RACE REPORT: BRITISH GRAND PRIX Coulthard ends drought with 'home' victory; M. Schumacher breaks leg in crash SILVERSTONE, England, July 11, 1999 -- David Coulthard held off Eddie Irvine to win the British Grand Prix and score his fifth career...
RACE REPORT: BRITISH GRAND PRIX Coulthard ends drought with 'home' victory; M. Schumacher breaks leg in crash
SILVERSTONE, England, July 11, 1999 -- David Coulthard held off Eddie Irvine to win the British Grand Prix and score his fifth career Formula One victory and his first since the San Marino Grand Prix in April 1998. It was also the first time that Scotland's Coulthard had won at "home" in the Grand Prix of Great Britain. "I have to say that this is definitely the best feeling I have ever had in my racing career," Coulthard said. "This has always been the one that I would trade for any other win." Two-time World Champion Michael Schumacher, second in points this season, suffered a broken right leg in a first-lap crash of his Ferrari. It's not known yet when Schumacher will be able to race again. Northern Ireland's Irvine chased Coulthard's West McLaren-Mercedes to the checkered flag, but superior pit work by the McLaren crew meant that their car crossed the finish line 1.829 seconds ahead of the Ferrari. Ralf Schumacher took third in his Winfield Williams-Supertec. Coulthard averaged 124.255 mph (199.970 km/h) to complete the 60-lap, 191.566-mile (308.296-km) race in one hour, 32 minutes and 30.144 seconds. The first start of the race had to be aborted after Michael Schumacher's Ferrari hit a tire-lined wall head on. "Michael had an accident on the opening lap because of a problem with the rear brakes," said Ferrari's sporting director Jean Todt. "We are investigating the cause. Michael has broken the tibia and fibula of the right leg. He (underwent) an operation at Northhampton General Hospital." The restart was a bonus to 1995 Indianapolis 500 winner Jacques Villeneuve, who had stalled with gearbox problems but was now able to use the spare car. Villeneuve's British American Racing crew chose a one-stop strategy, and the Canadian headed for a top-six finish when his car suddenly stopped at the midpoint of the 60-lap race. Two-time CART champ Alex Zanardi also stalled at the first start. He would eventually end up 11th in his Winfield Williams-Supertec. Pole sitter Mika Hakkinen led from the start in his West McLaren-Mercedes but had problems with a loose left-rear wheel, which eventually flew off. Luckily, he was near pit entrance and managed to skate his car in on three wheels. Although Hakkinen returned to the race, the team eventually called him in for safety reasons. Irvine now led with Coulthard second, but Coulthard took over first when Irvine overshot his pit. Coulthard held on to give McLaren its first British Grand Prix victory since 1989. Benson & Hedges Jordan-Mugen-Honda teammates Heinz-Harald Frentzen and Damon Hill took fourth and fifth, respectively, while Pedro Diniz rounded out the top six in his Red Bull Sauber-Petronas.
DAVID COULTHARD (West McLaren-Mercedes, winner): "It was more nerve-wracking than any race at any other point in my career, because it had been such a long since I had a win. And with Mika (Hakkinen) out of the race, I obviously knew that the whole team was relying on me to score those points. It is completely down to my mechanics, who both times managed to get me out in front of Eddie (Irvine). Otherwise we were pretty evenly matched."
EDDIE IRVINE (Ferrari, second): "The first time I came into the pits when the McLaren guys were already waiting for their driver. Once I had got past them I suddenly realized how close my guys were to them, and it was pretty obvious that I wasn't going to be able to get stopped in time to get into my pit in the right position. I just overshot, which is why they weren't immediately able to get the fuel hose on the nozzle, and ultimately that (mistake) cost us the race."
RALF SCHUMACHER (Winfield Williams-Supertec, third): "The team kept me informed during the race about what was happening to (brother) Michael. At the end of the day, we are professionals. But as soon as I heard that he was basically OK, I was reasonably happy with that and I could drive my race."
DAMON HILL (B&H Jordan Mugen-Honda, fifth): "There was a lot of pressure before the race, so I am very happy to have come through the trials and tribulations to finish fifth. The plan now is to have a few beers and think about the future. I'm not going to make any decisions (about my retirement) today."
MIKA HAKKINEN (West McLaren-Mercedes, retired lap 36): "My left-rear wheel came off. Fortunately, I was at the entrance to the pit lane and was able to pit immediately. However, despite going back out again, the team came on the radio and told me they had decided that I should retire to eliminate any potential risk."
ALEX ZANARDI (Winfield Williams-Supertec, 11th): "I'm glad to have finished the race, but of course I'm not excited about my performance. I will have to work on this and try to improve."
JACQUES VILLENEUVE (British American Racing-Supertec, retired lap 30): "When the Safety Car came out, I was feeling pretty confident as I was on a one-stop strategy, and this gave us a good chance to finish in the points. I don't know why the car suddenly stopped. It's obvious that our reliability problem is still not fully sorted."
*** FINAL RESULTS:
SILVERSTONE, England -- Results of the British Grand Prix, with starting position in parentheses, driver, home country, make of car, laps completed and reasons out, if any, over the 3.193-mile Silverstone course: 1. (3) David Coulthard, Scotland, McLaren, 60 2. (4) Eddie Irvine, Northern Ireland, Ferrari, 60 3. (8) Ralf Schumacher, Germany, Williams, 60 4. (5) Heinz-Harald Frentzen, Germany, Jordan, 60 5. (6) Damon Hill, England, Jordan, 60 6. (12) Pedro Diniz, Brazil, Sauber, 60 7. (17) Giancarlo Fisichella, Italy, Benetton, 60 8. (7) Rubens Barrichello, Brazil, Stewart-Ford, 60 9. (14) Jarno Trulli, Italy, Prost, 60 10. (18) Alexander Wurz, Austria, Benetton, 60 11. (13) Alessandro Zanardi, Italy, Williams, 60 12. (11)Johnny Herbert, England, Stewart-Ford, 60 13. (15) Olivier Panis, France, Prost, 60 14. (10) Jean Alesi, France, Sauber, 59 15. (22) Marc Gene, Spain, Minardi, 58 16. (19) Toranosuke Takagi, Japan, Arrows, 58 17. (16) Ricardo Zonta, Brazil, British American, 41, suspension 18. (1) Mika Hakkinen, Finland, McLaren, 35, wheel 19. (9) Jacques Villeneuve, Canada, British American, 29, malfunction 20. (21) Luca Badoer, Italy, Minardi, 6, gearbox 21. (20) Pedro de la Rosa, Spain, Arrows, 0, gearbox 22. (2) Michael Schumacher, Germany, Ferrari, 0, accident
Time of race: 1 hour, 32 minutes, 30.144 seconds. Margin of victory: 1.829-seconds. Winner's average speed: 124.253 mph. Lap leaders: Hakkinen 1-24; Irvine 25-26; Coulthard 27-42; Frentzen 43-44; Hill 45; Coulthard 46-60.
Drivers: Hakkinen 40; M. Schumacher 32; Irvine 32; Frentzen 26; Coulthard 22; R. Schumacher 19; Fisichella 13; Barrichello 10; Hill 5; Herbert 2; Diniz 2; de la Rosa 1; Panis 1; Alesi 1; Wurz 1; Trulli 1. Constructors: Ferrari 64; McLaren-Mercedes 62; Jordan-Mugen-Honda 31; Williams-Supertec 19; Benetton-Playlife 14; Stewart-Ford 12; Sauber 3; Prost 2; Arrows 1.
*** NEWS and NOTES:
Hill's final decision: Damon Hill refused to discuss his future despite a Team Jordan press release June 30 which stated: "Hill confirmed today to ... Eddie Jordan that he will drive his last Grand Prix for Benson and Hedges Jordan at Silverstone ... on Sunday 11 July." Hill said he would make an announcement Monday.
*** Mercedes-Benz buys share of Team McLaren: DaimlerChrysler is set to acquire 40 percent of the shares in the TAG McLaren Group. One of the products of the new partnership will be a joint-effort to design and build a road-going super sports car called the SLR Mercedes-Benz McLaren. Mercedes and McLaren are partners, so Mercedes-Benz has no intention of obtaining more shares of McLaren, said Jurgen Hubbert, a board member at Mercedes-Benz. "We don't need the majority to come to a common understanding to solutions and decisions," Hubbert said. McLaren's Ron Dennis, who will now become chairman and chief executive officer of TAG McLaren, said the F1 team would maintain its independence. "One of the prerequisites was that we should not have anything that is put into place that detracts from the entrepreneurial spirit in the (McLaren) organization," Dennis said. "We must be free to react quickly, excel in the things that we are good at, and push faster than any large organization can." As for the TAG McLaren Group, Dennis will own 30 percent, TAG's Mansour Ojjeh share will drop to 30 percent with DaimlerChrysler taking up the final 40 percent. The new partnership will not affect McLaren's F1 budget, and the F1 team will remain the core of McLaren's identity.
*** Ferrari talks: Stewart-Ford star Rubens Barrichello has confirmed that he is talking to Ferrari about a drive next season. "The truth is that I'm talking to them," Barrichello said, "and I'm talking to Jackie (Stewart). There is no decision yet. I haven't signed anything yet."
*** Arrows gets new power: Arrows will use Supertec engines in 2000. "While our own Arrows V10 has made improvements in both speed and reliability for the 1999 season," team director Tom Walkinshaw said, "I believe that to compete at the front of the grid it is necessary to have an engine which has been developed by a major manufacturer."
*** Air traffic: Because of the traffic jams, many people travel to the Silverstone circuit with one of the many helicopter services. On Sunday, Silverstone becomes the busiest airport in the world with 3,900 air traffic "movements."
*** Big crowd: Total attendance for the four-day weekend was 282,000.
*** Heavy wet: Bridgestone has developed a "heavy wet" tire to deal with extremely heavy rain conditions such as seen in qualifying for the recent French Grand Prix. While Bridgestone will continue to recommend its regular rain tire for racing in wet conditions, the "heavy wet" will now be an option on all race weekends.
*** Celebrities: Prince Harry, brother of the future King of England, Prince William, was in the paddock along with ex-Beatle George Harrison, two-time Indianapolis 500 winner and two-time World Champion Emerson Fittipaldi, Sarah, the Duchess of York, actor Joseph Fiennes and Jody Scheckter -- who in 1979 was the last driver to win the World Championship driving a Ferrari.
*** Out of this world: British Grand Prix winner David Coulthard recently had a chance to play astronaut when he went to Moscow for a stint in the Mir space-station simulator. "To do the weightless experience and all the things that go with it was out of this world," Coulthard said. "It was an experience that you could only get by going there."
*** New winner: Nicolas Minassia led from pole position to win his first-ever FIA International Formula 3000 race. Bruno Junqueira finished second in the Silverstone race followed by points leader Nick Heidfeld.