On this day in 1994 Damon Hill beat Michael Schumacher on wet Suzuka circuit to take the 1994 F1 championship battle to the wire with only one point advantage for Schumacher before the final race in Australia.
Japanese GP in 1994 was the 15th and penultimate race of the championship and only title contenders were Michael Schumacher in Benetton and Damon Hill in the Williams Renault. Michael led the championship with 86 points, while Damon was second with five points less. Benetton had two points more than Williams.
The race started in heavy rain and several cars flew off the track due to aquaplaning (Herbert, Lagorce, JJ Lehto, both Minardis and all three Japanese drivers).
In the lap 13 Gianni Morbidelli smashed his Footwork in the first sector Esses and shortly after (lap 15) Martin Brundle crashed in the same place, ricocheted off the barrier, hit marshal near the track and broke his leg. The race was immediately stopped and resumed when rain intensity dropped.
Schumacher led at the moment of race stoppage with an advantage of 6.8 seconds, but Hill won the second part of the race by 10.1 seconds so he was declared the winner with an advantage of 3.3 seconds. It was one of the most impressive races in Hill’s career.
That was the last time the time correction was used in this way in Formula 1.
After his impressive victory at wet Suzuka, Hill reduced Schumacher’s advantage to just one point before the title deciding race in Australia.
1994 Japanese GP, Suzuka, 6th November
|Win||0||Damon Hill||Williams Renault||1:55:53.532||151.796 km/h|
|Pole position||5||M.Schumacher||Benetton Ford||1:37.209||217.165 km/h|
|Fastest lap||0||Damon Hill||Williams Renault||1:56.597||181.054 km/h|
|9||20||Érik Comas||Larrousse/Ford||49||1:57:07.255||1 lap|
|10||11||Mika Salo||Lotus/Mugen-Honda||49||1:57:38.177||1 lap|
|11||26||Olivier Panis||Ligier/Renault||49||1:57:41.269||1 lap|
|12||31||David Brabham||Simtek/Ford||48||1:57:10.846||2 laps|
|29||J J Lehto||Sauber/Mercedes||0||–||Engine|