Michael Schumacher made the tens of thousands of Ferrari fans at Imola ecstatic when he won the San Marino Grand Prix. The race was a nail biting affair between Ferrari and arch rivals McLaren, and for the third time in as many races it was the...
Michael Schumacher made the tens of thousands of Ferrari fans at Imola ecstatic when he won the San Marino Grand Prix. The race was a nail biting affair between Ferrari and arch rivals McLaren, and for the third time in as many races it was the Italian team that came out on top. This win now puts Schumacher a massive 21 points ahead of Ferrari team-mate, Rubens Barrichello, in the battle for the 2000 Drivers' World championship.
After the race Schumacher said the race was like qualifying from start to finish and did admit making a very bad start with massive wheelspin. Hakkinen said that at the end of one lap the engine cut out and he hit someone metal on the track that affected the aerodynamics of the car.
For the first 44 laps it looked as thought Mika Hakkinen would at last win a race this year, but then when the second round of pit stops came the Ferrari tactics worked better. Schumacher stayed out for a further four laps after the Finn pitted and then managed a last minute splash and dash to stay in front.
Another major battle during the race was also between a McLaren and a Ferrari, but this time Ferrari lost out. David Coulthard trailed Barrichello, with the gap never being more than a fraction of a second, then again it was on the final pit stop where the positions changed. They pitted together at the end of lap 46 and, despite missing each other by inches as they left the stop, it was the silver car in front of the red one. From there on Coulthard was able to pull away and be 38 seconds in front at the chequered flag.
It was not such a good race for Orange Arrows. Pedro de la Rosa, who started 13th on the grid, retired on lap 50 when he went off the track. He had been experienced gearbox problems and losing time downshifting, but he felt something go at the rear of the car as he came into Piratella and went off. Jos Verstappen made a brilliant start from 16th on the grid, making up five places by the end of lap one. Unfortunately he then had to make two unscheduled pit stops - one on lap 11 to check a vibration and then another for a ten second stop and go for blocking. This dropped him down to eventually finish 14th, but once his initial problem was sorted out the car ran consistently, and he was confident he could have finished well up without the loss of time in the pits.
In total 15 cars were classified as finishers and the first retirement was expectant father Heinz Harald Frentzen with gearbox problems. His team mate, Jarno Trulli, also retired with the same problem. Jordan was not the only team to have both cars retire, as the same happened to Prost and Williams. For Williams BMW it was an engine problem that locked up the rear wheels on Jenson Button's, put him off the track and into the gravel, and for Ralf Schumacher it was a fuel pressure problem. Meanwhile at Prost Nick Heidfeld went first with hydraulic pressure problems and only three laps later Jean Alesi suffered a similar fate.