1997 German Grand Prix
The 1997 German Grand Prix (formally the LIX Grosser Mobil 1 Preis von Deutschland) was a Formula One motor race held on 27 July 1997 at Hockenheimring, in Hockenheim, Baden-Württemberg, Germany. It was the tenth race of the 1997 Formula One season. The race, contested over 45 laps, was won by Gerhard Berger for the Benetton team, from a pole position start. Michael Schumacher finished second in a Ferrari, with Mika Häkkinen third for the McLaren team.
The Grand Prix was contested by 22 drivers, in eleven teams of two, The teams, also known as constructors, were Williams, Arrows, Ferrari, Benetton, McLaren, Jordan, Prost, Sauber, Tyrrell, Minardi and Stewart.
Before the race, Ferrari driver Michael Schumacher led the Drivers' Championship with 47 points; Williams driver Jacques Villeneuve was second on 43 points. Behind them in the Drivers' Championship, Jean Alesi was third on 21 points in a Benetton, with Heinz-Harald Frentzen and Eddie Irvine on 19 and 18 points respectively. In the Constructors' Championship, Ferrari were leading on 65 points and Williams were second on 62 points, with Benetton third on 35 points.
Following the British Grand Prix on 13 July, the teams conducted testing sessions at the Autodromo Nazionale Monza from July 14–17. Shinji Nakano (Prost) set the fastest time on the first day, while Giancarlo Fisichella (Jordan) topped the second day's running. Johnny Herbert (Sauber) was fastest on the third day and Ralf Schumacher (Jordan) set the fastest time on the final day of running.
There was one driver change heading into the race. Having been in one of the two Benetton cars since the seventh race of the season at Canada, Alexander Wurz stood down from his role as race driver and was replaced by Gerhard Berger. Berger was forced to miss the previous three rounds due to a reoccurring sinus problem, requiring two operations.
On 22 July, four days before the event's first free practice sessions took place, Benetton confirmed the team would sign Fisichella for 1998, while the organisers of the German Grand Prix signed a deal with the Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile (FIA), to continue hosting the race until 2001.
Practice and qualifying
Four practice sessions were held before the Sunday race—two on Friday, and two on Saturday. The Friday morning and afternoon sessions each lasted an hour. The third and final practice sessions were held on Saturday morning and lasted 45 minutes. The two practice sessions were affected by occasionally damp and wet conditions, which made the track moderately slipperly. Ralf Schumacher set the session's fastest time, with a lap of 1:46.196, one-tenth of a second quicker than Michael Schumacher.
Saturday's afternoon qualifying session lasted for an hour. During this session, the 107% rule was in effect, which necessitated each driver set a time within 107% of the quickest lap to qualify for the race. Each driver was limited to twelve laps.
Giancarlo Fisichella took his first ever front-row start, and was challenging Berger for the win until he punctured a tyre on the debris of Jan Magnussen's blown engine. This same incident had helped him gain the lead, as the smoke from the engine delayed Berger prior to his pit stop. Fisichella only led for two laps before Berger repassed him. After Fisichella broke down due to damage from the flailing tyre (caused while he tried to drive back to the pits), Michael Schumacher gave him a lift back to the pits after the race.
Jacques Villeneuve had a disastrous race, spinning off while trying to overtake rookie Jarno Trulli, thus losing championship ground to Schumacher. The latter's team-mate Eddie Irvine and Villeneuve's team-mate Heinz-Harald Frentzen collided at the first corner, with David Coulthard also forced out by damage from the incident.
Berger's last win would also be the last for Benetton, just as Berger's first win had been the team's first. It was also Benetton's only win as an Italian constructor.
Standings after Grand Prix
- Note: Only the top five positions are included for both sets of standings.
- "Formula One July 1997 Test-Times". Atlas F1. Haymarket Publications. Retrieved 19 July 2014.
- "Last week at Monza". GrandPrix.com. Inside F1, Inc. 21 July 1997. Retrieved 19 July 2014.
- "Berger back in business". GrandPrix.com. Inside F1, Inc. 21 July 1997. Retrieved 19 July 2014.
- "Germany to host 2 Grands Prix through 2001". Atlas F1. Haymarket Publications. 21 July 1997. Retrieved 19 July 2014.
- Domenjoz, Luc (1997). Formula 1 Yearbook - 1997-98 (8th edition ed.). Parragon. p. 220. ISBN 0-7525-2386-4.
119. Free practice will take place:
a) two days (Monaco : three days) before the race from 11.00 to 12.00 and from 13.00 to 14.00.
b) the day before the race from 09.00 to 09.45 and from 10.15 to 11.00
- "News 97 - German Grand Prix". Gale Force F1. 27 July 1997. Retrieved 19 July 2014.
1997 British Grand Prix
|FIA Formula One World Championship
1997 Hungarian Grand Prix
1996 German Grand Prix
|German Grand Prix||Next race:|
1998 German Grand Prix