1997 Japanese Grand Prix (officially known as the
XXIII Fuji Television Japanese Grand Prix) was a
Formula One motor race held on October
12, 1997 at the Suzuka
the 16th and penultimate race of the 1997 Formula One season
. The race,
contested over 53 laps, was won by Michael Schumacher
for the Ferrari
team after starting from second
finished second in a Williams
, and Eddie
third in the other Ferrari. . Irvine led much of the
race before moving over to assist Schumacher's championship battle
by blocking Drivers'
Villeneuve started on pole position
a Williams car. Before the race, it emerged that Villeneuve had
been put to the back of the grid, for having ignored waved yellow flags
consecutive laps during a practice session for the race. Williams
appealed and Villeneuve started from the pole. He drove a
conservative race to finish 5th, gaining two points. After the
race, Villeneuve was disqualified
, meaning he
lost the two points he originally earned. Schumacher's win put him
in front of Villeneuve in the championship on 78 points, with
Villeneuve on 77 points. However, as a result of Frentzen finishing
second, Williams clinched the Constructors'
as Ferrari could not pass their points total with
only one race remaining.
Practice and qualifying
For each race in the 1997
Formula One season
there were four practice sessions; two
sessions on Friday and two sessions on Saturday morning. The
practice sessions on Friday lasted an hour and the practice
sessions on Saturday lasted 45 minutes.
In the first practice session on Saturday morning, an incident
occurred 30 minutes into the session. Jos
in a Tyrrell
pulled over to the side of the track with a fuel pick-up problem.
The track marshals
as a result
waved yellow flags
meaning that drivers should slow down at that part of the track.
Despite the yellow flags, nine drivers, including Michael Schumacher
and Jacques Villeneuve
, never slowed down.
Villeneuve in the process, set his fastest time of the session on
Villeneuve set pole position
time of 1:36.071, half a tenth faster than Schumacher, who was
second in the Ferrari setting a time of 1:36.133. Schumacher's
team-mate, Eddie Irvine
third half a second behind Villeneuve. McLaren driver
Mika Häkkinen rounded out the top
four, only three thousands of a second behind Irvine.
drivers were fifth and
seventh; Gerhard Berger
. Heinz-Harald Frentzen
in a Williams
split the two in sixth, six tenths behind Villeneuve.
Standings after the race
Note, only the top five positions are included for both sets of
- Drivers' Championship standings
- Constructors' Championship standings