The XIX Gran Premio Marlboro de la Republica Argentina, otherwise known as the 1996 Argentine Grand Prix, was the third round of the 1996 FIA Formula One World Championship, staged at the Autódromo Juan y Oscar Gálvez in Buenos Aires, Argentina, on the 7 April 1996. The race would see Damon Hill secure his third straight victory of the campaign, surviving a mid-race safety car caused by two incidents involving Pedro Diniz.
The build-up to the weekend would be dominated by complaints about the track surface, which was found to be extremely bumpy. As a result the organisers opted to simply grind away the worst limps, only to create a washboard like surface that proved even more troublesome for the drivers during practice.
Regardless, it was Hill who swept to pole position during qualifying, threading his way around the bumps the quickest to beat Michael Schumacher by two tenths. Hill's Williams-Renault teammate Jacques Villeneuve was next ahead of Jean Alesi, with two seconds covering the top half of the field.
Raceday dawned bright and warm, with Hill acing the start to claim an early lead, with Schumacher stalking him in second. Villeneuve gave chase in third ahead of the Benetton-Renaults, with the rest of the field getting away largely in grid order.
Hill and Schumacher would ease clear during the early stages, with the Ferrari unable to seriously threaten the Williams. Indeed, once the pair were clear of the rest Hill began pushing on, and duly opened out a six second lead in the space of four laps.
The leaders all made their stops in the same four lap window, with Hill rejoining with a four second lead over Schumacher, with Gerhard Berger, having jumped Villeneuve and Alesi at the stops. However, before Schumacher could attack or Hill pull away the race would be interrupted by a rare appearance for the safety car.
The cause would be Diniz, who managed to collide with Luca Badoer and send the Italian spiralling into the air. Badoer's car was left upside down at the side of the track, the Italian having to pull himself out of the wreckage, while Diniz carried on, only for his car to catch fire after a safety valve in the fuel tank failed.
At the restart Hill would get the jump on Schumacher and re-establish a small lead, while Martin Brundle and Tarso Marques collided. Debris from that incident was then flicked up by Hill on the following lap, which duly smashed into the rear wing of Schumacher's car.
Although the German seemed to have got away with it the Ferrari's rear wing would slowly begin to fall apart, ultimately causing him to retire twelve laps after the impact. That promoted Berger into second ahead of Villeneuve, only for a suspension failure to end his hopes.
With that the race was over, barring a ferocious duel for fifth between Eddie Irvine and Jos Verstappen on the final lap. That duly ended with the #2 Ferrari ahead of the #17 Footwork-Hart, with those two trailing Rubens Barrichello in fourth by ten seconds.
Out front, meanwhile, Hill would cruise across the line with a twelve second lead over Villeneuve, scoring his third win of the season. Alesi, meanwhile, would claim third having run out of time to catch the Canadian late on, with ten drivers making it to the finish.
Two races down and Damon Hill had continued his perfect start to the season, leaving Brazil with twenty points to his name and a handsome fourteen point lead. Jacques Villeneuve and Jean Alesi were his closest challengers, level on six points, while Mika Häkkinen was a point further back in fourth. Defending World Champion Michael Schumacher then completed the top five ahead of Eddie Irvine, with nine drivers on the board.
In the Constructors Championship Williams-Renault already had a daunting lead, leaving Brazil with seventeen points in hand. Indeed, that meant that Benetton-Renault, the team in second, already had to claim a one-two finish without Williams scoring just to get back on terms, and hence affirmed Williams' position as favourites. Ferrari, meanwhile, were sat in third ahead of McLaren-Mercedes, with Tyrrell-Yamaha and Ligier-Mugen-Honda completing the score sheet.
The full entry list for the 1996 Argentine Grand Prix is outlined below:
The full qualifying results for the 1996 Argentine Grand Prix are outlined below:
|1||5||Damon Hill||Williams-Renault||1:30.346||—||169.708 km/h|
|2||1||Michael Schumacher||Ferrari||1:30.598||+0.252s||169.236 km/h|
|3||6||Jacques Villeneuve||Williams-Renault||1:30.907||+0.561s||168.660 km/h|
|4||3||Jean Alesi||Benetton-Renault||1:31.038||+0.692s||168.418 km/h|
|5||4||Gerhard Berger||Benetton-Renault||1:31.262||+0.916s||168.004 km/h|
|6||11||Rubens Barrichello||Jordan-Peugeot||1:31.404||+1.058s||167.743 km/h|
|7||17||Jos Verstappen||Footwork-Hart||1:31.615||+1.269s||167.357 km/h|
|8||7||Mika Häkkinen||McLaren-Mercedes||1:31.801||+1.455s||167.018 km/h|
|9||8||David Coulthard||McLaren-Mercedes||1:32.001||+1.655s||166.655 km/h|
|10||2||Eddie Irvine||Ferrari||1:32.058||+1.712s||166.552 km/h|
|11||15||Heinz-Harald Frentzen||Sauber-Ford Cosworth||1:32.130||+1.784s||166.421 km/h|
|12||9||Olivier Panis||Ligier-Mugen-Honda||1:32.177||+1.831s||166.336 km/h|
|13||18||Ukyo Katayama||Tyrrell-Yamaha||1:32.407||+2.061s||165.922 km/h|
|14||21||Tarso Marques||Minardi-Ford Cosworth||1:32.502||+2.156s||165.752 km/h|
|15||12||Martin Brundle||Jordan-Peugeot||1:32.696||+2.350s||165.405 km/h|
|16||19||Mika Salo||Tyrrell-Yamaha||1:32.903||+2.557s||165.037 km/h|
|17||14||Johnny Herbert||Sauber-Ford Cosworth||1:33.256||+2.910s||164.412 km/h|
|18||10||Pedro Diniz||Ligier-Mugen-Honda||1:33.424||+3.078s||164.116 km/h|
|19||20||Pedro Lamy||Minardi-Ford Cosworth||1:33.727||+3.381s||163.586 km/h|
|20||16||Ricardo Rosset||Footwork-Hart||1:33.752||+3.406s||163.542 km/h|
|21||22||Luca Badoer||Forti-Ford Cosworth||1:34.830||+4.484s||161.683 km/h|
|22||23||Andrea Montermini||Forti-Ford Cosworth||1:35.651||+5.305s||160.295 km/h|
|107% Time: 1:36.670|
- T Indicates a driver used their test/spare car to set their best time in that session.
- Bold indicates a driver's best/qualifying time.
The full results for the 1996 Argentine Grand Prix are outlined below:
- T Indicates a driver used their test/spare car.
- Ferrari set a new record for most individual entries as a constructor - 1,334.
- 200th entry for a Yamaha engined car.
- Pedro Diniz entered his twentieth race.
- Damon Hill claimed his sixteenth victory.
- Williams secured their 86th win as a constructor.
- Twentieth podium finish for Jean Alesi.
Victory for Damon Hill saw the British racer continue his dominant start to the season, leaving Argentina with a maximum score of 30 points. Jacques Villeneuve remained the closest thing to a challenger to the Brit, albeit already eighteen points behind after three races. Jean Alesi, meanwhile, would end the weekend in third ahead of Eddie Irvine, with Mika Häkkinen completing the top five.
In the Constructors Championship it was Williams-Renault who had once again proved to be the class of the field, leaving Argentina with 42 points to their name. Benetton-Renault were now their closest challengers, 29 points behind, with Ferrari three points further back in third. McLaren-Mercedes were next ahead of Jordan-Peugeot, with eight constructors on the board after three rounds.
Only point scoring drivers and constructors are shown.
Images and Videos:
- ↑ 1.00 1.01 1.02 1.03 1.04 1.05 1.06 1.07 1.08 1.09 1.10 1.11 1.12 1.13 1.14 1.15 1.16 1.17 1.18 1.19 1.20 1.21 'Argentine GP, 1996', grandprix.com, (Inside F1 Inc., 2014), https://www.grandprix.com/gpe/rr584.html, (Accessed 13/08/2019)
- ↑ 'Argentina 1996: Entrants', statsf1.com, (Stats F1, 2015), https://www.statsf1.com/en/1996/argentine/engages.aspx, (Accessed 13/08/2019)
- ↑ 3.0 3.1 'Argentina 1996: Qualifications', statsf1.com, (Stats F1, 2014), https://www.statsf1.com/en/1996/argentine/qualification.aspx, (Accessed 13/08/2019)
- ↑ 'Gran Premio Marlboro de Argentina - QUALIFYING', formula1.com, (Formula One World Championship Ltd., 2019), https://www.formula1.com/en/results.html/1996/races/640/argentina/qualifying-0.html, (Accessed 13/08/2019)
- ↑ 'Argentina 1996: Result', statsf1.com, (Stats F1, 2016), https://www.statsf1.com/en/1996/argentine/classement.aspx, (Accessed 13/08/2019)
- ↑ 6.0 6.1 6.2 '1996 Argentine GP', chicanef1.com, (Chicane F1, 2014), http://www.chicanef1.com/racetit.pl?year=1996&gp=Argentine%20GP&r=1, (Accessed 13/08/2019)
- ↑ 7.0 7.1 7.2 7.3 '3. Argentina 1996', statsf1.com, (Stats F1, 2014), https://www.statsf1.com/en/1996/argentine.aspx, (Accessed 13/08/2019)
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