Consolidating on his fine qualifying performance and taking advantage of the reliability of his Jordan-Honda, Heinz-Harald Frentzen took an emotional victory in the Italian Grand Prix at Monza. The 32 year old German made no mistakes at the...
Consolidating on his fine qualifying performance and taking advantage of the reliability of his Jordan-Honda, Heinz-Harald Frentzen took an emotional victory in the Italian Grand Prix at Monza. The 32 year old German made no mistakes at the start to hold his second place on the grid, taking command of the race when Mika Hakkinen -- then holding an eight second lead -- spun off the road after 29 of the event's 53 laps. Ralf Schumacher also took advantage of the incident to secure a popular 2nd place for the much-improved Williams-Supertec team. With three races still to go, Frentzen's victory suddenly makes him a possible championship for the drivers' world championship, in which he now holds 3rd place with 50 points, only ten behind joint leaders Mika Hakkinen and Eddie Irvine. The massed Ferrari fans cheered Mika Salo to an unexpected 3rd place. But the happiest man must be Irvine: despite being beaten into 6th place by the Stewart-Ford of Rubens Barrichello and the McLaren-Mercedes of David Coulthard, the Irish driver gained the point he needed to rejoin Hakkinen at the top of the championship table.
Yoshihiko Ichikawa, Bridgestone Motorsport Technical Manager: "Even in today's high temperatures (39 degrees on the track surface during the race), the Medium compound performed very well. As we had predicted, our tyres did not suffer from degradation. I offer congratulations not only to Ralf on his second place but also to the whole Williams team. They worked together so effectively, not only this weekend but also at last week's test, that I am not at all surprised to see them do well here. For the next two races at the Nurburgring and in Malaysia we are preparing our Soft and Extra Soft compounds (as used at Monaco and the Hungaroring). The final choice will come down to the skill of the teams in setting up their cars to ensure that the chosen compound performs at its best."
Mike Gascoyne, Technical Director, Jordan Grand Prix: "Exactly as expected and just as I predicted yesterday, the race was not very exciting - except when Heinz-Harald lost a place on the first lap and then managed to get it back. After that, we tried to keep pushing Mika's McLaren hard because we thought there was the possibility of a mistake. Fortunately for us, that was another prediction which came true. Heinz-Harald was super-consistent -- just like the tyres, in fact -- and we are all very satisfied with his great performance. He resisted the challenge from Ralf at the end and was able to cruise home to our second victory of the year."
Ignazio Lunetta, Mika Salo's engineers, Ferrari Team: "I believe that this race was rather monotonous, not only for us but for everybody else. Despite not being able to get a good result in qualifying we did not give up trying to improve our performance for the race. In fact the car seemed to be very well balanced today and once again Mika did a good job under difficult circumstances. For the future, our plan is to put in just the same effort as before, in the hope of improving our qualifying performance."
TEMPERATURES AIR TRACK WEATHER Morning 22º-25º 27º-29º Sunny - dry Afternoon 29º-29º 39º-37º Sunny - dry