Monza, home of the
Italian Grand Prix,
is the most historic and charismatic circuit of them all. Fittingly, it has held many dramatic races, and 1995 was certainly one of them.
The season's title fight was effectively a three-horse fight between Michael Schumacher's Benetton and the Williams drivers Damon Hill and David Coulthard. And unfortunately for Williams, Schumacher was at his brilliant best.
Italian Grand Prix 1995
- Race 12 of 1995 season
- 53 laps
- Pole: David Coulthard (Williams)
- Winner: Johnny Herbert (Benetton)
By the time of Monza, he was already well on his way to a second consecutive world title and the rivalry between himself and Hill was bubbling furiously - exacerbated by Hill's frustration at Schumacher generally getting the better of him.
In the cauldron-like atmosphere of Monza, that frustration would boil over.
Coulthard was on pole position, only to embarrassingly spin on the formation lap. Luckily for him, a five-car pile-up caused a re-start and he was handed a second chance.
This time, he got the car off the line and began building a commanding lead - only to spin off again.
That sent the famous tifosi into paroxysms of joy - the Ferrari of Gerhard Berger was now in the lead, ahead of Schumacher's Benetton and Hill's Williams.
Then, on lap 24, as they were lapping the Footwork of Taki Inoue, Hill and Schumacher collided, the Englishman running into the back of Schumacher.
They had had a similar accident four races previously in Silverstone. Schumacher was furious, marching over to the Williams to remonstrate with Hill before being was pulled away by the marshals.
Classic F1 - Italian Grand Prix 1995
As a result Alesi inherited second position and it looked all set for a glorious Ferrari one-two - the first at Monza since 1988 - with Johnny Herbert's Benetton up to a fine third from eighth on the grid.
But wait! Incredible. Alesi's car-mounted TV camera broke away and hit Berger's car, breaking the front suspension. Out goes Gerhard!
And what's this? Alesi into the pits on fire. Out he goes too.
It's a black day for Ferrari but a golden day for Benetton, with Herbert's second win from five races - he had also been the beneficiary when Schumacher and Hill collided at Silverstone.
As I may have said once or twice, anything can happen in Formula 1, and it usually does.