Mika Hakkinen (McLaren) dominated the British Grand Prix to record his first win of the season - but Michael Schumacher (Ferrari) strengthened his grip on this year's world championship by finishing second. His closest rival David Coulthard spun...
Mika Hakkinen (McLaren) dominated the British Grand Prix to record his first win of the season - but Michael Schumacher (Ferrari) strengthened his grip on this year's world championship by finishing second. His closest rival David Coulthard spun out of contention at the first corner then ran off the track again on lap three, this time for good.
It is the first time that Hakkinen has won the British GP and it ends a drought that stretches back to last August, when he beat Schumacher in the Belgian GP.
Hakkinen opted to run a two-stop strategy that gave him the edge over both Ferrari drivers, who refuelled and changed tyres only once. He led the race from lap five onwards, when Schumacher ran wide at Copse Corner and handed the advantage to the Finn. Schumacher's team-mate Rubens Barrichello finished third.
Juan Pablo Montoya (BMW WilliamsF1 Team-Michelin) was the best Michelin finisher, in fourth place. The Colombian made a great start to rise from eighth to third on the opening lap and swept past Schumacher to take second place on lap 18. He subsequently took the lead when Hakkinen pitted for the first time on lap 21, but he became stuck in traffic when he rejoined the race. Later, after a second stop, he was unable to match his earlier pace and thus had to settle for fourth. His team-mate Ralf Schumacher also made a good start, to jump from 10th to fifth. He followed Barrichello throughout the first half of the race, but pulled off with a technical problem shortly after making his only scheduled fuel stop.
Eddie Irvine (Jaguar Racing-Michelin) was second best of the Michelin runners, in ninth place. Other Michelin drivers to make the finish were Jean Alesi (Prost-Acer-Michelin, 11th), Pedro de la Rosa (Jaguar Racing-Michelin, 12th), Giancarlo Fisichella (Mild Seven Benetton Renault Sport-Michelin, 13th), Jenson Button (Mild Sevn Benetton Renault Sport, 15th) and Fernando Alonso (European Minardi-Michelin, 16th). Fisichella recovered from a spectacular off-course excursion at Copse Corner on lap four to reach the chequered flag.
Luciano Burti (Prost Acer-Michelin) was the only Michelin driver not to finish. He pulled over on the pit straight after seven laps with a trail of smoke pluming from the rear of his car. European Minardi driver Tarso Marques did not take the start. He failed to lap within 107 per cent of the pole position time and was thus classified as a non-qualifier. The team appealed for dispensation to let him race, but this was declined.
Pierre Dupasquier (Motorsport Director) :
What do you make of Michelin's performance as a whole today?
"It was a very exciting race for us. Both Williams-BMW drivers made great starts and that allowed them to fight at the front of the field. We all saw what happened afterwards, which was a little disappointing, but the pace was certainly there. Eddie Irvine also posted some excellent lap times during the race, so in all I'd say we are fairly satisfied."
Were the changeable track conditions earlier in the weekend something of a handicap, given that this is your first season back in F1 and you need time to learn?
"Not really. We saw that the tyre options we brought with us were tuned to this track. What's more, they gave teams flexibility in terms of race strategy. BMW WilliamsF1 Team used the same tyre compound on both cars, yet was able to run both one- and two-stop strategies. One of our tyre options was raceable, although perhaps not at the level we would have wished. We will continue to work hard, but the gap between testing and the reality doesn't make things any easier."
In two weeks we go to Hockenheim: how hard is that likely to be on tyres?
"It is basically a much less abrasive track than Silverstone. With its long straights and the twisty stadium section, it is something of a case apart. We have a few days to decide which tyres we are going to take."