Puneet Varma

1994 Spanish Grand Prix

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Date  29 May 1994
Course length  4.747 km (2.950 mi)
1994 Spanish Grand Prix
Official name  XXXVI Gran Premio Marlboro de España
Location  Circuit de Catalunya, Barcelona, Spain
Course  Permanent racing facility
Distance  65 laps, 308.414 km (191.639 mi)

The 1994 Spanish Grand Prix was a Formula One motor race held on 29 May 1994 at the Circuit de Catalunya, Barcelona. It was the 36th Spanish Grand Prix to be held since the first was held at Guadarrama in 1913. It was the fourth to be held at Circuit de Catalunya. It was the fifth race of the 1994 Formula One season.

Contents

The race was won by British driver Damon Hill driving a Williams FW16 taking his first win of the season. It was also Williams first win of the season, and a cathartic win for the team still shocked from the death of Ayrton Senna a few weeks earlier at the 1994 San Marino Grand Prix. Hill won by 24 seconds over German driver Michael Schumacher, who for most of the race was stuck in fifth gear in his Benetton B194. Third was British driver Mark Blundell driving a Tyrrell 022. It would be the third and final podium of Blundell's career and would be the season highlight for the Tyrrell team.

The Grand Prix was additionally notable for the season-ending crash of debutant Italian driver Andrea Montermini in his Simtek S941 on the front straight. Montermini, elevated from test driver status after the death of Roland Ratzenberger at the San Marino Grand Prix crashed heavily into the pit wall. It also marked the Formula 1 debut of British Driver David Coulthard, replacing Senna for Williams.

Pre-Race

This was the first race for the newly formed Grand Prix Drivers Association (GPDA). Several top level names, including Michael Schumacher, Damon Hill, and Gerhard Berger, were instrumental in the setup and running of the GPDA, and they took the decision to install a temporary chicane at the Nissan corner, to attempt to slow the cars down before the La Caixa Hairpin. This was an attempt to improve safety, as well as limit speeds around the track, as the Nissan corner was generally taken at near flat-out speeds

Qualifying

Michael Schumacher took the second pole position in succession and the second of his career. Damon Hill also lined up on the front row, his time had been beaten by Schumacher's by over half a second, and he was only one thousandth of a second ahead of Mika Häkkinen. The pair's respective Williams and McLaren teammates lined up eighth and ninth, McLaren's Martin Brundle on the fourth row in front of a disappointed David Coulthard for Williams. Schumacher's Benetton teammate – JJ Lehto – had done a bit better for himself and lined up fourth. Rubens Barrichello's Jordan qualified in fifth, followed by the two Ferraris. Tyrrell driver Ukyo Katayama was the other driver in the top ten, while at the back Andrea Montermini crashed heavily on the Simtek previously driven by Roland Ratzenberger and broke his ankles. Obviously he failed to set a timed lap in the second session and failed to qualify.

Race

Schumacher led from pole position at the start of the race whilst Barrichello and Berger collided at the first corner. Neither driver retired as a direct result of the collision, although both did eventually, but Berger was forced to run across the grass and lost places. Coulthard climbed up to fifth place from his ninth place starting spot, but his car stalled in the pits on lap 16. Despite retiring from twelfth place on lap 32, he described his race as a "good debut overall". While Williams notched up their first victory of the season, and first after the death of Ayrton Senna, championship leader Michael Schumacher finished a strong second, despite being stuck in fifth gear for most of the race. Knowing that he had a major problem, he managed to make a pitstop (and get away from the pit stop in 5th gear), and as the race unfolded gave nothing to the leading Hill's pace. He had to change his driving style to find new trajectories and corner apexes, and his past experience as a World Sports Car driver helped him to do so. After the pit stops, Mika Häkkinen was in third place for McLaren behind Hill and Schumacher, having temporarily been in front of Schumacher earlier in the race. Häkkinen's engine failed, though granting the place to his team-mate Martin Brundle. Brundle then retired himself after an explosion from the back of his car at the first corner. Mark Blundell, for Tyrrell, completed the podium celebrations.

Post-Race

After the race, the Williams team were very emotional with Hill's win.

References

1994 Spanish Grand Prix Wikipedia


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