When F1 team-mates fight for the title



Damon Hill and Jacques Villeneuve (1996)

In the absence of a challenge from Michael Schumacher after his move to Ferrari, 1996 was a fight between the Williams team-mates which consisted of the experienced Damon Hill in his last season for the team and new kid on the block Jacques Villeneuve.

Williams had been the class of the field when Hill first joined, with Alain Prost taking the title, but had slipped back against Benetton. Hill knew 1996 presented him with his best chance of a title, and it became apparent as the season went on it was likely to be his last chance as he would not be retained beyond the end of the year. Pole position for reigning IndyCar champion Villeneuve - himself also the son of an F1 legend - at the first race in Australia signalled his threat, but Hill won four of the first five races as he looked set to capitalise on his big chance.

However, with five races to go, Hill failed to outscore Villeneuve in any of the next four grands prix, finishing second to his team-mate in the penultimate race at Estoril. While the gap was nine points - with only ten available for victory - Villeneuve still had a chance at the final round in Japan and took pole position by nearly half a second but eventually retired as Hill won the title in his final race for Williams. Villeneuve’s time would come a year later.