SAN MARINO GRAND PRIX 1997 - RACE DAY ===================================== The San Marino Grand Prix was the scene of disappointment for the West McLaren Merceded team as David Coulthard's race...
SAN MARINO GRAND PRIX 1997 - RACE DAY =====================================
The San Marino Grand Prix was the scene of disappointment for the West McLaren Merceded team as David Coulthard's race was curtailed on the 35th lap when a water leak led to an engine failure, whilst running in fourth position. Meanwhile Mika claimed the team a further championship point finishing in sixth position and now ties with his team mate with 10 points in the Driver's Championship. The fastest laps completed by David and Mika were 1:26.067 and 1:26.791 respectively.
MIKA HAKKINEN 'A lot of things happened during this race. To begin with, I was struggling with front end grip and then when I closed up to one of the backmarkers, I went wide onto the gravel and had to ask for a premature pit stop. As I arrived in the pit I realised that David had only just completed his stop and that crew were not yet ready. Never the less the team performed a miracle to carry out a quick tyre and re-fuelling stop. I returned to the track a place down and ran the remainder of the race behind a rather slow Jean Alesi, who I couldn't overtake despite all the efforts. One point isn't much but it is better than nothing.'
DAVID COULTHARD 'We had the right race strategy, I was pushing hard when the engine failed and naturally it was very disappointing not to finish the race. However, we had a car with which I could have won the race if I had qualified better, it is clear to all of us that we need to work on our qualifying performance in order to be able to take advantage of our true race performance and strategy.'
RON DENNIS 'One point from this race does not reflect our good race strategy which would have seen us finish third and fourth. David appeared to have suffered an engine failure while lying in fourth. Mika had a small excursion one lap prior to his pit stop and had to enter the pits just as we had finished David's stop. The team did a very good job at responding to the situation, but the delay caused by his off, put him behind Alesi, who, whilst being very slow, was impossible to pass. Fortunately we have another thirteen Grands Prix in which to demonstrate our true capabilities.'
NORBERT HAUG 'David was on his way to a podium place when twenty three laps from the end the engine broke following a loss of water which started after lap 20. It is a pity because with a one stop strategy he was very competitive. Congratulations to Heinz-Harold Frentzen for a well deserved victory.