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SUZUKACIRCUIT MOTORSPORTS LIBRARY

1995 Vol.1A new era for Schumacher. His overwhelming driving in spite of changeable track conditions brought a pole-to- checkers win!

Schumacher won the race by perfect driving

Schumacher won the race by perfect driving

Michael Schumacher (Benetton-Renault), who won his first Drivers’ Championship title in 1994 after having experienced difficulties, displayed confidence in 1995, driving with a regal presence. In the Championship title race, which was a contest between himself and Damon Hill (Williams-Renault) as it had been the previous year, Schumacher held Hill off to clinch the title at the Pacific Grand Prix, the 15 th round of the Championship (TI Circuit Aida). With two rounds left including the Japanese Grand Prix at Suzuka, 16 th round of the Championship, had become the race where the Benetton team would try to win their first Constructors’ title. Although Schumacher got the Drivers’ title the previous year, the Constructors’ title went to the Williams team. Now the Benetton team was united to win this coveted title.

The grandstand on race day

The grandstand on race day

Schumacher (left) exchanges information with his team manager

Schumacher (left) exchanges information with his team manager

The starting grid before the start of the race

The starting grid before the start of the race

Michael Schumacher, exerting all his powers at Suzuka for his team, took pole position by a large margin of 0.8 seconds over the second qualifier, Jean Alesi (Ferrari). Schumacher made a good start in the race, which was held under wet conditions. With this, he was leading the pack.

The start of the race. Schumacher (front right) made a good start from Poleposition

The start of the race. Schumacher (front right) made a good start from Pole position

Schumacher, running on difficult track conditions, which were gradually getting dry

Schumacher, running on difficult track conditions, which were gradually getting dry

Schumacher was the first to take the checkered flag!

Schumacher was the first to take the checkered flag!

Alesi was closing in from behind but had to retire from the race due to problems with his car. Drivers from the Williams camp were being tossed about by the changeable track conditions, which were gradually getting dry, and ran off the track several times before eventually retiring from the race. At this point, the Benetton team clinched their coveted first Constructors’ Championship title together with the Drivers’ title. After that, the race was still eventful and cars were continuously spinning or going off the track; but not Schumacher. He continued to drive mistake-free regardless of the changeable track conditions to build up a big lead over the pack. He took the checkered flag for his ninth win of the year. At Suzuka, Michael Schumacher made another display of his strength, which had dominated the 1995 season. His perfect race is still talked about today.

1995 Vol.2Jean Alesi battled back ferociously, moving up to second place after a penalty!

Alesi, running through the chicane

Alesi, running through the chicane

The 1995 season saw the Benetton and Williams teams with Renault engines dominate the qualifying sessions. Jean Alesi (Ferrari) clocked a superb lap time during the qualifying sessions in the Japanese Grand Prix, qualifying in second place behind Michael Schumacher (Benetton-Renault). Being a popular driver in Japan, the circuit was thrilled with Alesi’s fine performance.

Alesi waits for his turn, watching monitors in his pit during the qualifying sessions

Alesi waits for his turn, watching monitors in his pit during the qualifying sessions

Alesi qualified in second place

Alesi qualified in second place

In the race, Alesi made a good start to chase front-running Schumacher. But the stewards judged that Alesi had jumped the start. His car moved forward before the green light went on. Having taken a 10-second stop-and- go penalty, Alesi rejoined the race almost in last place. He then acted with calculated daring by changing to dry-condition tires earlier than anybody. The track surface was still damp, which meant that cars could easily slip if they ran even slightly out of the racing line. Alesi was no exception. He ran off the track once. Even so, the French driver was recording the fastest lap times. When top runners had completed their pit stops to change to dry tires, Alesi was closing on them. He boldly overtook Damon Hill (Williams-Renault) at the chicane on lap 10 to move up to second place. Running in front of him was only Schumacher. Jean Alesi was lapping nearly one second per lap quicker than the German driver, so the gap between two cars closed rapidly.

Alesi, looking nervous before the start of the race

Alesi, looking nervous before the start of the race

Alesi chasing Schumacher (in front)

Alesi chasing Schumacher (in front)

Just as Alesi was drawing all the attention around the circuit, his Ferrari suffered problems. On lap 25, Alesi’s Ferrari slowed down and came to a stopped at trackside. The spectators watched him silently. But when he waved to the fans after having left the car, a big applause followed. Jean Alesi ran faster than anybody in the difficult track conditions to close on the champion Schumacher. This race is still talked about today.

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