Portuguese GP McLaren report

The Portuguese Grand Prix was a very eventful event for the Marlboro McLaren Mercedes team. David Coulthard and Mika Hakkinen stayed close together from the start and battled it out until making contact on lap 44. David suffered a punctured...

The Portuguese Grand Prix was a very eventful event for the Marlboro McLaren Mercedes team. David Coulthard and Mika Hakkinen stayed close together from the start and battled it out until making contact on lap 44. David suffered a punctured tyre and Mika damaged the nose of this car. They both came into the pits for repair, David rejoining the race to finish in 13th place, whilst Mika was called back in again a few laps later when it appeared that the damaged to his car was more extensive than initially thought.

David Coulthard: "Obviously, this was a very difficult race for me. Our two stop strategy could have seen us in the points, albeit in the lower half of the the top six. However, following my second pitstop, Mika made contact with my car, which unfortunately spun me and damaged the left rear tyre. I had a slow puncture which was missed when I made a precautionary pitstop. It was made even worse by speeding in the pitlane, for which I received a 10s penalty. Not a good day for either of us. We will do better in Suzuka."

Mika Hakkinen: "I had a good start but got stuck behind Irvine in the second corner and David went past me. I followed him for most of the race, I had a good set of pitstops, and felt comfortable with the car. Following his final pitstop, David came out of the pitlane just in front of me. Obviosuly being on a flying lap, I was quicker than him into the corkscrew. What followed was a racing incident, which of course is made all the more embarrassing for being with my teammate. As I extensively damaged my front wing, I stopped for a new nose. However, the team decided to call me back in as they felt the damage was more extensive than originally."

Norbert Haug: "The accident between David and Mika was certainly not what we expected from this race. This should not happen between teammates. The team lost the opportunity to score some points as the lap times of both David and Mika in the second part of the race were good enough to do so."

Ron Dennis: "We were not competitive this weekend, which in this case required both of the drivers to focus on the race strategy and on achieving some points out of a difficult situation. In situations like these, we need to focus on the opposition, which should never be from within. The incident between our drivers is unacceptable, but I am comfortable that it will not happen again. You must learn from difficult situations like these and then focus on the future. We know we will be more competitive in Suzuka so let's look forward to that event."

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About this article
Series Formula 1
Drivers David Coulthard , Mika Hakkinen , Norbert Haug
Teams Mercedes , McLaren