Gerhard Berger secured his tenth and final Formula One victory from pole position on this day in 1997 and set the fastest lap while Jarno Trulli took his first F1 points.
German GP was 10th out of 17 championship race with Michael Schumacher leading with four points more than Villeneuve and Benetton was very competitive on the super-fast Hockenheim with Renault’s V10 engine.
After missing three races due to sinus surgery, Berger returned to his car after being replaced by Alexander Wurz, and Benetton confirmed four days before the 1st free practice that Giancarlo Fisichella will drive for them in 1998.
Berger took 12th and last pole position in his F1 career (1:41.873) with a 0.023 second lead over Fisichella in the Jordan Peugeot (also with a V10 engine; only the Minardi and Tyrrell used V8 engines) with Hakkinen and Schumacher third and fourth respectively.
It was first front row start for Fisichella and he led the race for the first time (seven laps in the lead, Berger led remaining 38 laps).
Berger kept the lead at the start, with Fisichella pressuring him until his tyre blew on the remains of Jan Magnussen’s Ford Zetec-R engine. Although Magnussen’s retirement initially gave him the lead, as smoke from the engine slowed Berger down before entering boxing, Fisichella only led two laps before Berger overtook him.
Michael Schumacher finished second for Ferrari with Mika Hakkinen third in McLaren Mercedes. Trulli scored his first career points in fourth place, Ralf Schumacher was fifth in second Jordan and Jean Alesi was sixth in second Benetton.
“A fantastic win for me and the team, I really felt like I had some superpowers this weekend because even though I’m not in the best shape I could concentrate the whole race,” said 38-year-old Berger.
“The team did a great job and our strategy was perfect. I hit the trouble shortly after losing four or five seconds when the engine in front of me failed. I stopped almost completely and really thought I had lost the race.”
“It was surprising that I continued in the lead! I think we have proven we have a great package and can be competitive again for the rest of the season.”
“The whole weekend was very emotional for me and the last lap was one I will always remember.”
Schumacher increased his lead over Villeneuve to 10 points in the second place with Ferrari leading with nine points more than Williams, seven races before the end.