Magny Cours - 30th June 1996 The Marlboro McLaren Mercedes team collected three championship points from the French Grand Prix with Mika Hakkinen crossing the finish line in fifth place and David Coulthard in...
Magny Cours - 30th June 1996 The Marlboro McLaren Mercedes team collected three championship points from the French Grand Prix with Mika Hakkinen crossing the finish line in fifth place and David Coulthard in sixth position. Mika ran a strong third in the early part of the race before gearbox problems hampered his progress.
Mika Hakkinen: "I was very disappointed when I lost first and second gears, but that was the only negative part of this race. The car's performance was very good, enabling me to perform and record the lap times I wanted. I wanted to congratulate the mechanics for the great job they did during me second pitstop, pushing the car to get it going, and thank Ron and the team for advising me on the revs I should use to avoid speeding in the pitlane on third gear. I cannot wait for the next Grand Prix, where I am sure we will have a much better performance from the improvements we have made to the car. I now have a machine that enables me to maximise my driving ability and I am really happy about it."
David Coulthard: "I made a bad start and lost my place to Martin Brundle, and then lost some time to the leaders while I was behind him. However, I think I would have struggled to hold on to them anyway. My spins in practice cost me valuable track time and I didn't get as good a race set-up as I would have liked. The car was too stiff and sliding, so in the circumstances sixth place and a point should make us happy."
Norbert Haug: "Mika did a great job. His pace could have put him third but halfway through the race, he had a gearbox problem and lost second and first gears. He had to start from his second pitstop in third gear. David was stuck behind Martin Brundle until his first stop, and by that time he had lost a second per lap. We definitely made a step forward in terms of competitiveness and it was a shame that Mika did not get more out of it. Still, he was only 16 seconds behind the third place at the end."
Ron Dennis: "It might not be apparent in the result but we have made real progress. Mika ran well until losing two gears on lap 29 and finished the race in that condition. David suffered a long spell behind Martin Brundle in the early part of the race, but once the first round of pitstops had taken place, was able to maintain sixth position. We will be stronger in Silverstone, which, with reliability, should be reflected in the results."