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Villeneuve captures Formula 1

Roncalli Central High
Port Saunders, Newfoundland

By Trevor G. (Grade 12)

On Sunday, October 26th, 1997, Jacques Villeneuve and Michael Schumacher went into the final race of the season at the British Grande Prix. Just one point separated the two for the World Championship of the F-1 series.

On lap 48 of 63, with Schumacher in the lead, Villeneuve pulled to the inside to take the lead but Schumacher would have nothing of it. Schumacher bumped Villeneuve, many speculating that he tried to knock him out of the race, but Schumacher spun out into the gravel and out of the race. Villeneuve was not disturbed.

Jacques Villeneuve would have to finish at least third to win the driver's title and was in the lead with just 15 laps remaining. Villeneuve slowed in the last lap and let Mika Hakkinen pass because of an agreement their racing teams made before the race. With the resulting third place finish, Villeneuve won the World Championship.

Villeneuve, in just his second season on the F-1 tour, becomes the first Canadian to win the F-1 World Championship.

There was great controversy over Michael Schumacher taking a cheap shot at Jacques Villeneuve. In a subsequent meeting with the board of directors, Schumacher would not apologize for his actions at the race. People from Italy were saying, "Villeneuve was the real champion." Many were cheering for Villeneuve after the incident.

This was not the first time that the World Championship had come down to the last race of the season for Schumacher. Just a year ago the battle was between himself and Damon Hill, who was Villeneuve's partner last year, with Schumacher finishing second then as well.

Villeneuve drives for the Rothmans William's Renault racing team, one of the best in the world today, and now for the second year in a row, William's Renault has the top driver on the F-1 circuit.

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