The West McLaren Mercedes team finished the Japanese Grand Prix -- the penultimate race of the season - with Mika Hakkinen taking second place and David Coulthard third. Mika Hakkinen set the fastest lap of the race on lap 26 with a time of ...
The West McLaren Mercedes team finished the Japanese Grand Prix -- the penultimate race of the season - with Mika Hakkinen taking second place and David Coulthard third. Mika Hakkinen set the fastest lap of the race on lap 26 with a time of 1:39.189. Mika had his pitstops on lap 22 and lap 36 and David came in on lap 23 and lap 39.
'Obviously I'm disappointed, but I would still like to congratulate Michael. We have had a great battle this year with both ups and downs and it's been very exciting. Today I made a good start to take the lead and things were looking good until my second pitstop. The guys did a great stop, but unfortunately I lost valuable time on my out lap partly due to traffic but also it began to rain a bit more and as a result of the new tyres it was extremely slippery and I was sliding everywhere. Anyway I believe to be a good winner you have to be a good loser and now we are focusing on finishing the season on a high in Malaysia and on next year's Championship.'
'I had a fairly quiet race and was not really involved in any battles. I was just concentrating on keeping the car on the track as the conditions were difficult due to the track conditions changing all the time. One lap it was really damp and the next it wasn't. Anyway we look forward to next year where we will renew our Championship challenge.'
'The intermittent rain and traffic after Mika's final pitstop were significant contributors to the outcome of today's race. The drivers and team as a whole have worked hard throughout the weekend and we must remember that World Championships come from points gained over 17 races so we can't look at this race in isolation. Its been a difficult year which has seen both our competitors and our fortunes swing in both directions - we have not had a perfect season but certainly not a bad one either. The points gap between the top two teams and the rest of the field demonstrates exactly how intense the battle has been this year. Its difficult to feel positive at this moment in time but the entire company has done a great job and we can all take some satisfaction from the seven victories and seven pole positions we have achieved so far this year.'
'To finish runner up in the Drivers' World Championship after two consecutive title wins is nothing to be ashamed of. It was a close race today, which Mika had under control until the final pitstop when he lost time when he was out on new tyres in partly damp conditions. He was also unlucky to lose additional time due to backmarkers. We look forward to our next World Championship season, which for us already starts in Kuala Lumpur. Congratulations to Michael Schumacher and Ferrari.'