1997 French Grand Prix
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The 1997 French Grand Prix (formally the LXXXIII French Grand Prix) was a Formula Onemotor race held at Circuit de Nevers, Magny-Cours, France on 29 June 1997. It was the eighth round of the 1997 Formula One season. The race, contested over 72 laps, was won by Michael Schumacher driving a Ferrari car after starting from pole position. Heinz-Harald Frentzen finished second driving for the Williams team, with Eddie Irvine third in the other Ferrari. Schumacher's win was his third of the season and his second consecutive win having won the preceding Canadian Grand Prix.
At the start, Michael Schumacher led away from pole with Frentzen in the Williams behind him all the way. It was a bad start for Damon Hill, who lost his wing at the first corner after going off and didn't feature much after that.
Not too much happened in the race until towards the end when a nearby thunderstorm caused rain around the circuit, causing some drivers to spin off. Even Michael Schumacher had an off but managed to continue and maintained his big lead, but he did not pit for wet tyres.
In the end, Michael crossed the line well ahead of Frentzen but on the last couple of laps a huge battle was going on between Ralf Schumacher, David Coulthard and Jean Alesi. At the same time Jacques Villeneuve was reeling in Eddie Irvine for the final podium spot.
Ralf Schumacher spun, seemingly throwing away sixth place, but as mentioned in the notes, Michael Schumacher (who had lapped him), allowed him back through at the final corner. At the time, Murray Walker famously said that it was a silly move. It allowed Ralf Schumacher to gain back sixth place on the final lap.
On the last lap Alesi pushed Coulthard straight off, costing David fifth place, thus giving Ralf Schumacher the final point.
Meanwhile, at the last corner, Villeneuve had caught Irvine. In a desperate lunge at the final corner he spun off, rejoining, somehow holding off Alesi at the flag.
- Pedro Diniz outqualified team-mate Damon Hill for the first time.
- Michael allowed his brother Ralf to overtake him and unlap himself on the last corner. Ralf subsequently gained the last point of the day as a result, rising from 7th to 6th after Jean Alesi ran David Coulthard off the road.
- Jarno Trulli switched from Minardi to Prost replacing the injured Olivier Panis.
- Trulli's seat at Minardi went to Tarso Marques.
- Norberto Fontana replaced Gianni Morbidelli at Sauber. Morbidelli had suffered from a broken arm.
Standings after Grand Prix
- Note: Only the top five positions are included for both sets of standings.
1997 Canadian Grand Prix
|FIA Formula One World Championship
1997 British Grand Prix
1996 French Grand Prix
|French Grand Prix||Next race:|
1998 French Grand Prix