 40.

Only Hakkinen, who now lies second, Johnny Herbert and Irvine remained unlapped by lap 41. Schumacher holds a 30-second lead.

Blundell, who started from the very back of the grid after his qualifying accidents, is nearly onto the tail of Mika Salo’s Tyrrell by lap 52. The Finn hands on to the final point by setting his fastest lap of the race.

Schumacher takes the flag on lap 53 to clinch the Contructors’ title for Benetton. “Second is like a win for us,” says Mercedes boss Norbert Haug after Hakkinen finishes second. Herbert is third from Irvine, Olivier Panis – whose Ligier’s first stop was delayed by a radio failure – and Salo. Wendlinger survives an extra stop for tyres, again after a radio mix-up, and finishes 10th.

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