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The 1995 F1 Season
The 1994 season witnessed Michael Schumacher becoming the youngest world champion, and his juggernaut continued into the 1995 season as well. By now, the Williams were back to the top technologically, and it was only Michael’s Benetton holding the Williams back.
The Ferrari’s competitiveness had improved a lot and the 1995 season appeared strong. They were still a pace or two behind the Benettons and Williams. Jean Alesi, particularly, was having a decent season with two podium finishes already. The Canadian GP was going to be special for Alesi, even before the teams arrived in Canada. Why? Because the GP would be on Alesi's birthday.
Could it be special for him in terms of a victory as well?
Let’s find out.
The 1995 Canadian GP Qualifying
The qualifying session was on expected lines with the front row being occupied by Schumacher in the Benetton and Damon Hill in the Williams. The Ferraris took the fourth and fifth spot while the other Benetton of Johnny Herbert was sixth. Gerhard Berger qualified ahead of teammate Jean Alesi in the Ferrari.
The race was set for a Schumacher or a Hill victory, as had been the case all through the 1994 season and the early 1995 season. But Alesi was already proving to be aggressive in the last few races.
A start from the fifth position did not seem promising, but could Alesi still do it?
We had to wait for the race day to know the answer.
The race day was also Jean Alesi's birthday. A win here could be the icing on the cake. Though the track was dominated by faster cars, he had a long shot starting from the fifth position, and that too in a Ferrari. He had to start as strong as possible.
At the start of the race, Schumacher blasted ahead with Hill in a close second. Alesi was aggressive and took two positions to move into third. Only the Williams and the lone Benetton of Schumacher remained ahead. Alesi kept on with the dynamic drive and hoped for the best.
Here is the race summary:
Note: Heavy music. Can mute and watch.
Fortune favoured the brave Alesi. He overtook Coulthard in third place and was right behind Hill. But soon Hill had an engine failure thus promoting Alesi. Schumacher was still a fair distance ahead. As if on cue, Schumacher’s car was stuck in third gear and hence he had to come in to change the steering to get the car working again.
That was the opportunity that Alesi was waiting for. He grabbed the place with both hands and pressed ahead without a drop in verve. That position was hardly going to change as the second-placed Barrichello was nearly 25 seconds adrift.
Alesi then took the chequered flag to register the first victory of his F1 career. Though, the day was not over yet, at least not for Schumacher and Alesi.
On the victory lap, Barrichello caught up with a slowing down Alesi. The other cars assumed that Alesi was slowing down to acknowledge the crowd and hence went past. But actually, Alesi’s vehicle had run out of fuel. He got out of the car, just in time for Schumacher to arrive. Schumacher then offered Alesi a ride in his car, which was one of the iconic moments of F1.
Back to the Pits
The 1995 Canadian GP was a memorable one in that none of the leading cars could finish ahead of the determined Jean Alesi. He would go on to finish the season in fourth place. The win at Canada would be the only victory in Alesi’s career.
A great win for one of the most talented racers in a piece of lacking machinery!
© 2020 S K