Monaco may be renowned for being possibly the most famous circuit on the F1 calendar, but it is also established as a very difficult circuit where anything can happen. This was certainly the case at this incident packed Grand Prix. The race got...
Monaco may be renowned for being possibly the most famous circuit on the F1 calendar, but it is also established as a very difficult circuit where anything can happen. This was certainly the case at this incident packed Grand Prix.
The race got underway on time with a very good start for most, although Pedro Diniz (Sauber) stalled. On the first lap the race was red flagged however due to an incident between Orange Arrows driver, Pedro de la Rosa, and Williams' Jenson Button, where Pedro was pushed into a spin which blocked the pack behind him. The cars re-formed on the grid to re-start the race, but unfortunately without Pedro. He was unable to use the spare car as he was driving it for the race, due to an earlier accident in his race car during warm-up in the morning and the team not having time to fully repair his race car for use as a spare car if needed. The Orange Arrows team had further disappointment when Jos Verstappen, who appeared to be having a good race and moved up from 15th to 9th, suffered a 360 degree spin by the swimming pool into a concrete wall on lap 60, but was fortunately unharmed. Jos Verstappen and Pedro Diniz engaged in a fantastic driving battle for the first part of the race, but Jos managed to retain his position.
Pole position went to Michael Schumacher, with Jordan's Jarno Trulli in second and David Coulthard in third. Jordan were looking set for a good race with Heinz- Harald Frentzen starting in 4th behind his team mate and Mika Hakkinenen uncharacteristically started surprisingly lower on the grid than normal in 5th, where he remained for the first 35 laps before pitting. He then continued between 9th and 7th positions until lap 70 when Frentzen (Jordan) crashed out enabling Hakkinen to move into points and come 6th in the race. Michael Schumacher had a very rare mechanical problem with his car for the first time in 32 races, where he limped around the circuit for one lap before coming into the pits on lap 56 where a left exhaust problem was diagnosed, causing the rear suspension to crack and break. He was leading the race until this point, which enabled David Coulthard to take the lead to the chequered flag to claim his second win of the season and first win in Monaco.
Benetton had problems initially when Alexander Wurz's engine blew up on the formation lap before the race was re-started, but were luckily able to set up the spare car for him (it was set up for Fisichella) because of the additional time due to the race re-starting. Alexander Wurz, Nick Heidfeld and Jenson Button also all had to re-start the race from the pit lane.
This race was also a celebration for Jaguar, with Eddie Irvine's 4th giving Jaguar their first points for the season. Jaguar and Mclaren were also the only teams to achieve a double finish, with both cars finishing the race.
The first corner proved to be a force to be reckoned with, as it claimed 5 victims during the race as they crashed out by hitting the barrier. The first was Wurz on lap 18, second Gene on lap 21, Zonta at lap 48, and Frentzen on lap 70. The worst case at this corner though was for Ralf Schumacher on lap 37, who suffered a 7cm cut to his left calf in the crash and was taken to the Princess Grace Hospital in Monte Carlo for further checking. At the time of the crash he was running in 4th.