Ferrari and Irvine extend their lead Eddie Irvine moved one step closer to winning the World Championship with his third victory of the season, this time at the German Grand Prix. Michael Schumacher's absence undoubtedly disappointed many ...
Ferrari and Irvine extend their lead
Eddie Irvine moved one step closer to winning the World Championship with his third victory of the season, this time at the German Grand Prix. Michael Schumacher's absence undoubtedly disappointed many German fans, but a 1 - 2 finish from Ferrari and a third place for Jordan's German driver Heinz-Harald Frentzen, gave them plenty to celebrate.
Mika Salo was the unofficial 'driver of the day'. His superb drive for his new Ferrari team and gamesmanship in letting Irvine pass him to win valuable points for his World Championship fight will have earned him much respect. "Mika was a star today," said Irivne, "and he won the race. I will give him my trophy."
Fortunes did not shine on the McLaren Mercedes team. In stark contrast to their success here last year, they came away from the race with only 2 points, scored by David Coulthard's fifth place finish. Hakkinen will have to battle harder for the World Championship after crashing out heavily due to tyre failure on the 25th lap. He had been leading for 23 laps of the race, but spun out when his left hand rear tyre failed. Coulthard had to make an unscheduled pit stop at the start of the race after coliding with Salo, and later received a 10 second stop-go penalty for cutting across the inside of the chicane.
The Benson and Hedges Jordan team and Heinz-Harald Frentzen had yet another successful race, finishing in third place, the team and Frentzen's fourth podium finish of the season. With this result, Frentzen has overtaken Michael Schumacher in the World Championship and now lies in third place with 33 points. "I am really happy to finish on the podium and win points for the first time in Hockenheim," he said. "I have always wanted to do well here, and after qualifying well it is great to finish on the podium. The start was not so good and I had too much wheel spin compared with our competitors, which is something we need to work on. Mika (Salo) and David (Coulthard) came through and then Barichello overtook me. I struggled a little with a flat spot from the fifth lap onwards when I was trying to catch up with David, and then Eddie (Irvine) caught up with me so I came in for the pit stop one lap early. Unfortunately we lost our place against Eddie in the pits, although my stop had no problems. But to gain four points again is fantastic. We are now on target to take third place in the Championship and we are continuing to see how we can make even more improvements to the car."
Damon Hill had a disappointing day, taking the decision to abandon his race because he was not happy with his brakes. "I was finding it difficult to stop the car" he said, "and I locked up badly three times and thought it was pointless to continue. It has not been a good day. The team wanted me to continue but I am in the cockpit and I took the decision that it was not safe for me to carry on. I would have liked to have scored points and am very frustrated to have another race weekend without winning points." The Jordan team confirmed after the race that there had been no problems with Damon's brakes and that he had been running the same brakes as his team mate.
Ralf Schumacher gave another good performance, finishing in fourth place behind Frentzen. The two German drivers have scored points in seven out of ten races. There were failures elsewhere on the grid for Barrichello (hydraulic failure), Fisichella ((broken suspension) and Zanardi (mechanical problem). The Prost team scored its second point of the season thanks to a sixth place finish by Panis. Both BAR drivers failed to finish, Villeneuve crashing out at the start of the race after a collision with Diniz.