- European Grand Prix
Schumacher is champion-elect as Hill crashes out
Michael Schumacher all but wrapped up his second championship in front of his home fans with a classy display at the Nurburgring.
After a rain-affected qualifying session it was the Williams pair of David Coulthard and Damon Hill who lined up on the front row ahead of Schumacher and Gerhard Berger's Ferrari. The race began in damp conditions and Schumacher got ahead of his main title rival Hill off the line, slotting in behind Coulthard. Hill was down to fourth behind Eddie Irvine, but managed to regain third by the end of the first lap.
Hill began to close on the leaders but as the track dried it was Jean Alesi who inherited a commanding lead in the Ferrari after starting on slick tyres. Now on slicks, Hill found a way past Schumacher and Coulthard before challenge for the lead - albeit it out of sync with Alesi's pit stops - but a rash move saw Hill lose his front wing. After pitting, Hill was pushing hard to recover but put two wheels on the wet grass and spun off in to the barriers, effectively ending his title ambitions.
Schumacher then took full advantage, as he reeled in Alesi during the final stint. Knowing that victory could be decisive for the championship, he passed the Ferrari around the outside of the chicane with three laps remaining to the delight of the German crowd. Alesi held on for second while Coulthard was a distant third.