Grand Prix Gold: Australia 1996

Grand Prix Gold: Australia 1996

Autosport relives the great races of the past. It looked like history was in the making in Melbourne in 1996 as Jacques Villeneuve headed for victory in his first grand prix. But the win fell to his Williams team-mate Damon Hill. Nigel Roebuck reports.

There were five laps to go when they hung out a board from the Williams pit. At the top of it was the Canadian maple leaf, and beneath it the word 'SLOW.' In the press room there were murmurings about team orders, but anyone with eyes to see knew otherwise: for 20 or more laps the white on Damon Hill's car had been turning yellow, which meant that Jacques was losing oil.

Thus, the Australian Grand Prix lacked the fairytale ending for which most, to be honest, had hoped. Villeneuve, warned now that continuing at his current speed risked not finishing at all, backed off on the next straight, allowing Hill through to victory in the first race of the 1996 Formula 1 World Championship.

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