Damon Hill won his first race of the season for Williams in Australia where Williams was dominant on the new street track in Melbourne while his team-mate and debutant Jacques Villeneuve wrote F1 history after he secured pole position in the first ever F1 appearance.

The 1995 Champ Car series winner and the 1995 Indy 500 winner Jacques Villeneuve, 24, had his Formula 1 debut with Williams team which in 1994 and 1995 was beaten by Benetton headed by Michael Schumacher and the son of legendary Gilles impressed already in his first race, winning pole position on the new track in Albert Park.

Williams dominated the qualifying, leaving Ferrari drivers Irvine and Schumacher more than half a second behind, and they were no less dominant in the race as they ended up in the first two positions while third placed Irvine was for more than a minute behind them.

Villeneuve led 50 laps, but due to the oil leak, he had to slow down and was overtaken by his team-mate Hill.

Damon Hill Williams FW18 Australian GP F1 1996 win finish line Photo Williams

In this race, a starting procedure with only red lights is introduced and is used in Formula 1 since then. The new system has been introduced in with the five red lights turn on every second, and after the fifth light is on, all the lights are simultaneously turned off after a certain period of time. Before that, green lights would appear after the red lights.

Also, there was only one qualifying session on Saturday and the 107% rule saying that a driver who does not set his time within 107% of the fastest time does not have the right to compete in the race.

Interestingly, the last race in 1995 was also held in Australia (Adelaide) and was also won by Damon Hill in Williams.

STARTING GRID

1 6 J.Villeneuve Williams/Renault 1:32.371
2 5 Damon Hill Williams/Renault 1:32.509 0.138
3 2 Eddie Irvine Ferrari 1:32.889 0.518
4 1 M.Schumacher Ferrari 1:33.125 0.754
5 7 Mika Häkkinen McLaren/Mercedes 1:34.054 1.683
6 3 Jean Alesi Benetton/Renault 1:34.257 1.886
7 4 Gerhard Berger Benetton/Renault 1:34.344 1.973
8 11 R.Barrichello Jordan/Peugeot 1:34.474 2.103
9 15 H-H.Frentzen Sauber/Ford 1:34.494 2.123
10 19 Mika Salo Tyrrell/Yamaha 1:34.832 2.461
11 9 Olivier Panis Ligier/Mugen-Honda 1:35.330 2.959
12 17 Jos Verstappen Footwork/Hart 1:35.338 2.967
13 8 David Coulthard McLaren/Mercedes 1:35.351 2.980
14 14 Johnny Herbert Sauber/Ford 1:35.453 3.082
15 18 Ukyo Katayama Tyrrell/Yamaha 1:35.715 3.344
16 21 G.Fisichella Minardi/Ford 1:35.898 3.527
17 20 Pedro Lamy Minardi/Ford 1:36.109 3.738
18 16 Ricardo Rosset Footwork/Hart 1:36.198 3.827
19 12 Martin Brundle Jordan/Peugeot 1:36.286 3.915
20 10 Pedro Diniz Ligier/Mugen-Honda 1:36.298 3.927

RACE RESULTS

1 5 Damon Hill Williams/Renault 58 1:32:50.491
2 6 J.Villeneuve Williams/Renault 58 1:33:28.511 38.020
3 2 Eddie Irvine Ferrari 58 1:33:53.062 1:02.571
4 4 Gerhard Berger Benetton/Renault 58 1:34:07.528 1:17.037
5 7 Mika Häkkinen McLaren/Mercedes 58 1:34:25.562 1:35.071
6 19 Mika Salo Tyrrell/Yamaha 57 1:33:03.181 1 lap
7 9 Olivier Panis Ligier/Mugen-Honda 57 1:33:14.468 1 lap
8 15 H-H.Frentzen Sauber/Ford 57 1:33:29.436 1 lap
9 16 Ricardo Rosset Footwork/Hart 56 1:33:21.629 2 laps
10 10 Pedro Diniz Ligier/Mugen-Honda 56 1:33:25.689 2 laps
11 18 Ukyo Katayama Tyrrell/Yamaha 55 1:32:51.827 3 laps
(12) 20 Pedro Lamy Minardi/Ford 42 1:15:38.628 Seatbelt
(9) 1 M.Schumacher Ferrari 32 53:01.667 Brakes
(13) 21 G.Fisichella Minardi/Ford 32 54:09.621 Clutch
(7) 11 R.Barrichello Jordan/Peugeot 29 47:25.412 Engine
(12) 8 David Coulthard McLaren/Mercedes 24 39:55.145 Throttle
(16) 17 Jos Verstappen Footwork/Hart 15 25:10.462 Engine
(5) 3 Jean Alesi Benetton/Renault 9 14:36.293 Collision
(18) 12 Martin Brundle Jordan/Peugeot 1 1:56.481 Spun off
14 Johnny Herbert Sauber/Ford 0 Didn’t start

Fastest lap: Jacques Villeneuve – 1:33.421 (lap 27)

Damon Hill and Jacques Villeneuve Williams FW18 Eddie Irvine Ferrari Australian GP F1 1996 podium Photo Williams

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