He was Michael Schumacher’s first great opponent. And he was defeated twice in the championship match against Schumi, before becoming Formula One World Champion himself: Damon Hill. He still puzzles to this day why, with top team Williams, he was sometimes simply hopeless against Benetton and Schumacher.
1994 for example, Benetton Williams had been strategically far superior.” And we never fully understood why Benetton could be so clever,”says Hill in the”Autosport”podcast.
He explains:”Ross Brawn and Benetton were really smart in choosing their tank fillings in such a way that they could act flexibly. Ayrton [Senna] and I always assumed that they were on the road with as much fuel as we were.”
“What we never considered: Benetton was always on the road between one and two stops, but apparently never set. Both were possible for them, depending on the course of the race.”
Schumacher profited from this tactic, and Hill and Williams were almost desperate to see Hill holding back.
“It took us forever to figure it out, but we never really understood it. When it came to refuelling, we were simply not as clever as they were.”
Final result: Schumacher won the Formula One title 1994 before Hill and also made his way in the same constellation in the 1995 season. It was only after Schumacher’s change to Ferrari in the 1996’s that the road was clear for Hill: he did it like his father Graham Hill and also became Formula One World Champion.