As widely predicted, the McLarens of Mika Hakkinen and David Coulthard stole the limelight at the Spanish Grand Prix. Hakkinen won his third race of the 1999 season and his ten points take him into second place in the Championship, between...
As widely predicted, the McLarens of Mika Hakkinen and David Coulthard stole the limelight at the Spanish Grand Prix. Hakkinen won his third race of the 1999 season and his ten points take him into second place in the Championship, between Michael Schumacher and Eddie Irvine.
These two Ferrari drivers ran hot on the heels of the McLarens, pushing hard throughout the race, but never able to be more than a threat from behind. But on a circuit believed to be one of the strongest for the McLarens, the gap between the top two teams was only marginal.
Coulthard finished behind his team mate, with Michael Schumacher and Irvine close behind. Schumacher Junior drove an excellent race to finish fifth, and Jarno Trulli, who made a fantastic start, moved up from 9th place to finish 6th and win his first point of the season.
B & H Jordan had a disappointing race, and for the first time this season suffered a mechanical failure when Heinz-Harald Frentzen dropped out of 8th position with driveshaft failure. He had started 8th but fell to 9th place on the run down to the first corner. He later moved back up to 8th and ran as high as 5th prior to his second pit stop, but then his driveshaft broke. Damon Hill drove a very strong race, for although he too had a difficult start and dropped to 13th, he recovered well and raced hard to finish 7th - overtaking a hard charging Rubens Barrchello's Stewart in the final stages.
"Today was disappointing," said Frentzen. "It was a hard race this time and I could not pass Ralf Schumacher - the soft tyres which many of our competitors were on did not suffer as we thought, and our hard tyres gave us no advantage. This race was very much down to strategy, but in the end I had a mechanical failure."
Damon Hill said: "The best part of the race for me was overtaking Rubens on the outside. I had been trying to catch up with him in the middle part of the race, but I just missed out on overtaing him on the pit stops. It was satisfying to overtake him. I could see all the blue flags at the end of the race, when the McLarens and Ferraris came up behind, and my race engineer was very good at telling me what was going on. The race itself was not too difficult, but there was no advantage to running on hard tyres."