1994 Japanese Grand Prix

The 1994 season had been one of tragedy and would change the sport forever. The championship still continued and soon developed into being contested between two drivers, Williams’ Damon Hill and Benetton’s Michael Schumacher.

Going into the Event

Damon Hill had to win in order to be in with a realistic chance of winning the title. He was five points behind Michael Schumacher going into the race after finishing second behind the Benetton driver in the previous round in Jerez.

The Race

Both title contenders started on the front row of the gird with Schumacher claiming pole position. The race itself was held in heavy rain, and despite a normal racing start, soon the safety car was out. The race however eventually returned to full racing on lap ten.

Despite this, five laps later, the race was stopped after several crashes. The race was then restarted behind the safety car. This effectively split the race into two parts with the overall result being decided by adding the times of the first race with the times of the second race.

Back on track, Schumacher pitted a lap after the safety car went in, gifting the lead to HIll, who himself eventually pitted. However Hill managed to stay ahead of the Benetton driver. They would swap positions on track again before Schumacher eventually had to pit once more. Hill stayed out, meaning that he was in the lead of the race.

Despite a late charge, Schumacher was unable to close the gap to Hill, meaning that overall Damon Hill won the race, just over three seconds ahead of Schumacher, while Jean Alesi, in the Ferrari, took the final podium place, despite being overtaken on track by Nigel Mansell on the last lap in the last chicane.

After the Event

The next round was in Australia, Adelaide, which was the final round of the championship. With Hill now only one point behind Schumacher, it meant that whoever finished ahead of the other would be crowned champion, although Schumacher obviously could win if Hill didn’t finish. A collision between the two forced both into retirement, which meant that Schumacher claimed his first title.

Hill’s teammate for the race, Nigel Mansell, claimed victory ahead of Gerhard Burger and Martin Brundle.

Next in feature: 2005 Japanese Grand Prix

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