Race Day - Portugal 22nd - 23rd September The Marlboro McLaren Mercedes ended a very disappointing Portuguese Grand Prix weekend with Mika Hakkinen retiring on lap 45 with...
Race Day - Portugal 22nd - 23rd September
The Marlboro McLaren Mercedes ended a very disappointing Portuguese Grand Prix weekend with Mika Hakkinen retiring on lap 45 with an engine failure and Mark Blundell finishing in ninth position. Mika was using a MP4/10B car, as per the Italian Grand Prix, while Mark drove a hybrid chassis incorporating features from both B and C specification components.
Mika Hakkinen: "This weekend brought a mixture of disappointment and happiness for me. The new development car did not perform as well as expected, whereas the old specification chassis for this morning's warm-up had the balance I needed to perform as well as I could. Unfortunately, the grid position was decided on the C-spec, and to come up from that place was very difficult. After the second start I paced myself behind Mark and Barrichello to understand the performance of the 10B. Then I overtook them, came in for tyres and fuel, and went up to eigth position. But the balance was not perfect as we had had so little time to set-up, and I could not go as fast as I wanted. I tried to push the car on lap 45, I lost engine power and had to park the car in a safe place. We now have to investigate what happened with the engineers, and we also need to find the solutions on the C-spec car, concentrate on the testing programme and prepare the next race at Nurburgring, which I am looking forward to."
Mark Blundell: "Finishing a race is always good but to finish in ninth place is not that good. I am not very happy with this result; nobody fell out so we did not gain any places from that point of view. All I can say is that we have a lot more work to do over the next two days of testing here and we look forward to regaining our competitiveness again in Germany."
Norbert Haug: "This was a difficult weekend for us, switching from the C to the B specification car. Mark finished with a hybrid B/C car despite suffering from a back problem, and we do not know yet what happened to Mika's engine. We have to do some intensive testing after the race to be in better shape on our home ground at the Nururgring."
Ron Dennis: "Obviously this was not one of our better weekends, and our performance in the race reflects our lack of of set-up time for the B-spec cars which we opted to race. It won't be difficult to have a better race at the Nurburgring."