Budapest, August 15, 1999 - British American Racing went farther than ever before this season at today's Hungarian Grand Prix, with Ricardo Zonta finishing his third race and Jacques Villeneuve reaching the 60th lap (of 77) before clutch failure...
Budapest, August 15, 1999 - British American Racing went farther than ever before this season at today's Hungarian Grand Prix, with Ricardo Zonta finishing his third race and Jacques Villeneuve reaching the 60th lap (of 77) before clutch failure ended his race.
Villeneuve drove the firs t part of the race with a damaged front wing but was still able to lap quickly until his first pit stop on lap 24. He maintained a claim on 12th position, moving up to 10th as other drivers pitted late, before his clutch failed on lap 61, just after his second pit stop.
Ricardo Zonta could have finished higher up, if not for an extra stop due to a problem with his refuelling rig. Zonta came in for his first stop on lap 29, and a problem with the refuelling hose forced him to return for fuel on lap 33. An overheating engine towards the latter part of the race also forced him to back off in order to make sure of the finish.
Pole-sitter Mika Hakkinen proved once again that the Hungaroring is not a circuit where drivers go to pass, making a clean start and leading from wire-to-wire, never challenged by the field. His team-mate David Coulthard made it a 1-2 race for McLaren, fighting tooth-and-nail from third position with Eddie Irvine of Ferrari, before the Ulsterman went wide on a chicane on lap 61, allowing the Scot a chance to pass.
The 16 points (10 for first, six for second) propelled McLaren closer to Ferrari in the Constructors' Championship, as they now trail by only four points, 94-90. Hakkinen, the defending World Champion, also moved up on Irvine, who leads 56-54 over the Finn in the Drivers' Championship with five races to go.
The next race is the Belgian Grand Prix, on Sunday, August 29.
JACQUES VILLENEUVE - Retired lap 60 "I was sandwiched between Alexander Wurz (Benetton) and Rubens Barrichello (Stewart) at the start, banged a few wheels, and got a broken front wing, which meant lots of understeer and hard going in the traffic. In the end I stopped because I lost drive. It's very frustrating to have another retirement after I went so far in the race, but there'll be another one and soon I'm going to finish."
RICARDO ZONTA - 13th "The race was OK and the car performed well. I was catching Mika Salo in the Ferrari at the end but the team told me to drop the revs because of the high engine temperature. It's a shame about the extra pit stop because maybe I could have finished in the top 10. Hungary was a good learning weekend for me, and I want to thank the guys for all of their support."
CRAIG POLLOCK, President & CEO, British American Racing "It's disappointing that only one car finished as both drivers were putting in very good lap times during the race. Jacques did not make a good start, and then was stuck behind Herbert and slipping back and back with no way to overtake. On the positive front, our reliability is definitely picking up and this is very encouraging. Ricardo did a strong job after all the difficulties he'd had this weekend."
MALCOM OASTLER, Technical Director, British American Racing "We had a small technical problem with both cars - clutch with Jacques, and refuelling with Ricardo. Both the drivers and the team did a good job today, and the problems we had today will not recur. I am looking forward to the next race."