Jarno Trulli and Heinz-Harald Frentzen held second and fourth places during the first half of the Monaco Grand Prix. Trulli's race lasted until lap 36 when gearbox trouble forced his retirement. 'Obviously I am really disappointed after such a...
Jarno Trulli and Heinz-Harald Frentzen held second and fourth places during the first half of the Monaco Grand Prix. Trulli's race lasted until lap 36 when gearbox trouble forced his retirement.
'Obviously I am really disappointed after such a good weekend,' said Jarno. 'We hadn't made any mistakes and the mechanics had done such a good job. I was comfortably in second place as I was not pushing too much because I wanted to save the tyres. I was just careful of Coulthard behind me, but I was able to pull away from him when I had to. The car felt perfect but in the end there was a problem with the gearbox which ended my race. I really wanted to score points and have a good race, and this should have been my day, especially with Michael Schumacher's retirement - but it was not to be.'
Schumacher stopped with broken rear suspension on his Ferrari and lost the lead 19 laps after Trulli had retired. Coulthard took the lead, with Frentzen moving into second place after Hakkinen - who had been running ahead of Heinz-Harald - was forced to make a long pit stop to attend to brake trouble on his McLaren. Frentzen was maintaining a six second gap over the Ferrari of Rubens Barrichello when he misjudged his braking and slid into the barrier at Ste Devote corner eight laps from home.
'The car was going like a dream,' said Frentzen. 'The pit stop was fantastic and I was really, really racing, keeping Barrichello behind me. But I pushed too hard and went off. There is nothing more I can say. It was my mistake.'
Barrichello was able to finish second behind Coulthard and 18 seconds ahead of Giancarlo Fisichella's Benetton. Eddie Irvine gave Jaguar their first points of the season by finishing fourth ahead of Mika Salo (Sauber) and Hakkinen, the McLaren driver setting fastest race lap during his recovery. Only nine of the 22 starters were running at the end of the 78 laps. Frentzen was classified in tenth place.
Coulthard's second win of the season moves him into second place in the championship, 12 points behind Schumacher, who failed to score points for the first time in the seven races held so far this season.
'We qualified so well and raced strongly,' said Eddie Jordan. 'But, in the end, we weren't able to see things through. It's a big disappointment to come away without points. Jarno was going really well and with Michael retiring, things could have been so different, but there is no point in theorising. I am not sure what happened to Heinz but he came up and apologised, so what else can you say. We all make mistakes in this high pressure business - it happens.'