Jacques Villeneuve won his fourth race of the season, closing within four points of Formula One leader Michael Schumacher with a victory Sunday in the British Grand Prix at Silverstone, England.
The victory was nearly handed to Villeneuve - who also won here last year for Williams-Renault - despite a near-disastrous pit stop early in the race.
Villeneuve took the lead when Schumacher’s Ferrari went out on the 38th of 59 laps with a burnt left-rear wheel bearing. Mika Hakkinen took the lead after Villeneuve made a pit stop, but went out on the 53rd lap with a blown engine.
It was the 100th Formula One win for Williams, and gave Villeneuve 43 points to 47 for Schumacher with nine of 17 races completed.
Schumacher was philosophical.
“What happened was a shame,” the German said. “Technical problems happen, and to the other teams as well. That is racing.”
Villeneuve averaged 128.445 mph, winning in 1 hour, 28 minutes, 1.65 seconds. Finishing second - 10 seconds behind - was the Benetton-Renault of Frenchman Jean Alesi, followed by Austrian teammate Alexander Wurz.
Jiffy Lube 300
Jeff Burton barely avoided a collision with runner-up Dale Earnhardt in a late pit stop and won the Jiffy Lube 300 at New Hampshire International Speedway in Loudon, N.H.
Burton held a healthy lead when he and other cars pulled into the pits for a final splash of gas on the 285th lap, but as he pulled out of his stall, Earnhardt was pulling in and had to swerve to avoid a collision.
Rusty Wallace finished third, Steve Grissom fourth and Mark Martin fifth.
Spokane’s Chad Little wound up 30th and earned $22,225.
Grand Prix of Cleveland
Alex Zanardi, buried by a pair of mistakes and cut off from his crew by a dead radio, wouldn’t stay down in the Medic Drug Grand Prix of Cleveland.
Zanardi charged back from 22nd in the 28-car field to win the race, turning the tables on Gil de Ferran in a virtual replay of last year’s finish.
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