MCLAREN MERCEDES FINISHES 1-2 IN SPANISH GRAND PRIX Tightens World Championship Contest MONTVALE, N.J. (May 7, 2000) - Defending world driving champion Mika Hakkinen and his West McLaren Mercedes teammate David Coulthard finished first and...
MCLAREN MERCEDES FINISHES 1-2 IN SPANISH GRAND PRIX
Tightens World Championship Contest
MONTVALE, N.J. (May 7, 2000) - Defending world driving champion Mika Hakkinen and his West McLaren Mercedes teammate David Coulthard finished first and second in Sunday's Spanish Grand Prix, the third consecutive time that the duo has claimed the top two positions in that order at Barcelona's Circuit de Catalunya. The results close the gap on the Constructor's World Championship standings (Ferrari 49, McLaren Mercedes 42), and strengthen the McLaren Mercedes drivers' positions in the championship behind leader Michael Schumacher with five of the season's 17 races completed. It was Hakkinen's first win since his triumph at Japan last year, and the 15th of his career. Hakkinen started in second place behind pole-winner Schumacher, but kept the pressure on the Ferrari driver, closing to within one second on the first round of pit stops. Hakkinen took the lead when Schumacher experienced refueling problems on his second stop, and the Finn held the lead to the checkered flag.
"I can't really find the words to explain how happy and relieved I am to have claimed my first victory of the season," said Hakkinen. "My start from second wasn't ideal. Fortunately, Schumacher did not make a great start either, so we were side by side coming into the first corner. In the end, I had to give way because I was on the outside.
"Schumacher managed to pull away during the first couple of laps, but when his tires started to go off, I was able to close up and start putting him under pressure. The team did a great job in the second pit stop, so I was able to take the lead."
Meanwhile, teammate Coulthard, who survived a private plane crash five days earlier, started in fourth position but made the most of both quick pit stops and on-track passing to claim second place.
"It's great for the McLaren Mercedes team to get another 1-2 victory," said Coulthard. "During the first part of the race, I was stuck behind Ralf Schumacher. When the team called me in for my first pit stop, I selected second gear instead of first and so I rejoined the race in fifth place. I gained a place on my second stop, and could go around the outside of Ralf Schumacher when I exited the pit lane. Then I overtook Michael Schumacher at the end of the straight on lap 48 to claim second place."
Norbert Haug, Mercedes-Benz's motorsports director noted that "Mika has deserved this win for a long time and once again he drove an excellent race. David did a fantastic job in his difficult situation. The performance of the whole team was superb and compliments to the engineers for their brilliant race strategy. This was a perfect result considering that we haven't had a big advantage in our lap times during the weekend. Scoring (the maximum of)16 points under these circumstances just shows that we can get the job done."
The next stop for the Formula One World Championship is the European Grand Prix at Nurburgring, Germany, on May 21.