Belgian Grand Prix Spa-Francorchamps, Sunday 30th August Michael Schumacher: retired at the end of lap 25 after an accident Eddie Irvine: retired after spinning off the track on lap 26 There were two starts to the Belgian Grand Prix. Irvine...
Belgian Grand Prix Spa-Francorchamps, Sunday 30th August
Michael Schumacher: retired at the end of lap 25 after an accident Eddie Irvine: retired after spinning off the track on lap 26
There were two starts to the Belgian Grand Prix. Irvine was involved in the first accident along with other 11 cars and took the re-start in the spare car (chassis 186). At the second start, Michael went into second place and Eddie was third. On lap 10 Irvine made an early stop for a new nose section and re-joined ninth. On lap 11, Michael passed Hill to take the lead. On lap 24 Irvine made his second pit-stop when lying sixth, but on lap 26 he went of into a gravel trap. Michael, while trying to pass Coulthard who had been lapped, hit him and broke the right front suspension. He got back to the pits and retired.
Jean Todt "A disappointing result. Michael retired while leading the race as he passed Coulthard. Eddie went off after his pit-stop, but he could have had a good race. What happened to Michael is very serious. He was stuck behind Coulthard for over a lap, despite the waved blue flags. The McLaren driver slowed down noticeably on the straight when doing around 200 km/h. The deceleration was violent and in the wet conditions the impact was inevitable. The consequences of this incident could have been much more serious."
Michael Schumacher "I am very annoyed about what happened. It was clear that we would have taken the lead in the Championship, as I was by far the fastest car on the track. Coulthard seemed to be running 5 to 6 seconds slower than his real pace once I was behind him. When he rejoined the race he was much quicker again. Obviously lifting on the straight like he did when I hit him is very dangerous. He has the experience to know that you do not slow down on a straight like that without giving any warning. So one could think he did it deliberately. At the second start I was on the outside of Hakkinen and I tried to leave a bit of room. He was forcing me a bit wide, but I had the better line and could accelerate better out of the corner. It is very disappointing to still be seven points behind in the Championship, when I could have left Spa with a three point lead."
Eddie Irvine "It was an embarrassing race for me. I lost my car at the first start. I jumped in the spare which was originally set up for Michael. Although the mechanics did a great job to get it changed to suit me, it was still far from ideal. I should have driven at just a comfortable level rather than trying to hang onto Michael and Damon, which I was able to do. Maybe I pushed too hard. I went off and damaged the nose. We gambled on fitting wets and it was the right decision when the rain came again. Everything was going great, but after my pit-stop I came out behind Fisichella. I was quicker than him but could not see where I was going. I clipped a kerb and spun off."
Chassis: Schumacher no. 188, Irvine nos. 185 and 186 Temperatures: air 11 C, track 12 C