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Despite a practice inversion, Damon Hill duly took the 10 points he needed in Portugal to draw all but level with the absent Michael Schumacher’s World Championship lead
As a race, the Portuguese Grand Prix only really lasted seven laps. From his second pole position of the year, the 10th of his career, and Ferrari's second in succession, Gerhard Berger had sped his 412T1B into the lead from the Williams duo which had snapped at is heels throughout qualifying. But where Damon Hill had survived an inversion on Friday afternoon after colliding with a spinning Eddie Irvine, and had lined up alongside Berger on the front row, now it was team-mate David Coulthard who had made the better start.
Initially Berger drew away, but by lap five Coulthard had the reins on him and was beginning to size up his prey. With its torque demanding slow corners Estoril shouldn't have suited the Ferrari as well as it appeared to in qualifying, but in the race its speed was partly explained by Berger's plan to stop three times, where most other top runners planned only two calls for fuel and tyres. The indications were by the fifth lap that the Austrian had already started to shoot his bolt, for Coulthard was within striking distance despite his heavier fuel load. It may have been only his eighth Grand Prix and the last he was scheduled to undertake in 1994 but the Scot lacks nothing in the self-confidence department.