Third consecutive victory for Schumacher Michael Schumacher today claimed his third consecutive victory for Ferrari, winning another ten points to give him a 24 point lead over World Champion Mika Hakkinen. The Finn, who started from pole,...
Third consecutive victory for Schumacher
Michael Schumacher today claimed his third consecutive victory for Ferrari, winning another ten points to give him a 24 point lead over World Champion Mika Hakkinen. The Finn, who started from pole, had lead for the majority of the race, but Schumacher took the lead after exiting the pits after his second pit stop ahead of Hakkinen. Hakkinen had made his second stop before Schumacher, giving the German the lead with a clear track. When Schumacher pitted a few laps later, Hakkinen's engine cut out momentarily, costing a couple of seconds - enough to lose the lead to Schumacher.
Pit stops also played their part in determining the outcome of Coulthard and Barrichello, although this time it was the McLaren driver who came out on top after getting out just ahead of his Ferrari rival when they made simultaneous pit stops.
Benson and Hedges Jordan had a disappointing race, despite strong showing throughout the weekend. Both Frentzen and Trulli were forced to retire with gearbox problems, Frentzen after only five laps and Trulli when he was lying seventh with only three laps to go.
“Today wasn’t’ a good day for us," said Frentzen. "After only four laps I had a gear-shift selection problem and couldn’t shift down from sixth gear so I had no choice but to come into the pits. It is too early to say what caused the problem and we will have to look at the information to find out exactly what happened as it is too easy to jump to conclusions.” “It seems I don’t have any luck in Imola since I have never finished a race here! I had made a good start and moved up to sixth place and the race went without any incidents until right near the end when I lost fifth gear. There are still plenty more races to go where we can be strong.”
A disappointed Eddie Jordan said, "did not work out that way for us, despite really strong performances from Heinz and Jarno for most of the weekend. We now have some thinking to do and hope to come back stronger for the British Grand Prix which will be Jordan’s 150th race.”
Elsewhere in the race there were points for Jacque Villeneuve who made a blinding start from ninth, to finish 5th. Points too for Mika Salo, who drove a very strong race for the Sauber team. Jaguar finished their first race - albeit outside the points - with Irvine 7th and Herbert in 10th. Williams, like Jordan, went home without points - Ralf Schumacher, who had run in briefly in third place, retired on lap 46 with low fuel pressure. Button, who had struggled to get to grips with the Imola track, retired earlier in the race with engine failure.