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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Villeneuve Wins, Takes A 9-Point Lead at Top

COMBINED REPORTS


NUERBURGRING, Germany -- Jacques Villeneuve captured the Luxembourg Grand Prix and seized the lead in the Formula One standings, benefiting from Michael Schumacher's collision with his brother and the blown engines of the two McLaren cars that had led for two-thirds of the race.


Mika Hakkinen of Finland, who had started Sunday from the pole position for the first time in his 94-race career, seemed headed for an easy victory on his 29th birthday. But the engine of his McLaren-Mercedes blew on lap 43, giving Villeneuve the lead.


The Canadian steered the Williams-Renault to his seventh victory of the season and a commanding nine-point lead over Schumacher in the drivers championship, with two races left and a win worth 10 points.


"I couldn't have caught the McLarens, they were flying," Villeneuve said. Villeneuve, slowing down in the last lap, won by nearly 12 seconds over Jean Alesi of France in a Benetton-Renault, while Heinz-Harald Frentzen of Germany in the second Williams-Renault was third for the fourth race in a row.


"I was hearing strange noises in the car, so I didn't want to risk anything," Villeneuve said.


Alesi had battled to the front after starting 10th, while Frentzen had fallen to 13th from third after having ignition problems shortly after the start.


"I was dropping behind, I didn't know why. Then I saw that the ignition switch was off. I managed to get it on again," Frentzen said.


Gerhard Berger of Austria, in the second Benetton-Renault, was fourth, giving the Renault engines the top four places in their last Formula One season.


Hakkinen was leading by nearly 18 seconds when he pulled off the track just one lap after his McLaren teammate David Coulthard had blown his engine at the same spot.


"That's motor sport," Hakkinen said.


Villeneuve's 11th Formula One victory of his career gave him a 77-68 lead in the drivers championship over Michael Schumacher.


Michael Schumacher's 100th Grand Prix ended in disaster when he was pushed off the course by his younger brother, Ralf.


Coming off the starting straight, Michael Schumacher was sandwiched between the two Jordan-Peugeot cars, one driven by his brother and the other by Italian Giancarlo Fisichella.


Going into the curve, Fisichella and Ralf Schumacher touched, sending Ralf Schumacher's car flying over the front right wheel of Michael Schumacher's Ferrari. He returned to the track from the gravel, but went into the pit after the second lap and never came back. The two Jordan cars also were forced to stop.


The ?1.6 billion ($1 billion) flotation of Formula One Holdings, which controls the television rights to the motor racing world championship, could take place as early as next year, The Financial Times reported Monday.


The paper quoted Formula One promoter Bernie Ecclestone as saying he ideally wanted the flotation to go ahead in early 1998, before the start of the next F1 season. (AP, Reuters)