Harman Patil

1995 Argentine Grand Prix

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Date  9 April 1995
Course length  4.259 km (2.661 mi)
1995 Argentine Grand Prix
Official name  XVIII Gran Premio Marlboro de la Republica Argentina
Location  Autódromo Oscar Alfredo Gálvez, Buenos Aires, Argentina
Course  Permanent racing facility
Distance  72 laps, 306.648 km (191.655 mi)

The 1995 Argentine Grand Prix (formally the XVIII Gran Premio Marlboro de la Republica Argentina) was a Formula One motor race held on 9 April 1995 at the Autódromo Oscar Alfredo Gálvez, Buenos Aires, Argentina. It was the second round of the 1995 Formula One season and was the first Formula One race to take place in Argentina since 1981. The 72-lap race was won by Damon Hill for the Williams team after starting from second position. Jean Alesi finished second in a Ferrari, with Michael Schumacher third in a Benetton car. David Coulthard, who started the race from pole position, spun out of the race on lap 16 with an electrical problem.

Contents

Background

The race marked the return to the Formula One calendar for the Argentine country after being off the calendar since 1981. The race was removed from the calendar originally due to the retirement of Carlos Reutemann and Argentina's invasion of the Falkland Islands. It was reinstated following President Carlos Menem's rise into power in 1989. To celebrate its return to the calendar, Reutemann drove a demonstration lap aboard the 1994 Ferrari 412 T1 car around the wet Autódromo Oscar Alfredo Gálvez circuit on the Thursday afternoon before the race.

The track, however, was criticised due to its "dirtiness". The track was held on the "No.6" configuration, the previous Argentine Grands Prix were all held at Oscar Galvez, but on the "No.9" and the fast and rather dangerous "No.15" configurations.

During the break between the Brazilian Grand Prix and the Argentine Grand Prix, the FIA rescinded the rule requiring that holes be cut in the airboxes; consequently, all the cars arrived at the circuit with their airbox holes filled.

Practice and qualifying

As the Autódromo Oscar Alfredo Gálvez was a new track on the Formula One calendar, an extra day of practice was added to the schedule on the Thursday.

Two practice sessions were held before the race; the first was held on Friday morning, with the second held on Saturday morning. Both sessions lasted 1 hour and 45 minutes.

Qualifying was split into two one-hour sessions; the first was held on Friday afternoon with the second held on Saturday afternoon. The fastest time from either of the two qualifying sessions counted towards their final grid position. Both sessions on Friday and Saturday were rain interrupted, leading to not much action on the track initially until conditions towards the end of the second session began to improve. Coulthard clinched his first career pole position, in his Williams, with a time of 1:53.241.

Race

The race was stopped on the first lap after accidents in the first three corners. Jean Alesi spun on the inside of the first corner, causing Mika Salo to brake sharply and be hit from behind by Luca Badoer. The resulting jam of cars caused Olivier Panis to hit the back of Pierluigi Martini, and slide into the gravel on the outside of the corner. Salo's ailing Tyrrell then tangled with Johnny Herbert on the exit of the corner. At Turn 3 Rubens Barrichello was knocked from behind by Herbert and slid to a halt, only to be rammed by the damaged Minardi of Badoer. Ukyo Katayama's Tyrrell was also damaged in the accident.

Alesi, Panis and Barrichello returned to the pits on foot for their spare cars while Badoer was left without a car as teammate Martini was given the Minardi spare. Herbert and Katayama had managed to drive back to the pits for their spare cars while Salo's car was repaired on the grid. On the second formation lap Karl Wendlinger stalled and started at the back alongside Barrichello who was late coming out of the pits. At the second start Mika Häkkinen and Eddie Irvine touched on the run down to the first corner, with Häkkinen's left rear tyre punctured which caused him to spin off. Further back, Wendlinger managed to tangle with both the Pacific cars of Bertrand Gachot and Andrea Montermini at the first corner, putting all three out. Irvine made it back to the pits for a replacement nose.

David Coulthard led from Michael Schumacher and Damon Hill. Coulthard was leading when his throttle failed and restarted, dropping him to 3rd. Hill passed Schumacher for the lead on lap 11 and built a lead of 12 seconds before pitting on lap 16, when Schumacher was then passed by the recovering Coulthard for the lead. One lap later Coulthard stopped with throttle problems, this time permanently. Alesi, using a 2-stop strategy, took the lead after Hill and Schumacher's pit stops and held it until pitting on lap 26. Alesi was able to rejoin just in front of Schumacher for second, 26 seconds behind Hill. Hill and Schumacher made their second stops near the half-way point, with Schumacher getting delayed about 7 seconds by a refueling problem. Hill then led by 9 seconds from Alesi, with Schumacher another 30 seconds behind. Alesi then closed on Hill, getting the gap down to 4 seconds by around lap 50 when the top three all made their final stops. Hill was then able to pull away from Alesi again, getting the gap up to 12 seconds. On his last set of tires Schumacher was able to close on Alesi and set the fastest lap of the race, but was much too far behind to challenge for second. Berger was to finish sixth and get one championship point, which put him in the championship lead briefly before Coulthard and Schumacher's points from Brazil were restored on appeal.

Mika Salo was running 5th (and catching 4th placed Johnny Herbert) when he collided with the lapped Aguri Suzuki. A pitlane punch-up followed, and Salo later told the BBC that "drivers like Suzuki should not be in Formula One".

Post-race

As a result of criticism surrounding the track, it was resurfaced over the winter months ready for the 1996 running of the race.

Championship standings after the race

  • Note: Only the top five positions are included for both sets of standings.
  • References

    1995 Argentine Grand Prix Wikipedia


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