- July 1 down the years
Schumacher wins battle of brothers for 50th victory
Michael Schumacher secured his 50th victory after winning the French Grand Prix, but he had to fight off stiff competition from his brother Ralf, who started ahead of him on pole. As in the races before, Ralf proved Michael's major threat for and the Williams driver stayed ahead until the first pit-stop on lap 24. A problem with the right rear, however, meant that Ralf's stop was slower than Michael's and the Ferrari took the lead during the second stint and began to pull away. Juan Pablo Montoya, running longer on harder tyres, then became Schumacher's major threat until engine failure on lap 53 halted his victory bid. And so the Schumachers finished 1-2 with Rubens Barrichello in third.
Kimi Raikkonen dominated the French Grand Prix to deny Lewis Hamilton a hat-trick of victories. Hamilton's chances of victory rested on a three-stop strategy which depended on him getting off to a flying start. But Raikkonen swept past him at the start and gave chase to Felipe Massa's lead Ferrari. From then on, it was a battle of the two Ferraris, Raikkonen gaining the decisive edge when Massa was held up in traffic during his second stint.
Jean-Pierre Jabouille won the French Grand Prix but the real story of the race was an epic final lap battle between Gilles Villeneuve and Rene Arnoux. When the race started, Villeneuve pounced from third on the grid to take the lead with Jabouille second and Jody Scheckter third. Arnoux made a poor start and dropped to ninth before charging back through the field to third by lap 15. At the front, Villeneuve's Ferrari was handling like a dog and soon Jabouille passed him for the lead. So began a titanic struggle for second between Arnoux and Villeneuve on the final lap as they ducked and dived and banged wheels. At the last corner Arnoux drifted a little wide and Villeneuve was able to go down the inside and the two crossed the line just two-tenths of a second apart. Renault's first victory and the first for a turbocharged engine marked an important turning point in F1 history.
Ronnie Peterson took his first Formula One victory by winning the French Grand Prix from home favourite Francois Cevert. Jody Scheckter took the lead at the start with a fast-starting Peterson chased by pole-sitter Jackie Stewart, Denny Hulme and Emerson Fittipaldi. When Stewart and Hulme dropped out with a tyre problem, Peterson waved Fittipaldi through into second place to see if he could challenge Scheckter. On lap 42, Scheckter hesitated while lapping Beltoise and Fittipaldi saw a chance to get ahead. But Scheckter refused to give way and the two cars collided. Both retired and so Peterson took the lead and went on to win his first Grand Prix victory from Cevert and Carlos Reutemann, who claimed his first podium place.
Lancia-Ferrari dominated the French Grand Prix with Peter Collins leading home team-mate Eugenio Castellotti. It would have been a 1-2-3 had Juan Manuel Fangio's fuel leak not relegated him to fourth behind Jean Behra's Maserati.
Luigi Fagioli won the French Grand Prix to take his first grand prix win from Juan Manuel Fangio and Jose Frolian Gonzalez, who secured his first podium finish.