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F1 Legend Damon Hill ‘Wouldn’t Have Passed’ His Rookie Rival to Win Australian GP in 1996 If It Wasn’t For This

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The 1996 Australian Grand Prix was one such moment—a clash of wills, skill, and determination that left fans on the edge of their seats. Damon Hill, the British racing sensation, was at the peak of his career. He had already secured the 1996 World Championship title, but his hunger for victory remained insatiable. His teammate, Jacques Villeneuve, a Canadian rookie, was making waves with his raw talent and fearlessness. The stage was set for an epic showdown.

Damon Hill Tweets About the Memorable Race

In a twitter (X) exchange with veteran F1 journalist Matt Bishop, Hill said: “Remember that one! Jacques put up a good defence until he slipped up. We’ll never know if I could have passed him safely without that problem. He’d have been quite justified in fighting like a Tom Cat to stop me. Great debut nevertheless.”

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What happened in the race?

As the lights went out, the two Williams cars catapulted forward. Hill and Villeneuve jostled for position, their wheels inches apart. Lap after lap, they pushed the limits, trading places, and thrilling the spectators. The roar of their engines echoed through the trees, drowning out the collective breath-holding of the crowd.

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On the final lap, Hill made his move. He dove into a hairpin, braking late, and snatched the lead from Villeneuve. The Canadian fought back, but Hill defended with steely resolve. As they hurtled toward the checkered flag, it was Hill who emerged victorious, crossing the line just ahead of his teammate.

Villeneuve, though defeated, had announced his arrival in Formula 1 with a bang. The podium belonged to Damon Hill, Villeneuve, and Ferrari’s Eddie Irvine.

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Villeneuve in Formula 1

The rookie that lost the race that day won praises from the whole Formula 1 paddock. It was clear to everyone that he can be a challenger for the World Title in the coming years. And the Canadian continued his strong show and won the Formula 1 world championship the very next year in 1997.

In 1997, war broke for the world title between him and Ferrari’s Michael Schumacher. The season reached its climax at the European Grand Prix. In a controversial collision, Villeneuve emerged victorious, becoming the first Canadian to claim the World Drivers’ Championship.

Read More: All Female F1 Academy – A Pathway for Female Formula 1 Drivers or Another W Series ?

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Abhishek Singh
Abhishek Singhhttps://thesportsroom.org
Abhishek is a veteran journalist who covers the sport of MMA, Muay Thai, Kickboxing, Arm-wrestling, Boxing and Pop Culture. His passion for Combat Sports began when he first saw the highlights of boxing legends like Manny Pacquiao, Arturo Gatti, Miguel Cotto etc.
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