Brazilian Grand Prix Â Sunday April 01 Â Race Air temperature : 30Â°C Track temperature : 36Â°C Coulthard stops Schumacher record attempt David Coulthard ended Ferrari's six-race Formula One winning streak in ...
Brazilian Grand Prix Sunday April 01 Race
Air temperature : 30°C Track temperature : 36°C Coulthard stops Schumacher record attempt David Coulthard ended Ferrari's six-race Formula One winning streak in a topsy-turvy Brazilian Grand Prix, third round of this year's world championship. The race was neutralised within moments of the start because the car of Coulthard's team-mate Mika Hakkinen had to be removed from the grid after the Finn had stalled. Thereafter the fast-starting Juan Pablo Montoya looked set to give BMW-Williams and Michelin their first F1 win of the campaign, but when he lapped Arrows driver Jos Verstappen, the Dutchman ran into the Colombian and forced him out of the race. McLaren star Coulthard and world championship leader Michael Schumacher both led after Montoya's retirement, but the Scot gained the upper hand in the second half of the race, when heavy rain forced teams to switch to wet tyres. He eventually beat Schumacher by 16.1 seconds to cut Schumacher's world championship lead to six points. It was Coulthard's first win since the 2000 French GP at Magny-Cours. Nick Heidfeld finished third to score his first F1 podium finish and Sauber's first of the year. Prior to his collision with Verstappen, Montoya - making only his third F1 start - appeared to have the race under control. He snatched the lead from Schumacher with an audacious move at the first turn when the race was initially restarted and comfortably held the German and Coulthard at bay. Verstappen ran into Montoya on the 39th lap, shortly before the leader was due to make his only scheduled tyre stop. Olivier Panis (BAR Honda) and Jarno Trulli (Jordan-Honda) finished fourth and fifth, just ahead of Michelin's best finisher Giancarlo Fisichella (Benetton Renault Sport), who fought hard with Jean Alesi (Prost-Acer Michelin) before securing sixth place in the closing stages. Alesi battled hard for sixth place in the closing stages. Only ten drivers reached the finish in a race of real attrition. Alesi slipped to eighth, behind Jacques Villeneuve's BAR, at the end, while Tarso Marques (European Minardi Michelin) and Jenson Button (Benetton Renault Sport Michelin) completed the list of cars still running. Button was seven laps behind the winner after a lengthy pit stop to fix a technical problem. Of the other Michelin runners, Gaston Mazzacane (Prost-Acer) stopped with an engine problem, Ralf Schumacher (BMW Williams) spun off after earlier being delayed by a clash with home favourite Rubens Barrichello and Eddie Irvine (Jaguar) spun off. Luciano Burti (Jaguar) and Fernando Alonso (European Minardi) both had technical problems. MICHELIN'S RACE :
Pierre Dupasquier (Motorsport Director) :
"Well, after the first three races this year, I don't think anyone can say that Formula One is boring! A journalist reminded me just before the start that when we were last in Formula One, it was in Brazil that we scored our first victory . I laughed and said that it was far too early for us at this stage to score a repeat win. But for a moment, when I saw Juan Pablo take the lead and control it from the front, I must admit, I began to say "Could history repeat itself?" As we know now, `No' is the obvious answer, but we are extremely pleased to see him lead for so long!" "The performance of the two BMW WilliamsF1 cars, despite Ralf's early incident, gives us reason to believe that even at this early stage, our tyres are competitive, and this over race distance. In the final analysis, Ralf's overall fastest lap time and the times that we set when it was `heavy rain' makes us think that we are already there or thereabouts!" "So far I think we can be proud of our performance and of all the hard work that our technical teams have put in. Another step forward, but there's still a lot of work to come!"