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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Hill's Streak Snapped by Rookie Villeneuve

NUERBURGRING, Germany -- Jacques Villeneuve is keeping the family tradition alive.


The 25-year-old Canadian, son of the late Gilles Villeneuve, led from start to finish to win Sunday's Grand Prix of Europe, in only his fourth Formula One race.


It came 232 races after his father's last of six Formula One victories, in June 1981 in Spain. Gilles was killed one year later in a crash during the Belgian Grand Prix.


His son, who was the youngest Indy Car champion last year, has quickly established his Formula One credentials.


After two second places in three earlier races this season, Villeneuve fought off a tough challenge by Michael Schumacher, the local hero and two-time world champion, to win by 0.762 seconds over the 67 laps on the 4.556-kilometer circuit.


Schumacher kept the chase in his Ferrari for much of the race, but Villeneuve's Williams-Renault lived up to the task and the young Canadian kept his cool under pressure.


"It's a great feeling to win the first Formula One race, especially here before Michael's fans,'' said Villeneuve. "Michael pushed very hard, he got close but it was fun and that's what racing should be."


The German did everything he could to force his way past but finally had to settle for second position, his best result since joining Ferrari after his two title-winning seasons with Benetton.


Briton David Coulthard, in a McLaren, came home third to boost the fortunes of the Mercedes Benz-powered team.


Coulthard, like Villeneuve, resisted the pressure from the man immediately behind him as Britain's Damon Hill, winner of the first three races of the season, came home fourth just sixth-tenths of a second behind.


Hill in turn was followed over the line by Brazilian Rubens Barrichello driving a Jordan, having to weave wide off and on the track to hold his position.


Briton Martin Brundle, in a Jordan, finished sixth.


Hill, who started from the 14th pole position of his career, suffered a disappointing end to his sequence of victories, which also included the final race of last year.


He was left behind at the start, endured a 20.9-second pit stop when he came in for the first time, and collided with Brazilian Pedro Diniz's Ligier while he was chasing the leaders. But his fight back from 12th position, where he found himself at one stage, earned him three more points. He now leads the championship, after four rounds, with 33 points, 11 more than his Williams teammate Villeneuve, who lies second.


If the result was good for the Williams team, it was almost disastrous for Benetton who had been expected to challenge.


Frenchman Jean Alesi crashed out after the first lap and Austrian Gerhard Berger in the second Benetton finished among the chasing pack.


Schumacher's tremendous race showed that he and Ferrari are in better shape than many critics believe. He was smiling after the race and said he had been thinking of last year's dramatic rain-swept race which he won.


"I kept thinking back to it and hoping there would be a chance to pass him but Jacques drove perfectly and didn't make a mistake anywhere."





(For other results, see Scorecard.)