Spanish Grand Prix race report

BARCELONA, Spain, April 29, 2001-Michael Schumacher won the Spanish Grand Prix in dramatic fashion in his Ferrari after taking over first place with just half a lap to go when Mika Hakkinen pulled his West McLaren-Mercedes off the track with a...

BARCELONA, Spain, April 29, 2001-Michael Schumacher won the Spanish Grand Prix in dramatic fashion in his Ferrari after taking over first place with just half a lap to go when Mika Hakkinen pulled his West McLaren-Mercedes off the track with a blown clutch.

Former winners at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway swept the top three spots in the race. Schumacher won last year's inaugural SAP United States Grand Prix at Indianapolis. Juan Pablo Montoya, who finished second in his Williams-BMW to score his first ever F1 points and visit the podium for the first time, won last year's Indianapolis 500. Third-place Jacques Villeneuve, who finished in the top three for the first time since the 1998 Hungarian Grand Prix and gave the Lucky Strike British American Racing-Honda team its first podium finish, won the 1995 Indianapolis 500.

Before climbing the podium, Schumacher went to talk to Hakkinen, who had been given a lift back to the pits by teammate David Coulthard. "I simply said sorry, and I wanted to apologize," Schumacher said. "He should be here (in the winner's interview). He hasn't made any mistakes, and sometimes racing is hard, but to some degree that's the way racing is. It's a shame for him it happened so short before the end. If it happens sometimes 20 laps in the race it's less hard to take, but this way must be very shocking for him."

This was the first race in which electronic launch control (for the start) and traction control (to prevent wheelspin) were allowed. Not all the teams have their systems perfected yet. Coulthard's McLaren stalled with a software glitch just before the final formation lap, and he had to start from the back of the grid. Heinz-Harald Frentzen's Benson & Hedges Jordan-Honda faltered right at the start when his launch control refused to work.

Some drivers used a combination of the available electronic aids. Montoya used launch control but not traction control. Villeneuve used traction control but opted not to use launch control at the start. Starting from the pole, Schumacher had no such problems as he grabbed the lead over Hakkinen. Hakkinen led briefly during the first round of pit stops and then took the lead again after the second round of pit stops when he got out ahead of Schumacher, who had pitted seven laps earlier. In the final 20 laps, Hakkinen extended his lead to some 40 seconds as Schumacher slowed because of a vibration problem.

Starting 12th, Montoya drove a steady race to finish second in his fifth Grand Prix start. He inherited second and Villeneuve third when Hakkinen stopped on the last lap. Jarno Trulli placed fourth, which was his third consecutive top-six finish.

After starting at the back of the grid, Coulthard had to pit after the first lap to have the nose on his McLaren replaced after being pushed into another car. Coulthard fought back and passed Nick Heidfeld, who ended up sixth, with six laps to go.

This was Schumacher's third win this season and his 47th win in 150 starts. He averaged 125.831 mph (202.507 km/h) to complete the 65-lap, 190.961-mile (307.323-km) race in one hour, 31 minutes and 3.305 seconds. His margin of victory was 40.738 seconds.

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QUOTEBOOK:

MICHAEL SCHUMACHER (Ferrari, winner, on how he felt when he passed Hakkinen on the last lap): "Simply sorry, because I think we both have done a very good race, very entertaining until the last pit stop. Then he jumped me at the last pit stop because he did a better last section in his second pit stop, and I was a bit in traffic and having a bit of trouble on top of that. But anyway, we have done a great race. It reminds me of the old days last year. Then seeing him retiring on the last lap, with five corners or whatever to go to the end, it's shocking, because he's really done everything right and then something like this happens. I'm sorry for him. I went to see him because it's not the way you like to win a race, honestly, but then sometimes it happens in racing. It's happened to me and it has now happened to Mika, but that's the way it goes sometimes." (On why he slowed in the latter stages of the race): "I had a huge vibration, most likely in the tires, and I was thinking the tire was delaminating, and I was obviously very careful, especially down the straight. I was going very slowly, not to risk anything, a tire explosion or whatever."

JUAN PABLO MONTOYA (Williams-BMW, second, on how it felt to stand on the podium and see the Colombian flag being raised): "I think it's really exciting. The first four races have been very hard for me. We have been competitive in some of them; not so much in others. Here, I wasn't expecting to be on the podium, really. I started 11th. The start was really good and moved me up a lot of places, and then I just kept pushing all day long."

JACQUES VILLENEUVE (Lucky Strike BAR-Honda, third): "It's great. Everyone in the team has worked really hard for the last three years, and the beginning of the season has been really, really hard and to finally get a podium is great. I think it's the boost that everyone needed. We couldn't have gone any quicker today. The car was hard to drive, but it looks like it was difficult for everybody, so we're a little bit lucky that a few cars dropped out. But then the team did a great job in the pit stops, and that allowed us to jump Trulli at the first pit stop, and then we just hung in there."

JARNO TRULLI (Benson & Hedges Jordan-Honda, fourth): "My tire degradation was pretty high today, and we weren't able to keep pace as well as we should. In the latter part of the race, I was struggling because the brakes were inconsistent. I would like to dedicate my result to Michele Alboreto. He was a truly lovely person as well as a great driver."

DAVID COULTHARD (West McLaren-Mercedes, fifth, on when he stalled just before the formation lap): "With these new electronic systems, what happened is not supposed to happen. I felt frustrated, disappointed and angry. It was very peculiar. I was in shock as was the team, especially when I looked into their faces on the grid with my engine not running."

MIKA HAKKINEN (West McLaren-Mercedes, stopped while leading on the last lap): "I couldn't believe it when it happened, as we were confident with the car. I think it was a clutch problem as I just lost drive no matter what gear I selected. I was going up the hill at the time, so there was no way I was going to be able to get the car to the finish. It's difficult to describe how I feel, and I don't think that the outcome will sink in until later."

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<pre> FINAL RESULTS:

BARCELONA, Spain - Results of the Spanish Grand Prix with position, driver, country, chassis, engine, tire, distance behind leader and reasons out, if any:

1) Michael Schumacher, Germany, Ferrari/Bridgestone, 65 laps 2) Juan Pablo Montoya, Colombia, Williams/BMW/Michelin, -40.738sec 3) Jacques Villeneuve, Canada, BAR/Honda/Bridgestone, -49.626sec 4) Jarno Trulli, Italy, Jordan/Honda/Bridgestone, -51.253sec 5) David Coulthard, Great Britain, McLaren/Mercedes/Bridgestone, -51.616sec 6) Nick Heidfeld, Germany, Sauber/Petronas/Bridgestone, -1:01.893 7) Olivier Panis, France, BAR/Honda/Bridgestone, -1:04.977 8) Kimi Raikkonen, Finland, Sauber/Petronas/Bridgestone, -1:19.808 9) Mika Hakkinen, Finland, McLaren/Mercedes/Bridgestone, -1 lap 10) Jean Alesi, France, Prost/Acer/Michelin, -1 lap 11) Luciano Burti, Brazil, Prost/Acer/Michelin, -1 lap 12) Jos Verstappen, Netherlands, Arrows/Asiatech/Bridgestone, -2 laps 13) Fernando Alonso, Spain, Minardi/European/Michelin, -2 laps 14) Giancarlo Fisichella, Italy, Benetton/Renault/Michelin, -2 laps 15) Jenson Button, Great Britain, Benetton/Renault/Michelin, -3laps 16) Tarso Marques, Brazil, Minardi/European/Michelin, -3 laps 17) Rubens Barrichello, Brazil, Ferrari/Bridgestone, -16 laps, rear suspension 18) Eddie Irvine, Great Britain, Jaguar/Cosworth/Michelin, -17 laps, engine 19) Ralf Schumacher, Germany, Williams/BMW/Michelin, -45 laps, spin 20) Enrique Bernoldi, Brazil, Arrows/Asiatech/Bridgestone, -57 laps, fuel pressure 21) Heinz-Harald Frentzen, Germany, Jordan/Honda/Bridgestone, -60 laps, accident 22) Pedro de la Rosa, Spain, Jaguar/Cosworth/Michelin, -60 laps, accident Lap leaders: M. Schumacher 1-2, Hakkinen 23-27, M. Schumacher 28-43, Hakkinen 44-64, M. Schumacher 65.

POINTS:

Drivers: M. Schumacher 36, Coulthard 28, Barrichello 14, R. Schumacher 12, Heidfeld 8, Trulli 7, Montoya 6, Frentzen 6, Villeneuve 4, Hakkinen 4, Panis 3, Raikkonen 1, Fisichella 1.

Constructors: Ferrari 50, McLaren-Mercedes 32, Williams-BMW 18, Jordan-Honda 13, Sauber-Petronas 9, BAR-Honda 7, Benetton-Renault 1.

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</pre> NEWS and NOTES:

Indianapolis 500 winners on the podium: The last time two former Indianapolis 500 winners finished in the top three in a Grand Prix was in South Africa in 1968 when 1965 victor Jim Clark and 1966 winner Graham Hill finished first and second, respectively, in their Lotus-Fords.

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Last-lap winner: The last time a driver won a Grand Prix after another driver stopped on the last lap was in the 1991 Canadian Grand Prix. Nigel Mansell's Williams-Renault stalled on the lap, and that allowed Nelson Piquet to take the victory in his Benetton-Ford.

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On the pole: Michael Schumacher won the pole position in his Ferrari. It was his fourth pole in five races this year, the 36th of his career and the 141st for Ferrari.

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Porsche winner: Pole sitter Jorg Bergmeister led all the way to win the Porsche Pirelli Supercup race on April 29.

Lucas Luhr and Sascha Maaseen chased Bergmeister all the way to the finish line but couldn't get by. Ralf Kelleners, Philipp Peter and Wolf Henzler rounded out the top six.

The series, for identically prepared Porsche 911 GT3 Cup cars, runs in conjunction with 11 Grand Prix races this season, including the final event of the year that will take place at the SAP United States Grand Prix on Sept. 30 at Indianapolis.

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Jaguar increases technical staff: Mark Ellis has joined Jaguar Racing as the new chief race engineer. He worked on the Williams Renault and Ford Prodrive program s for the British Touring Car Championship from 1996-2000 before briefly joining the BAR F1 team.

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Renault to support young drivers: Renault has created a program to support and develop the potential of talented young drivers.

Called the Driver Development Program, it will involve a small number of drivers to insure that they each get maximum attention. The program will identify young, high-potential drivers and tailor-make a development program for them in all the different motor racing activities in which Renault is directly or indirectly involved.

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New winner: Tomas Enge became the third different winner in this year's FIA International Formula 3000 Championship after he led every lap of the race April 28.

Derek Hill from the United States finished 16th.

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Berger pays tribute: Gerhard Berger has fond memories of Michele Alboreto, who was his teammate at Ferrari in 1987 and 1988. Alboreto, who competed in 194 Grands Prix between 1981 and 1994 and won five times, died in a crash April 25 while testing a Le Mans prototype sports car in Germany.

"I remember a good friend and a gentleman who was also one of the best drivers in the 1980s," Berger said. "We had two years together at Ferrari, and those were fun even though the team was going through difficult times. He had a sense of humor and was fun to be with. He had a passion for racing."

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Driver still important: The new electronic driver aids such as traction control that are now legal will not detract from the driver's input and skills, McLaren director Ron Dennis said.

"You will not eliminate the ability of the drivers," he said. "Braking, accelerating, conserving tires and all of these things are not going to be taken away from the driver. All that is happening is that the car is becoming a little bit more sophisticated, and that will allow the driver to explore other limits within the racing car."

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Stars visit: Hollywood stars Michael Douglas and Catherine Zeta-Jones were guests of the West McLaren-Mercedes team. Grand Prix motorcycle ace Loris Capirossi was also a guest of the team.

-IMS

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About this article
Series Formula 1
Drivers Juan Pablo Montoya
Teams Ferrari , Mercedes , Sauber , McLaren , Williams , Benetton , Minardi , Jaguar Racing , Jordan