David Coulthard gains ground with victory in Monaco

MONACO, Sunday, June 4, 2000 -- David Coulthard won the prestigious Monaco Grand Prix in his West McLaren-Mercedes after taking the lead from Michael Schumacher, who dominated the first two-thirds of the race in his Ferrari before suspension...

MONACO, Sunday, June 4, 2000 -- David Coulthard won the prestigious Monaco Grand Prix in his West McLaren-Mercedes after taking the lead from Michael Schumacher, who dominated the first two-thirds of the race in his Ferrari before suspension damage eliminated him from the race. Coulthard’s eighth career Grand Prix victory rounded out a collection of Formula One races that he has always wanted to win. “I have always said there was a handful of races that I wanted to win,” Coulthard said: “Spa-Francorchamps (the Belgian Grand Prix), because it is my favorite track. The British Grand Prix, of course, because it is my home race. The Italian Grand Prix, because there is nothing quite like an Italian crowd for F1. And Monaco, because technically this is one of the most difficult and challenging tracks for any driver. “OK, so today I benefited from the problems which hit Michael Schumacher and Jarno Trulli. But that is Monaco, and I have had my own fair share of bad luck here over the years. So I am more than happy to take this win here today.” Rubens Barrichello finished second in his Ferrari, 15.889 seconds behind Coulthard, while Giancarlo Fisichella took third in his Mild Seven Benetton-Playlife. Eddie Irvine scored the first points of the year for Jaguar Cosworth by coming home fourth, ahead of Mika Salo’s Red Bull Sauber-Petronas. Mika Hakkinen, who had to make a long pit stop because a data transmitter got caught in the pedals of his McLaren-Mercedes, still managed to finish sixth and earn a valuable point. After seven of 17 races, Schumacher, who failed to finish in the points for the first time this year, leads the World Championship with 46 points. Coulthard is now in second place with 34 points followed by Hakkinen with 29 points. Ferrari still leads the Constructors Championship with 68 points, but McLaren-Mercedes has closed to within five points with its score of 63. The 58th Monaco Grand Prix had to be started three times before it finally got underway. Alexander Wurz caused the first start to be aborted when he stalled his Benetton-Playlife on the grid. A computer fault caused the red lights (that abort the race start) to come on at the start/finish line but not elsewhere around the track just after the second start. In the confusion, Jenson Button’s Williams-BMW collided with Pedro de la Rosa’s Orange Arrows-Supertec at the Grand Hotel Hairpin. They blocked the track and created a traffic jam and several drivers stalled their cars. As a result, Button, Ricardo Zonta, Nick Heidfeld, Pedro Diniz and Marc Gene all had to run back to the pits. Gaston Mazzacane and Jacques Villeneuve were able to drive back to the pits. The accident brought out the red flags around the rest of the circuit. Wurz, Heidfeld, Button and Gene all started in their spare cars, but had to do so from the pit lane because they did not get out on the grid in time. With no spare car available, de la Rosa did not start. Starting from the pole for the 25th time in his career, Schumacher blasted into the lead and immediately began to pull away from Trulli’s Benson & Hedges Jordan-Mugen-Honda and Coulthard’s McLaren-Mercedes that were involved in a duel for second place. Further back, Heinz-Harald Frentzen in his Jordan-Mugen-Honda fended off Hakkinen’s McLaren-Mercedes and Ralf Schumacher’s Williams-BMW. Setting 13 fastest race laps in the first 15 laps, Michael Schumacher pulled out a comfortable lead. He looked set to win his fifth Monaco Grand Prix but had to retire after leading 55 laps because of suspension damage caused by heat from a broken exhaust. Ralf Schumacher was one of several drivers to crash in the first turn. He was taken to Princess Grace Hospital in Monte Carlo to be treated for a cut in his left calf. Coulthard, now in second place after Trulli retired with a gearbox problem, went on to win his first Monaco Grand Prix. Frentzen looked set to finish second but crashed with eight laps to go. Only 10 of the 21 starters were classed as finishers. Winner Coulthard averaged 89.522 mph (144.072 km/h) to complete the 78-lap, 129.704-mile (262.86-km) race in one hour, 49 minutes and 28.213 seconds.

QUOTEBOOK:

DAVID COULTHARD (West McLaren-Mercedes, winner): “I thought there would be an opportunity to pass Jarno (Trulli), and it was just a matter of how far down the road it would be. My car felt good thanks to my engineers, who did a great job on the setup and then made an adjustment to it on the grid, which really helped the balance. That meant I was able to run quick lap times as and when I wanted to.”

RUBENS BARRICHELLO (Ferrari, second): “I had such a bad qualifying because I took a wrong decision, then I was (hindered) by my bad start, as well. After that, the race was a matter of catching up the whole time. I was conserving tires and fuel for much of the time, and it was unlucky that we didn’t do one more lap after Frentzen (who pitted on the same lap), because I think we were faster than him. (After the stops) I was catching up with him again, and once I almost went into the barriers before the tunnel. But I was still pushing hard, until in the end (technical director) Ross (Brawn) told me to back off because there was a problem and I needed to stay at low revs.”

GIANCARLO FISICHELLA (Mild Seven Benetton-Playlife, third): “The target was always to score some points, and my dream was to get on the podium. The car had very good balance, but around 45 laps I had a puncture in a rear tire, which forced me to make my pit stop about 10 laps earlier than expected. That cost me seven or eight seconds. But at the end, on new tires, I was quite confident again. There was good balance and I was pushing very hard, enough to be catching Rubens (Barrichello).”

EDDIE IRVINE (Jaguar-Cosworth, fourth): “I’m really pleased for the guys. Together we have all been slogging away and not getting any payback, but the car has been good all weekend, and I had a good feeling about the race if I kept it clean. It was a big struggle, one of the hardest races of my life. The steering was getting very heavy toward the end. I was suffering dehydration because my drink bottle was not working, and my foot was badly blistered. But I will worry about that tomorrow! It’s just great to put Jaguar’s name on the scoreboard.”

MIKA SALO (Red Bull Sauber-Petronas, fifth): “I knew that Mika (Hakkinen) was closing, of course, but I can tell you that there was no way anybody was coming past me in those final laps. I knew that he would find it very tough to overtake here, but I made extra sure I didn’t leave the slightest gap or make any mistakes.”

MIKA HAKKINEN (West McLaren-Mercedes, sixth): “I experienced some problems with the car. First of all with brake pedal, which we fixed in the first pit stop, and then toward the end I had some trouble with the gearbox and had to back off.”

JACQUES VILLENEUVE (Lucky Strike British American Racing-Honda, seventh): “There is no consolation to finish seventh today. In fact, it is very frustrating to miss out on a point after the huge amount of work that goes into a race weekend. I did feel it was possible to finish sixth from starting 17th today.”

MICHAEL SCHUMACHER (Ferrari, retired while leading on Lap 55): “I had a problem with the exhaust pipe that damaged the left rear suspension. I felt a few laps before that something was wrong, but there was nothing I could do about it.”

HEINZ-HARALD FRENTZEN (Benson & Hedges Jordan-Mugen-Honda, retired from second place on Lap 70): “The car was running superbly. I just lost it under braking. It was my mistake. I pushed to hard and went off.”

***

<pre> FINAL RESULTS:

MONACO -- Results Sunday of the Grand Prix of Monaco on the 2.094-mile temporary road circuit, with driver, country, make, laps completed and time: 1. David Coulthard, Britain, McLaren-Mercedes, 78, 1 hour, 49 minutes, 28.213 seconds, 89.522 mph. 2. Rubens Barrichello, Brazil, Ferrari, 78, 1:49:44.102. 3. Giancarlo Fisichella, Italy, Benetton, 78, 1:49.46.735. 4. Eddie Irvine, Britain, Jaguar, 78, 1:50:34.137. 5. Mika Salo, Finland, Sauber, 78, 1:50:48.988. 6. Mika Hakkinen, Finland, McLaren-Mercedes, 77. 7. Jacques Villeneuve, Canada, BAR-Honda, 77. 8. Nick Heidfeld, Prost-Peugeot, Germany, 77. 9. Johnny Herbert, Britain, Jaguar, 76. 10. Heinz-Harald Frentzen, Germany, Jordan, 70, accident. Not classified Jos Verstappen, Netherlands, Arrows, 60, accident. Michael Schumacher, Germany, Ferrari, 55, rear suspension. Ricardo Zonta, Brazil, BAR-Honda, 48, accident. Ralf Schumacher, Germany, BMW-Williams, 37, accident. Jarno Trulli, Italy, Jordan, 36, gearbox. Pedro Diniz, Brazil, Sauber, 30, accident. Jean Alesi, France, Prost-Peugeot, 29, transmission. Gaston Mazzacane, Argentina, Minardi, 22, accident. Marc Gene, Spain, Minardi, 21, gearbox. Alexander Wurz, Austria, Benetton, 18, accident. Jenson Button, Britain, BMW-Williams, 16, throttle. Pedro de la Rosa, Spain, Arrows, did not start. Lap leaders: M. Schumacher 1-55, Coulthard 56-78.

***

POINTS:

Drivers: M. Schumacher 46, Coulthard 34, Hakkinen 29, Barrichello 22, Fisichella 14, R. Schumacher 12, Frentzen 5, Villeneuve 5, Trulli 4, Irvine 3, Button 3, Salo 3, Zonta 1, de la Rosa 1.

Constructors: Ferrari 68, McLaren-Mercedes 63, Williams-BMW 15, Benetton-Playlife 14, Jordan-Mugen-Honda 9, British American Racing-Honda 6, Jaguar-Cosworth 3, Sauber-Petronas 3, Arrows-Mecachrome 1.

***

</pre> NEWS and NOTES:

Alesi’s gift: Jean Alesi threw his helmet into the crowd Thursday morning. “Sometimes it is nice to do this sort of thing,” he said. “The public here is fantastic.”

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Slower speeds: The pit lane speed limit on race day is normally 50 mph (80 km/h) but because Monaco’s pit lane is so narrow the limit is 37 mph (60 km/h).

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New colors: Michael Schumacher has changed his helmet colors to a predominately red paint scheme. His old helmet livery of blue, white and red looked similar to the helmet worn by his new teammate, Rubens Barrichello, and that caused confusion.

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Formula One benefits economy: A study by the University of Malaysia concluded that the 1999 Malaysian Grand Prix injected $140 million into the country’s economy. Most of that came from overseas visitors who attended the race.

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Close battle: Ferrari’s technical director Ross Brawn is predicting a closely fought battle for the championship between McLaren-Mercedes and Ferrari.

“I am expecting a closely fought, up-and-down season,” Brawn said. “Our people are not overconfident, but there is a good feeling in the team. Rubens (Barrichello) has settled in very well, and Michael is driving well. This is probably the best car we have produced since we have been together at Ferrari.

“But it won’t be easy by any means -- and even the Nurburgring was a close win. You can say we are quietly confident without becoming complacent.”

***

Villeneuve’s run: Jacques Villeneuve’s Lucky Strike BAR-Honda broke down at the far end of the circuit during qualifying. Still wearing his helmet and driver suit, he ran the 1.2-mile (1.9-km) distance in eight minutes flat. The crowd, who watched the entire run on the big-screen TVs, gave Villeneuve a standing ovation when he arrived beneath the packed grandstands behind the pits. It was, Villeneuve said, like entering the stadium at the end of a marathon.

Jenson Button, Ricardo Zonta, Nick Heidfeld, Pedro Diniz and Marc Gene all had to run a similar distance back to the pits after getting stalling their cars in the traffic jam caused by an accident at the Grand Hotel Hairpin during the attempted start of the race.

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Junqueira wins F3000 race: Brazil’s Bruno Junqueira won Monaco’s FIA Formula 3000 on Saturday. Jaime Davies and David Saelens finished second and third, respectively.

Junqueira leads the championship with 38 points. Nicolas Minassian is second with 18 points.

-IMS-

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About this article
Series Formula 1
Drivers Eddie Irvine , Giancarlo Fisichella , Jarno Trulli , Jenson Button , Ralf Schumacher , Gaston Mazzacane , Pedro de la Rosa , Jos Verstappen , Johnny Herbert , Michael Schumacher , Heinz-Harald Frentzen , Rubens Barrichello , Jean Alesi , David Coulthard , Mika Hakkinen , Jacques Villeneuve , Nick Heidfeld , Ricardo Zonta , David Saelens , Bruno Junqueira , Nicolas Minassian , Marc Gene , Alexander Wurz , Mika Salo , Ross Brawn , Pedro Diniz
Teams Ferrari , Mercedes , Sauber , McLaren , Williams , Benetton , British American Racing , Minardi , Jordan