The 37-year-old Berger, who led the field from the pole position, had missed three races due to a sinus operation and the death of his father, but he came back strong today, guiding his Renault to his second German Grand Prix victory in the 45-lap race. Berger, the 1994 champion, announced Thursday he would be leaving Team Benetton after this season.
Crowd favorite Michael Schumacher, the 1995 champion, finished second in his Ferrari but more importantly, gained six points in the race for the Formula One Driving Championship and leads Canada's Jacques Villeneuve by 10 points.
Finland's Mika Hakkinen posted his first podium finish since last year's Australian Grand Prix by finishing third for McLaren. Italy's Jarno Trulli placed fourth for Prost; Ralf Schumacher was fifth for Jordan; and Berger's Benetton teammate, Frenchman Jean Alesi, finished sixth.
Italy's Giancarlo Fisichella of Italy, who Benetton signed this week to replace Berger, was in second place with six laps remaining before suffering a punctured tire in his Jordan-Peugeot.
It was a bad day for the Williams-Renault racing team, as Villeneuve, who won the British Grand Prix two weeks ago, and Germany's Heinz-Harald Frentzen both had to drop out of the race. Williams-Renault was seeking its fifth victory in seven years at this race.
|1||Gerhard Berger (Austria)||Benetton||1:20:59:046|
|2||Michael Schumacher (Germany)||Ferrari||17.527 seconds behind|
|3||Mika Hakkinen (Finland)||McLaren||24.770 seconds|
|4||Jarno Trulli (Italy)||Prost||27.165|
|5||Ralf Schumacher (Germany)||Jordan||29.995|
|6||Jean Alesi (France)||Benetton||34.717|
|7||Shinji Nakano (Japan)||Prost||1:19.722|
|8||Damon Hill (Britain)||Arrows||one lap|
|9||Norberto Fontana (Argentina)||Sauber||one lap|
|10||Jos Verstappen (Netherlands)||Tyrrell||one lap|
|not classified (did not finish)|
|11||Giancarlo Fisichella (Italy)||Jordan||40 laps completed|
|12||Jacques Villeneuve (Canada)||Williams||33|
|13||Rubens Barrichello (Brazil)||Stewart||33|
|14||Mika Salo (Finland)||Tyrrell||33|
|15||Jan Magnussen (Denmark)||Stewart||27|
|16||Ukyo Katayama (Japan)||Minardi||23|
|17||Johnny Herbert (Britain)||Sauber||8|
|18||Pedro Diniz (Brazil)||Arrows||8|
|19||David Coulthard (Britain)||McLaren||1|
|20||Heinz-Harald Frentzen (Germany)||Williams||1|
|21||Eddie Irvine (Britain)||Ferrari||1|
|22||Tarso Marques (Brazil)||Minardi||0|