Spanish GP McLaren race notes

The West McLaren Mercedes team had a disappointing race after Mika Hakkinen was forced to retire from the lead with clutch failure on the very last lap. Mika took the lead after his second pitstop and managed to open a substantial gap to Michael...

The West McLaren Mercedes team had a disappointing race after Mika Hakkinen was forced to retire from the lead with clutch failure on the very last lap. Mika took the lead after his second pitstop and managed to open a substantial gap to Michael Schumacher until his retirement. David Coulthard stalled on the grid due to a software glitch and was forced to start from the back. Having made a good start he was involved in a first corner incident which damaged his nosecone and forced him into the pits for repairs. A good drive saw him claw his way back to finish fifth. David is second in the Drivers' World Championship with 28 points and Mika is 10th with four. The West McLaren Mercedes team is second in the Constructors' Championship with 32 points.

David Coulthard:
'I initiated the start sequence on the new software before the formation lap and everything was normal until I wanted to accelerate away. We are still looking into this as it's not meant to happen. As a result I had to start from the back of the grid and got involved in a first corner incident where I was hit from the rear which damaged the floor and pushed me into another car. I had to go into the pits for a new nosecone and could then start to catch up. The car was quick in race conditions and I managed to make up a lot of ground and combined with other people's misfortunes I managed to leave with two points.'


:Mika Hakkinen:
'I'm obviously very disappointed not only for me but also for the team. I couldn't believe it when it happened, as we were confident with the car. I think it was a clutch problem as I just lost drive no matter what gear I selected. I was going up the hill at the time so there was no way I was going to be able to get the car to the finish. It's difficult to describe how I feel and I don't think the outcome will sink in until later.'

Ron Dennis:
'A painful end to a weekend that saw us do most things right. Based on an initial analysis we felt that David was responsible for stalling on the dummy grid but closer scrutiny confirmed that a glitch in the software was at fault. His recovery from this and a first corner incident gave him two well-deserved points. Mika drove a good race, which combined with our strategy, clearly gave him the opportunity to win. With half a lap to go and to the best of our current knowledge a hydraulic leak triggered a series of problems, which ultimately saw the clutch fail. In situations like this it's important to take some comfort from the facts, we had the right strategy and we were very competitive.'

Norbert Haug:
'So tough can motor racing be. I feel very sorry for Mika and the whole team. The guys did everything right and the strategy was perfect. The clutch failure came half lap too early.'

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