The year started out with Hill looking the obvious favourite and Berger his closest challenger - there was really only other car likely to near them and that was the Ligier seat which was being shared by Brundle and Suzuki - everyone else really was a tail-ender. Nigel Mansell was supposed to be making a ful-time comeback for McLaren but the less said about that the better - after scoring a 3rd at Imola, he retired a supposedly healthy car in Spain and he was out of F1, having had a very successful Veterans' campaign. He was replaced by Mark Blundell who was too young to qualify for this so that was one less car.
The first 5 races went true to form, Hill winning 3 and Berger 2, but after Monaco Berger led Hill 38-36 by dint of having 5 finishes.
The first unlikely winner would come in Canada. Berger was leading until he had refuelling problems, this dropped him behind both Hill and Brundle. Hill's car then broke down so Brundle was battling Berger for the race win; they collided in the latter stages but had completed enough laps to be classified, so anyone eligible still running was there to pick up the pieces - and that someone was.................TAKI INOUE in the Footwork, who won the race as he was the only other runner left - though Brundle did classify 2nd and Berger 3rd.
After Hill won the class in France which put him and Berger level again (Brundle doing his countryman a favour by finishing in front of Berger), there was another upset at Silverstone. Berger and Brunlde went out early, Hill crashed out in the later stages in a desperate bid to get the overall race win, so the leading runner was Pierluigi Martini in the Minardi, who scored an emotional first win after just missing out in 1994 - particularly poignant as he was about to lose his seat to the younger Pedro Lamy - but this was a great send-off. Also Bertrand Gachot in the Pacific was 2nd!!!
Germany went to Berger, then Hungary and Belgium to Hill, and with Berger retiring at Spa, Hill finally took the championship lead. From there he was never to be challenged for the title as the Ferrari's speed and reliability both went down the pan in the last third of the season, Berger would only register 2 more finishes in Portugal and Aida and both were behind Hill anyway, so Hill was confirmed Veterans' champion after Berger's early retirement at Suzuka.
There were three more very quirky races in the closing stages of the season though.
Monza was surpringly like Silverstone; Brundle reired early with a puncture which damaged his car; Berger's suspension was broken by his teammate's on-board camera hitting his car - and controversially, Hill ran Schumacher up the rear, and so the race win ironically was picked up by Inoue yet again, as he'd been in the way when Hill and Schumacher were lapping him. Was that a deliberate ploy to take Hill out and reduce the field?
At the Nurburgring, Berger and Hill retired again, Brundle picked up the win but joining him on the podium were two drivers having one-off appearances; Gabriele Tarquini subbing for Katayama (who was also eligible) was 2nd, and in the Pacific coming 3rd was....drumroll...........JEAN DENIS DELETRAZ!!!!! (and to answer Murray Walker's quote "What IS Deletraz doing" - the answer was going as slowly as possible to ensure he finishes and pick up a Veterans' podium).
And we weren't finished yet - Aguri Suzuki got the Ligier seat back for the two Japanese races but crashed and was injured in qually at Suzuka, so retired from F1. After Hill and Berger retired, guess who was there again at the end to pick up the win in his home race? Yes Inoue won for a THIRD time!!!!
Then if only Hill had retired in Oz then Pacific would have had a win with Gachot.......and also sadly Moreno just missed scoring Forti a podium.
Damon Hill 96 (9 wins - ARG RSM MON FRA HUN BEL POR PAC AUS)
Gerhard Berger 74 (3 wins - BRA ESP GER, 6 2nd)
Taki Inoue 37 (3 wins - CAN ITA JPN)
Martin Brundle 36 (1 win - EUR, 3 2nd)
Pierluigi Martini 22 (1 win - GBR)
Ukyo Katayama 18 (1 2nd)
Aguri Suzuki 15 (2 2nd)
Bertrand Gachot 12 (2 2nd)
Roberto Moreno 12 (3 4th)
Gabriele Tarquini 6 (1 2nd)
Nigel Mansell 4 (1 3rd)
Jean-Denis Deletraz 4 (1 3rd)
I told you it was good.