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Extra info for Damon Hil On Top of the World
Both Prost and Hill were struggling. Handicapped by some poorly judged rear wing adjustments made at their first stops, they were also beset by problems when it came to matching the engine revs correctly as the semi-automatic gearboxes changed down for the corners. Hill finished the day a strong second ahead of Prost, but Frank Williams was critical of the Frenchman. ‘It is obvious that Alain made a very clever tactical (first) change onto dry tyres, but threw it away with a vastly premature switch back to wets, and that was the rest of the race.
There was nothing else that needed to be said. Damon took a third place in the Canadian Grand Prix at Montreal, then followed Prost dutifully home to second place in the French Grand Prix at Magny-Cours. Again the two Williams-Renaults were the class of the field in Alain’s home race, so there was no point in their racing each other. However, Damon achieved another significant milestone in France by qualifying on pole position for the first time in his career. By now he admitted he was learning important lessons from the great French champion, saying that the experience of operating as his team-mate had certainly been illuminating.
Alain qualified on pole, but Damon beat him to the draw at the somewhat chaotic start, helped by an apparent wiring fault in the control mechanism of the starting lights which caused them to change from red to flashing orange, rather than the intended green. Prost eventually got ahead, but Damon counter-attacked and was looking for a way past when his Renault V10 suffered a rare piston failure and he coasted into the pits with 40 of the race’s 65 laps complete. ‘A very disappointing end to the day,’ he said.