German GP Barrichello storms to first career victory

HOCKENHEIM, Germany, Sunday, July 30, 2000-Rubens Barrichello fought his way from 18th place at the start of the German Grand Prix to score an emotional and strategic first career Grand Prix win on July 30 in an exciting race filled with dramatic...

HOCKENHEIM, Germany, Sunday, July 30, 2000-Rubens Barrichello fought his way from 18th place at the start of the German Grand Prix to score an emotional and strategic first career Grand Prix win on July 30 in an exciting race filled with dramatic and unexpected elements.

West McLaren-Mercedes teammates Mika Hakkinen and David Coulthard finished second and third, respectively. Michael Schumacher was eliminated in a first-turn accident for the second consecutive race but kept his lead in the World Championship point standings.

Barrichello’s victory has turned the championship chase into a four-man battle. Schumacher leads with 56 points, with Hakkinen and Coulthard tied for second with 54. Barrichello is fourth with 46.

Brazilian Barrichello began the race on a light fuel load as he and the Ferrari team had planned a two-stop strategy. He worked his way from 18th to third place by Lap 15.

When it began to rain on one section of the Hockenheim circuit with 30 of the 45 laps complete, every driver eventually pitted for wet-weather tires or spun off -- except for Barrichello. He kept control of his car in the tricky conditions and went on to win by 7.452 seconds.

“This is a team,” Barrichello said. “We are a big family. (Technical director) Ross (Brawn) told me, ‘Mika (Hakkinen) is coming in,’ and I said, ‘I want to keep an eye on things, let’s stay out for one lap more.’ After that lap he said, ‘Just keep on going, Rubens, because you’re going to win if you keep up this pace.’

“It was great, because the slicks were still doing really well on the straights and in the three chicanes. But with six or seven laps to go, I flat-spotted the left front at the third chicane, because it was spitting a little bit. That was worrying, and I couldn’t see the track very well. So I paid the price, but it worked out great.”

Barrichello’s first Formula One victory came in his 123rd Grand Prix start. His last race victory was in October 1991 when he won a round of the British Formula 3 series on his way to clinching that championship. He drove in Formula 3000 in 1992 and joined the Jordan F1 team in 1993. He dedicated his victory on the fast Hockenheimring circuit to his friend and mentor, the late Formula One champion Ayrton Senna.

“I’m dedicating this race to a guy on top there, Ayrton,” Barrichello said. “It was since 1984 that he changed my life. I was really a racing driver from then. I followed him very much. He (listened to) me quite a lot, and today is a good day to dedicate the race to him.

“After Ayrton left, a lot of people just put me into his place. A lot of people liked it, but a lot of people didn’t, so I am in the middle of confusion. There is no one who just likes Rubens: either you love Rubens or you hate him. I just want to say thank you very much to the guys who stayed there for me, and principally my father.”

At the start of the race, Coulthard swerved to his right and across the front of Schumacher’s Ferrari, and Schumacher then moved left only to collide with Giancarlo Fisichella’s Mild Seven Benetton-Playlife in the first turn.

Hakkinen took the lead ahead of Coulthard and Jarno Trulli’s Benson & Hedges Jordan-Mugen-Honda. Just passed the midpoint of the race, as the drivers made their pit stops, the safety car had to come out because of a man wandering along the side of the track.

Police reports said the man was a 47-year-old Frenchman who, according to his words, wanted to protest his dismissal by Mercedes-Benz. He was taken into custody and charged with trespassing.

With 15 laps to go, it began to rain on the front section of the track while the back two-thirds of the circuit remained dry. That made the decision to switch to wet-weather tires or to stay on grooved slicks as tricky and as difficult as the driving conditions.

The safety car was on the track from Laps 25-28 because of the man on the track, and it returned on Laps 30-31 after Jean Alesi and Pedro Diniz collided at the entrance to one of the chicanes.

The rain and safety car periods upset the pit stop strategy for several drivers, including Coulthard who dropped from second to fifth. The rain also sent more than one driver spinning, including Jacques Villeneuve, who was hit by teammate Ricardo Zonta, and Eddie Irvine.

Barrichello, who took the lead on Lap 35 when Hakkinen pitted for rain tires, kept control of his Ferrari through it all and averaged 133.805 mph (215.340 km/h) to finish the 45-lap, 190.083-mile (307.125-km) race in one hour, 25 minutes and 34.418 seconds.

QUOTEBOOK:

RUBENS BARRICHELLO (Ferrari, winner): “I just feel great. On the last lap, I heard the guys telling me I was going to win, but it’s such a long lap here. Also, it’s been such a long time (since my last victory) that I had almost lost the taste. And I can promise you that it was getting more and more tricky today, because the rain was falling in separate places. Yesterday was such a bad day that I was just thinking to myself that this one had to be mine. I told myself it could come good, so let’s make it as simple as possible. But I still can’t believe it.”

MIKA HAKKINEN (West McLaren-Mercedes, second): “It was a fantastic start, and I have to admit that something as good as that doesn’t happen often. Certainly David (Coulthard) and I do practice starts a lot during the test days, but this was one of the starts that will definitely have to go in the record book of my career. It is all thanks to the team, too. It is my engineers who work out the tactics for the start, and that way I am able to make a good start. And I knew that unless I got into a good position at the first corner, then life would be very difficult after that.”

DAVID COULTHARD (West McLaren-Mercedes, third): “(At the start) I just got too much wheelspin. I knew I was making a bad start from the moment I went off the line. So I just wanted to try to make it as difficult as we are allowed for someone to pass me. But in the end I don’t actually know how close anyone else was behind me. All I saw was Mika passing me.”

JENSON BUTTON (Williams-BMW, fourth): “I am very happy, considering how my race started with my engine not firing up! The team made an excellent job calling me in at the right time to switch to wet tires. It was very difficult to drive at that time because at the back of the circuit it was dry, yet in the pit lane it was raining.”

MIKA SALO (Red Bull Sauber-Petronas, fifth): “That was a very hard race. To begin with, I was praying that the rain would come earlier than it did because I’d opted for a high-downforce setup and was therefore slow on the straight. Then, when the safety car went in, I just missed (Alexander) Wurz on the start-finish line when his car faltered and flames suddenly exploded out the back. That was close! I couldn’t hold off Button for fourth place because my wet tires were destroyed from having to run hard on the dry sections of the track.”

PEDRO DE LA ROSA (Orange Arrows-Supertec, sixth): “It was really a strange race, generally, and then there was a spectator on the track. I was very strong in dry conditions, but then as the safety car kept coming out things got worse and worse. Just before I came in for rain tires, I made a big mistake as I came into the stadium, missed my braking point and had a big off.”

JACQUES VILLENUEVE (Lucky Strike BAR-Honda, eighth): “Unfortunately, there was an incident with my teammate (Ricardo Zonta), and I have to say that I don’t have much respect for him as a result.”

MICHAEL SCHUMACHER (Ferrari, retired on Lap 1): “I am very disappointed for what happened to me, but I am very happy for Rubens, whom I have to thank for saving my first place in the Drivers Championship. His win was a very emotional moment for me. As for what happened to me, it was a shame I was again hit at the start and unable to get back in the race. It is very hard to accept something like this for a second race in a row. On top of that, this is my home Grand Prix, and that makes it worse for me.”

GIANCARLO FISICHELLA (Mild Seven Benetton-Playlife, retired on Lap 1): “It all happened so fast. I was on my line and then suddenly Michael’s car was right in front of my front wheel, so I went into the back of his car. I think we should really decide in the rules about whether a driver should stick to his line or not.”

***

FINAL RESULTS:

HOCKENHEIM, Germany -- Results Sunday of the Grand Prix of Germany on the 4.240-mile Hockenheimring circuit, with driver, country, make, laps completed, time and reason out, if any:

<pre> 1. Rubens Barrichello, Brazil, Ferrari, 45, 1 hour, 25 minutes, 34.418 seconds, 133.805 mph. 2. Mika Hakkinen, Finland, McLaren-Mercedes, 45, 1:25:41.870. 3. David Coulthard, Britain, McLaren-Mercedes, 45, 1:25:55.586. 4. Jenson Button, Britain, BMW-Williams, 45, 1:25:57.103. 5. Mika Salo, Finland, Sauber-Petronas, 45, 1:26:01.530. 6. Pedro de la Rosa, Spain, Arrows-Supertec, 45, 1:26:03.498. 7. Ralf Schumacher, Germany, BMW-Williams, 45, 1:26:05.316. 8. Jacques Villeneuve, Canada, BAR-Honda, 45, 1:26:21.955. 9. Jarno Trulli, Italy, Jordan-Mugen-Honda, 45, 1:26:25.319. 10. Eddie Irvine, Britain, Jaguar-Cosworth, 45, 1:25:54.082. 11. Gaston Mazzacane, Argentina, Minardi-Ford, 45, 1:27:03.922. 12. Nick Heidfeld, Germany, Prost-Peugeot, 40, alternator.

Not classified Heinz-Harald Frentzen, Germany, Jordan-Mugen-Honda, 39, electronics. Jos Verstappen, Netherlands, Arrows-Supertec, 39, spin. Ricardo Zonta, Brazil, BAR-Honda, 37, spin. Marc Gene, Spain, Minardi-Ford, 33, engine. Alexander Wurz, Austria, Benetton-Playlife, 31, gearbox. Pedro Diniz, Brazil, Sauber-Petronas, 29, accident. Jean Alesi, France, Prost-Peugeot, 29, accident. Johnny Herbert, Britain, Jaguar-Cosworth, 12, gearbox. Michael Schumacher, Germany, Ferrari, 0, accident. Giancarlo Fisichella, Italy, Benetton-Playlife, 0, accident. Lap leaders: Hakkinen 1-25, Coulthard 26-27, Hakkinen 28-36, Barrichello 36-45.

</pre> ***

POINTS:

Drivers: M. Schumacher 56, Coulthard 54, Hakkinen 54, Barrichello 46, Fisichella 18, R. Schumacher 14, Villeneuve 11, Button 8, Trulli 6, Salo 6, Frentzen 5, Irvine 3, Verstappen 2, de la Rosa 2, Zonta 1. Constructors: Ferrari 102, McLaren-Mercedes 98, Williams-BMW 22, Benetton-Playlife 18, British American Racing-Honda 12, Jordan-Mugen-Honda 11, Sauber-Petronas 6, Arrows-Supertec 4, Jaguar-Cosworth 3.

***

NEWS and NOTES:

Villeneuve’s deal: Jacques Villeneuve’s new three-year contract with the Lucky Strike British American Racing-Honda team includes performance clauses.

“The team has to perform,” Villeneuve said. “If the team does not perform, then I will walk away. Everything in life is possible. The team needs quite a big improvement. We need to be fighting in the front.”

***

Honda important: Heinz-Harald Frentzen said that Benson & Hedges Jordan’s new contract to run Honda factory engines starting next season was an important factor in his signing a new two-year deal to drive for the team.

“One of the factors why I signed was certainly Honda,” Frentzen said, “which is a big manufacturer with lots of F1 success in previous years. The Honda people are very committed to being successful again, and it is a big help to Jordan that we now have the support of a works engine. “It doesn’t only mean we’ll have more budget available (for developing the car) in future, it also means that we will have a very strong engine partner.

***

Huisman wins again: Patrick Huisman won his fourth Porsche Pirelli Supercup race of the season on July 30 before the Grand Prix. Bernd Maylander finished second ahead of Olaf Mathai. Stephane Ortelli and Jorg Bergmeister rounded out the top five.

Huisman and the rest of the Porsche Pirelli Supercup stars will race in Indianapolis as a support series to the inaugural SAP United States Grand Prix on Sept. 24.

***

Expensive miss: Officials fined Giancarlo Fisichella $5,000 for not stopping his Mild Seven Benetton-Playlife at the weighing scales during qualifying.

***

Teammates first and second: Tomas Enge grabbed first place on the last lap from his new West teammate Tomas Scheckter and led him to an one/two finish in Saturday’s incident-packed FIA Formula 3000 race. Mark Webber finished third.

Scheckter is the son of former Formula One star Jody Scheckter, the last Ferrari driver to win the World Championship, in 1979.

-IRNLS/IMS-

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About this article
Series Formula 1
Drivers Eddie Irvine , Giancarlo Fisichella , Jarno Trulli , Jenson Button , Tomas Scheckter , Ralf Schumacher , Gaston Mazzacane , Pedro de la Rosa , Jos Verstappen , Johnny Herbert , Michael Schumacher , Heinz-Harald Frentzen , Rubens Barrichello , Mark Webber , Jean Alesi , David Coulthard , Mika Hakkinen , Jacques Villeneuve , Nick Heidfeld , Ricardo Zonta , Tomas Enge , Marc Gene , Alexander Wurz , Mika Salo , Stéphane Ortelli , Patrick Huisman , Ayrton Senna , Jody Scheckter , Pedro Diniz
Teams Ferrari , Mercedes , Sauber , McLaren , Williams , Benetton , British American Racing , Minardi , Jordan