F1 1997 Championship

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In his second year at Williams Renault, Jacques Villeneuve was crowned F1 World Champion. His team mate was German Heinz-Harald Frentzen after replacing Damon Hill.
Once again Villeneuve had a tough challenge for the title dueling with the then double World Champion and Ferrari's driver Michael Schumacher. In his champion season, Villeneuve won 7 races at the Brazilian, Argentinian, Spanish, British, Hungarian, Austrian and Luxembourg Grand Prix and also claimed 10 pole positions. His main rival Schumacher had 5 victories but both drivers refused to give "an inch" to each other all season long until the final race of the season.

At the Qantas Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne, Villeneuve seemed to have a comfortable first victory of the season starting the race from the pole position with his team-mate 2nd.
However, he was obliged to retire early on the very first turn, following a very slow start and a collision with Ferrari's Eddie Irvine and Sauber's Johnny Herbert.

The first victory of Villeneuve's champion season was at the Grande Prêmio do Brasil in Interlagos.
Villeneuve took his 2nd consecutive pole position, but as in Australia, he went again off the track at the first turn. Eventually the race was immediately red-flagged as right behind him took place an incident involving several drivers. At the start, Rubens Barrichello's car stalled causing a track blockage for the following drivers but Eddie Irvine took also some of the blame.
Luckily for the Canadian, the race restarted with the drivers occyping their initial position. This time Villeneuve had a clear start and mainted the 1rdt position till the fall of the checkered flag. 2nd was Gerhard Berger with Olivier Panis 3rd.

Jacques Villeneuve was victorious at the Gran Premio Marlboro de Espana in Barcelona. 2nd was Olivier Panis and 3rd Jean Alesi completing a French-speaking podium.

During the Spanish Grand Prix, it was also announced that Renault Sport was about to retire from F1 by the end of the season. Still the management and the developing of its V10 engines was left to Mecachrome.

Canadian fans were delightful about a Villeneuve's victory at his home Grand Prix Players du Canada, in the circuit that brings his father's name Gilles. Villeneuve qualified 2nd behind Michael Scumacher but in the 2nd lap of the race, he spun off and crashed into the infamous "Bienvenue au Quebec" wall. By the crash his front suspension and wing were damaged forcing Villeneuve to retire disappointing his fans.

In the footage of the British Television, he explained that he wrongly went too fast into the chicane. It was after the race that Villeneuve decided to color his hair in fancy blond, to bring him luck.

Jacques Villeneuve won the British Grand Prix in Silverstone despite he has being stuck in the pitlane for half a minute during his first pitstop, after a wheelnut problem, losing valuable time.However, the two previous leaders of the race retired due to mechanical problems. Michael Schumacher was leading with by over 40 seconds gap before a wheel bearing failure caused retirement. The next race leader was Mika Häkkinen who was about for his first win but his engine blew while he was holding off Villeneuve

In Hungaroring, Jacques Villeneuve was driving second behind Damon Hill's Arrows Yamaha. During the last lap he managed to pass Hill in a very demanding way and took the lead of the race.

Onboard view of Jacques Villeneuve overtaking Damon Hill


Luxemburg last win