Benson and Hedges Jordan Honda scored three valuable championship points today when Jarno Trulli took an excellent fourth place at Indianapolis. Jean Alesi just missed out on a point after a strong drive into seventh place. "I'm very happy,"...
Benson and Hedges Jordan Honda scored three valuable championship points today when Jarno Trulli took an excellent fourth place at Indianapolis. Jean Alesi just missed out on a point after a strong drive into seventh place.
"I'm very happy," said Trulli. "It's a good day for us, for the team, because we got important points in the Constructors' Championship. We've had a lot of bad luck this season during the races, so it feels really satisfying to finish a race and bring home three points, which are vital to our championship fight. I pushed really hard because it's a tough race and I wanted to open as much of a gap as possible but I also just wanted to have a steady race to try and avoid any problems. In fact, the car worked very well and this, combined with a good strategy and a great job by the team in the pits, meant I was in the top six and ready to take advantage of problems others might have. We set up the car with the race in mind and it worked really well. I'm really happy."
Trulli held ninth until lap 10, when he gained a place, moving into the top six when the pit stops began around lap 24. Trulli made his one scheduled stop on lap 39, rejoining in ninth place and gradually moving forward, taking sixth place on lap 48. A late pit stop for Irvine's Jaguar gave Trulli fifth and he moved into fourth when Barrichello's Ferrari suffered an engine failure on the penultimate lap.
Alesi was 11th in the early stages, then running as high as seventh before his scheduled stop on lap 37. The reliability of his car served Alesi well as he eventually regained seventh place.
"I really enjoyed my 200th Grand Prix with some great racing and overtaking today, although I am disappointed to have finished just outside of a points position," said Alesi. "Unfortunately I didn't have a very good start, so lost a few places at the beginning. Running on new tyres was also quite hard going and it's a shame I couldn't find enough speed to finish in the top six. I pushed the car to the limit and gave my maximum effort today, as always. I am so happy for Jarno to have scored three points today. He has had so much bad luck this season that he and the team deserve this great result."
"We are all delighted with today's result and to have two cars finish in strong positions," said Eddie Jordan, Chief Executive. "Jarno drove an incredible race to score some well deserved points for himself and the team and Jean's performance was as commendable as ever. This has given the team a great morale boost and solid platform to build on for the final race of the season in Suzuka, in our quest to achieve fourth place in the championship."
The race was won by Mika Hakkinen, his second victory this season, plus third place for David Coulthard, giving McLaren their first podium for both drivers in 2001. Michael Schumacher took second, the sole Ferrari to finish after Rubens Barrichello lost second with an engine failure. Barrichello took the lead from Schumacher on lap five but a two-stop strategy for the Brazilian dropped him down the order as the rest of the leaders ran on a one-stop tactic. Juan Pablo Montoya, after a slow start, took the lead from Schumacher on lap 34 but stopped a few laps later with hydraulics failure.
Hakkinen, meanwhile, was running a long first stint and managed to maintain the lead he had gained when Schumacher made his scheduled stop on lap 39. Fifteen of the 22 starters were classified at the end of the 73-lap race, run in sunny, warm conditions.
Coulthard's third place and Barrichello's retirement means the Scotsman maintains his second place in the championship with one race to go.
Trulli's fourth place moved Jordan ahead of BAR Honda in the Constructor's Championship and just two points behind Sauber in fourth place.
The 17th and final round of the FIA Formula One World Championship will be the Japanese Grand Prix at Suzuka on 14 October.