Villeneuve closes the gap to four points
Jacques Villeneuve's win - Williams' sixth in the last seven British Grands Prix - moved him to within four points of Michael Schumacher. "It's a great result for us. I think we needed it," said the Canadian. "But I was worried after that pit-stop because I had lost so much time. After that I just had to push, push and push all the time. I was lucky the tyres were very good for me and I could push so hard. It was great to see Schumacher stop!"
Michael Schumacher failed to break his British Grand Prix duck when he was forced to retire on lap 37. The championship leader had led for 16 laps after Jacques Villeneuve suffered a disastrous pit stop and the German ace built up a lead of about 35 seconds But smoke was seen pouring from his Ferrari and he was quickly forced out with a wheel bearing failure. Team-mate Eddie Irvine moved into second position but he also pulled out on lap 47 with a similar problem. Damon Hill claimed the best ever sixth position of his career as he won his first championship point of the season. The world champion has endured a stormy week with his Arrows team management over his performance this year. But Hill delighted the Silverstone crowd by moving up to sixth place on the penultimate lap of the race. He remained unlapped throughout the race and moved steadily up from 12th as those ahead of him suffered from misfortune.
Britain's Damon Hill said his sixth position was "like a victory". "I feel like I've won the race," said the Arrows driver. "It's only a point but it's a good result for me. I got up to seventh place but I thought sixth place was beyond me as Nakano was a long way ahead of me. But when he went off I seized my chance and held on. I got excited and started waving at the crowd. I wanted to give them something special for their support."
Finland's Mika Hakkinen came close to his first ever Grand Prix victory before retiring six laps from the end. The McLaren driver took the lead soon after Michael Schumacher's retirement - with rookie Alexander Wurz enjoying a few moments in the limelight. Hakkinen was being pushed to the limit by Jacques Villeneuve but appeared to be holding his own against the Canadian. But his Mercedes engine blew on lap 53 - as did his chances of a first ever victory in 88 attempts.