- March 10 down the years
Hill benefits as Brundle rides his luckWhat happened on March 10 in Formula One history?
A feast for Australian Formula One fans as the country hosted the first race of the season, less than four months after it had staged the last grand prix of the 1995 season. Damon Hill in his Williams Renault won the race but only because team-mate Jacques Villeneuve, on his F1 debut, led most of the way before being forced to retire with an oil leak. "I am sure everyone will agree Jacques was the moral winner, "Hill, who equalled his father's record of 14 grand prix wins, said. He also revealed a loose stone had worked its way into his overalls and he spent much of the race shifting in his seat to try to dislodge it. "Every time I moved it slipped somewhere else even less comfortable." It was also a memorable day for Martin Brundle who walked away from a spectacular 170mph opening-lap crash which left his Jordan ripped in two. He was able to take his place at the re-start in his spare car, but spun off on the opening lap. "I knew the car was a write-off," Brundle said, "but I hadn't travelled halfway round the world to sit and watch the race."
Ayrton Senna won the US Grand Prix at Phoenix, his 27th career win and all the more remarkable as the McLaren was only handed over to him ten days before the race. Senna took pole and then sped away from Alain Prost's Ferrari on the street circuit, and once Prost's team fumbled a tyre change, Senna was never threatened. Nigel Mansell was third until he was forced to retire on the 35th lap, handing his position to Gerhard Berger who cruised to a halt a few hundred yards later. Riccardo Patrese eased into second in his Williams before skidding - he kept the car going but as he waited to rejoin the fray was slammed into by Roberto Moreno's Benetton.
Japanese driver Toshio Suzuki, who competed in only two grands prix standing in for Philippe Alliot, was born. He is better known as a sports car and development driver for Nissan, and developed the new Nissan GTR.