French GP Coulthard closes gap on Schumacher with victory in France

MAGNY-COURS, France, Sunday, July 2, 2000 -- David Coulthard took a 10-point bite out of Michael Schumacher’s lead in the Formula One World Championship after scoring a victory in the French Grand Prix on July 2 while Schumacher failed to ...

MAGNY-COURS, France, Sunday, July 2, 2000 -- David Coulthard took a 10-point bite out of Michael Schumacher’s lead in the Formula One World Championship after scoring a victory in the French Grand Prix on July 2 while Schumacher failed to finish.

Coulthard’s third win of the season came after a weekend when his West McLaren-Mercedes suffered a succession of technical problems in practice but ran strongly in the race. Schumacher had qualified his Ferrari on the pole and led the all but one of the first 39 laps before retiring with an engine problem. “It’s certainly been an exhausting weekend,” Coulthard said. “When you want to win races it is very difficult not to care about problems like we had, because every one of them takes a little bit out of you. That is my excuse for reacting in the way I did when Michael tried to run me off the circuit.” Coulthard and Schumacher battled fiercely for the lead, and Coulthard had gestured at Schumacher when he felt he was unfairly cut off. On Lap 40, Coulthard finally got by, and although the right front wheel of the Ferrari bounced off the left rear wheel of the McLaren, both cars continued unscathed. Coulthard went on to win ahead of his teammate Mika Hakkinen and Ferrari’s Rubens Barrichello. After nine of 17 races, Schumacher leads the championship with 56 points, while Coulthard is second with 44 points and Hakkinen third with 38 points. Schumacher snatched the lead at the start while Barrichello grabbed second and held Coulthard and Hakkinen at bay. Coulthard passed Barrichello on Lap 22 and closed in on Schumacher. The midpoint of the race saw an intense battle for the lead between Schumacher and Coulthard, while Hakkinen and Barrichello trailed closely behind. Afterward, Coulthard questioned some of Schumacher’s moves in defending the lead. Once Coulthard took over first, he pulled away. Hakkinen passed Schumacher just before the latter retired with engine woes. Jacques Villeneuve scored the first points in six races for the Lucky Strike BAR-Honda team by finishing fourth ahead of Ralf Schumacher’s Williams-BMW and Jarno Trulli’s Benson & Hedges Jordan-Mugen-Honda. Coulthard averaged 116.258 mph (187.100 km/h) to finish the 72-lap, 190.068-mile (305.886-km) race in one hour, 38 minutes and 5.538 seconds. His margin of victory was 14.748 seconds.

-IRNLS/IMS-

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About this article
Series Formula 1
Drivers Ralf Schumacher , Michael Schumacher , David Coulthard , Mika Hakkinen , Jacques Villeneuve
Teams Ferrari , Mercedes , McLaren , Williams , Jordan