Benson & Hedges Jordan Honda consolidated fourth place in the Constructors' Championship when Jarno Trulli finished fourth and scored another three points after 65 laps of the Circuit de Catalunya. Heinz-Harald Frentzen, forced to start from the...
Benson & Hedges Jordan Honda consolidated fourth place in the Constructors' Championship when Jarno Trulli finished fourth and scored another three points after 65 laps of the Circuit de Catalunya. Heinz-Harald Frentzen, forced to start from the back of the field, was an early retirement after a collision.
'I made a good start and got by Rubens Barrichello,' said Trulli. 'Then Ralf Schumacher, who was ahead of us, made a mistake at the first corner. I got caught behind him and lost the place to Barrichello. It was a tough race because our tyre degradation pretty high and I lost a place during the first pit stop, which put me from fifth to sixth.
'I was pushing hard trying to stay close to Villeneuve, which was pretty difficult, and then I had trouble with the gearbox and the brakes. This is a bit of a worry because the problem has arisen before, so we need to find out why. But generally, this was a good race. I was back to fifth and I knew that Coulthard was catching me, so I had to keep a fast pace. Then, on the last lap, the leader dropped out and me all moved up one more place, which made me fourth. I think is the best result Jordan has had on this track so, all in all, it's not a bad result at the end of a hard race.'
As the field of 22 cars was unleashed at the start, Heinz-Harald Frentzen was left on the grid.
'I had a problem right at the start,' said Frentzen. 'We don't know at this stage exactly why it happened it may have been related to the launch control - but it meant I was last away. I got past a couple of cars on the first lap and was trying hard to catch up. On lap 6, I had an incident with Pedro de la Rosa while challenging for 16th place. I don't want to apportion blame: I would call this a 'racing incident'. As far as I recall, I had the racing line, was alongside and my rear wheel touched his front wheel. That's all I can say. Either way, it was not my day but I'm very pleased for Jarno and the team winning another three points.'
'A great shame that Heinz went out so early,' said Eddie Jordan. 'But, once again, a strong drive from Jarno which means we have scored points in all five races this season. That said, we need to raise our game. We've got the reliability, which is an important objective, but our pace is not good enough if we are to get close to the front runners. But, at the end a day like this, the lesson is that you need to be running at the finish before you can even think about anything else. The fact that the leading contenders, Ferrari, McLaren and Williams, each had just one car running at the end demonstrates that.'
Mika Hakkinen lost a comfortable win when the clutch exploded as the McLaren-Mercedes driver started his last lap, handing victory to Michael Schumacher even though the leader of the championship was nursing his Ferrari home with a severe vibration. Hakkinen's retirement elevated Juan-Pablo Montoya (Williams-BMW) and Jacques Villeneuve (BAR-Honda) to their first podium finishes of the season.
Schumacher had led from pole but lost his advantage when Hakkinen took the lead during the second and final round of pit stops. The gap between these two and the rest of the field grew further when Rubens Barrichello retired from third place with broken suspension on his Ferrari.
Schumacher's third win of the season moves him eight points ahead of David Coulthard, the McLaren driver recovering to finish fifth after his engine stalled at the beginning of the parade lap, forcing the Scotsman to start from the back of the field. Ralf Schumacher, winner of the previous race in Italy, was forced out of fourth place early on when the Williams driver spun off.
The sixth round of the FIA Formula One World Championship will be the Austrian Grand Prix at the A1-Ring on 13 May.
-Jordan Grand Prix-