ATLAS F1   Volume 6, Issue 41 Email to Friend   Printable Version

Atlas F1   The Japanese GP Review

Suzuka, October 6-8, 2000 by Pablo Elizalde, Spain

Schumacher at a moment of historyAsked if he ever thought he would never win a title again, Michael Schumacher replied: "No. I didn't think it would never happen again. But obviously every year it didn't happen, it got longer and longer."

But hope springs eternal. Ask Schumacher himself, Jean Todt, Ross Brawn, or the millions of tifosi around the globe, if you don't believe it. Last Sunday's Japanese Grand Prix served to proved them all right, as the German driver crossed the finish line in first place to finally clinch the drivers' title for Ferrari, thus ending a 21-year wait, more than two decades of struggle and infinite hours of unrewarded work.

The Japanese Grand Prix was not the great race that everyone expected, especially after the two title contenders were separated by a mere nine thousands of a second during qualifying, and will probably only be remembered for what it meant at the end. Nevertheless, this race was a perfect example of the road Ferrari has followed to leave a countless amount of dark days behind.

Suzuka was the epitome of everything that is Ferrari nowadays: Michael Schumacher and Ross Brawn working in perfect conjunction to achieve a victory that for the most part of the race seemed highly unlikely. The driver performed as usual, getting the best out of his car, driving on the edge when it was needed, and mastering the tricky conditions when the rain began to fall over the Japanese track.

Hakkinen congratulates Schumacher at Parc FermeHis friend, Ferrari's Technical Director, and probably the greatest strategist Formula One has ever seen, also performed as usual, keeping a cool head, considering the best options, and calling Schumacher to make his pitstop at the precise moment.

The result of such teamwork gave Ferrari yet another victory over their McLaren rivals, who may still be wondering how a two-second lead turned into a four-second deficit in the event of three laps, especially considering that nothing seemed to go wrong during that period. They were simply outperformed and outsmarted by their opponents.

To further prove the good off-the-track relationship that has been common between the two championship contenders this season, Mika Hakkinen was gracious, as well as philosophical, in defeat, showing what a true sportsman he is. "I understand that it is another driver's turn to win," Hakkinen said, "and to be a good winner, sometimes you also have to be a good loser. Michael has done the best possible job this year, while we weren't able to do it."

Both Hakkinen and Schumacher seem to know that by exalting their rival's abilities, they are only exalting themselves, something that is becoming less and less common in the ultra competitive Formula One world.

So, at the end of the day, two men lost their crown at the Japanese Grand Prix. Mika Hakkinen lost the chance to be the second driver in the history of Formula One to win three championships in a row. The other man was Jody Scheckter, no longer the last driver to have won a title for Ferrari, for last Sunday an era in which his name had become synonymous of the Italian team's struggle, came to and end.

Ferrari chief Jean Todt showered by Schumacher"Now that we've achieved it I think that the intense pressure will disappear and the team will be a little more relaxed," said Brawn after the race. "It will feel very different."


With the championship at stake, the battle for pole position was expected to be fierce, and it definitely lived up to the expectation, with only nine thousandths of a second separating the title contenders at the end of qualifying.

Michael Schumacher took the top spot on the grid for the third consecutive year and for the eighth time this season, while Mika Hakkinen had to settle for second place yet again, at a circuit where pole position has eluded him thus far.

As usual, however, Schumacher was as fast to play down the significance of starting from pole as he was driving on the track. "To get the pole is nice, but it's tomorrow that counts," said Michael, who saw how Hakkinen won the race in the last two seasons, after taking the start from second.

The session started under perfect weather conditions, so time went by without any action on the track, and all the drivers relaxed in their garages or hanging around the paddock. Watching the scene, it looked as though the championship had been decided a long time ago and this was just some charity race.

With the track getting quicker by the minute, both Schumacher and Hakkinen came out after 25 minutes, demoting David Coulthard, who set the pace initially until his teammate beat his time. However, Schumacher quickly shaded Hakkinen's effort by only seven hundredths of a second, demonstrating how tight the battle would be in the remaining part.

the start of the raceOn his second run, Hakkinen improved over Schumacher's time by just 77 hundredths of a second, only to last until the Ferrari driver responded with a lap one tenth faster, a few minutes later. The battle, however, was still far from over.

On his third attempt, the Finn, who spent most of the session making small changes to his McLaren, set provisional pole once more, beating Schumacher's time again by seven hundredths of a second.

The German had to dig very deep to find the extra speed to be on pole, but so he did, getting the best out of his Ferrari and stealing first position from Hakkinen by 0.009s, the narrowest gap so far this season.

Strangely, Schumacher was not able to complete all of his laps, as he ran out of time after his final attempt, using only three of them. "There was no point going out early because the track was getting quicker and quicker, and when everyone did get going it was too late to make all my laps," explained Michael.

Fortunately for the German, Hakkinen didn't improve on his final run, and while his sector times were very close to Schumacher's, the Finn made a small mistake at the chicane, which was enough to deny him a shot at the pole.

"A great battle for pole position with Michael and myself exchanging fastest times," said Hakkinen later. "We were making adjustments to the car throughout the session but unfortunately on my last run I was not able to get the acceleration absolutely right coming out of the last chicane, which meant that I lost that little bit of time."

Jenson Button once again impressesBehind the stars of the show, Coulthard was a distant third, while Rubens Barrichello was fourth in the second Ferrari - their chances of influencing the race result by helping their teammates was now depending on a miraculous start. "There's been so much talk about this and I think everyone's overplaying what teams can actually do," Coulthard reiterated.

At a very technical and demanding circuit, where experience is a clear advantage, the surprise of the session was once again Jenson Button, who not only outqualiified his Williams teammate Ralf Schumacher, but also was the "best of the rest" in fifth place. "It's fantastic, really," confessed Button. "To come here for the first time and be so competitive is really very, very pleasing. I had to work really hard for this."

Jaguar had one of its best qualifying sessions of the season, with Eddie Irvine in seventh place, behind the younger of the Schumacher brothers, and Johnny Herbert in tenth spot. On the other hand, Jordan had a day to forget, despite being the first Honda powered car at the Japanese manufacturer's home circuit.

Qualifying Results

Pos  Driver         Team                 Times                 
 1.  M.Schumacher   Ferrari              1:35.825  220.302 km/h
 2.  Hakkinen       McLaren Mercedes     1:35.834   +  0.009
 3.  Coulthard      McLaren Mercedes     1:36.236   +  0.411
 4.  Barrichello    Ferrari              1:36.330   +  0.505
 5.  Button         Williams BMW         1:36.628   +  0.803
 6.  R.Schumacher   Williams BMW         1:36.788   +  0.963
 7.  Irvine         Jaguar Cosworth      1:36.899   +  1.074
 8.  Frentzen       Jordan Mugen-Honda   1:37.243   +  1.418
 9.  Villeneuve     BAR Honda            1:37.267   +  1.442
10.  Herbert        Jaguar Cosworth      1:37.329   +  1.504
11.  Wurz           Benetton Playlife    1:37.348   +  1.523
12.  Fisichella     Benetton Playlife    1:37.479   +  1.654
13.  de la Rosa     Arrows Supertec      1:37.652   +  1.827
14.  Verstappen     Arrows Supertec      1:37.674   +  1.849
15.  Trulli         Jordan Mugen-Honda   1:37.679   +  1.854
16.  Heidfeld       Prost Peugeot        1:38.141   +  2.316
17.  Alesi          Prost Peugeot        1:38.209   +  2.384
18.  Zonta          BAR Honda            1:38.269   +  2.444
19.  Salo           Sauber Petronas      1:38.490   +  2.665
20.  Diniz          Sauber Petronas      1:38.576   +  2.751
21.  Gene           Minardi Fondmetal    1:39.972   +  4.147
22.  Mazzacane      Minardi Fondmetal    1:40.462   +  4.637

The Race

Controversy is never far from Formula One, and the FIA's decision, a warning to the drivers to avoid unsporting behaviour during the race or get banned for three races, was asking for it.

Hakkinen leads Schumacher at the startJust exactly what would have happened if David Coulthard had jumped in front of Michael Schumacher at the start, slowing him down and allowing Mika Hakkinen to get away easily, will never be known; Coulthard didn't jump in front of Schumacher. In fact, it was Hakkinen who did, and in spectacular fashion.

Despite some worrying smoke coming from the back of his car, the Finn made a blinding start and seemed to be already engaging second gear while the pole sitter was getting his Ferrari moving. Schumacher tried to stop his rival by swerving sharply to the right, but it was too late, and Hakkinen made it in the lead into the first corner. Coulthard was third, in front of Ralf Schumacher, Eddie Irvine (who had a fantastic start), and Rubens Barrichello (who lost two places).

"I got too much wheel-spin off the line," Schumacher later explained. "I moved over to try and defend my position, but Mika was already there and I had to let him go."

It only took a couple of laps to confirm that the race was going to be a two-man show, as Coulthard was lapping a second slower than the leaders and Barrichello was not even close enough to pass Irvine.

On lap four, a thin drizzle began to fall over the track, but it didn't last enough to make any difference, and the leaders continued lapping at virtually the same pace, Hakkinen holding an advantage of around a second over Schumacher.

The high-speed procession went on, both in the top as well as in the middle of the field, and only Jacques Villeneuve passing Irvine for fifth spot at the chicane altered the established order.

Coulthard third from Ralf SchumacherHakkinen began to edge clear of Schumacher by setting a couple of fastest laps. However, the German driver didn't allow the Finn to get away, and the gap between them was never more than 2.5 seconds at most.

Pedro Diniz was the first driver to make a routine pitstop, on lap 12, and he was followed by Jarno Trulli three laps later, having started with a light fuel load to gain as many places as possible from his bad starting position.

Before the leaders came in to put fresh tyres for the first time, it was evident that the race, and probably the championship, were to be decided in the pits. Hakkinen pitted on lap 22, when he held an advantage of around two seconds, rejoining the race in third place, after being stationary for 6.8 seconds. Schumacher stopped on the next lap, and with insufficient time to make any difference, he came back out behind the McLaren driver.

Behind the two leaders, after the first round of pitstops was completed, Coulthard was still third, and Barrichello, who benefited from a quick stop, was now up to fourth, in front of Ralf Schumacher and Jenson Button. Villeneuve lost seventh place to Irvine, but he regained it once more at the chicane.

With 25 laps to go, everything looked settled for another down-to-the-wire championship, as Hakkinen was still holding the lead over Schumacher. But suddenly nature decided to intervene, and a thin but constant rain made the track wet and slippery enough for Schumacher to close the gap to the leader.

Wurz leads the midpackThe German did his best to get right behind Hakkinen, before the Finn made his second scheduled pitstop on lap 37. The McLaren stood still for 7.6 seconds and completed that lap in 2:05.019.

His rival stayed on track, though, lapping at the limit for three laps before coming into the pits, while Hakkinen struggled to warm up his tyres or a cold and slippery track.

On lap 40, while Benetton's Alex Wurz spun and stopped dangerously on track, Schumacher headed for the last and decisive pitstop of the race. He was in, and he was out. In the lead. As simple as that.

The numbers are remarkable: Schumacher's pit stop was an amazing 6 seconds, and his entire in and out lap 2:00.489 - almost five seconds faster than Hakkinen's respective lap.

"Ross Brawn was on the radio saying, 'looking good, looking good, looking good,' as he watched for Hakkinen," recalled Schumacher. "I was waiting for him to say 'looking bad,' but as I went onto the track he said, 'looking bloody good!' and I knew I had the lead. It was the most amazing moment of my racing career."

"I knew it would be tight," recalled Hakkinen. "After my stop I got caught up in traffic, but with a shiny new set of tyres and more rain I had no grip, and the car was sliding all over the place. After Michael came out ahead, all I could do was try and keep up."

Schumacher's decisive pitstopThe Finn did his best to close the gap to Schumacher, but with a slippery track due to the increasing rain, there was nothing he could do but wait for a miracle in the form of a mistake by Schumacher or a mechanical failure on his Ferrari.

The agony in the Ferrari pit was visible; the tension could be cut with a knife, as the whole team - probably an entire country, and most definitely millions of fans around the world - held their breath for some twenty minutes.

Fortunately, Michael Schumacher kept breathing, taking his Ferrari to the chequered flag, winning his third title, and ending the most infamous period of his team's history. The German was pure joy.

"It's difficult to find the proper words for such a feeling," he confessed. "There was such an outbreak of emotion initially, when I crossed the line. The conditions today were so difficult: rain, then no rain, then a little bit and a little bit more.

"The upgoing and the downgoing through the season ... and then finally to achieve it with a victory ... the way we did it. I mean, the fight went to the last corner, thanks to Mika. He could have made it a bit easier for me! It was simply outstanding, and there are no words to explain it better than that."

Jean Todt was also ecstatic: "This is a joyous moment. I am happy and feel honoured to work with such a fantastic team and an exceptional driver like Michael."

Schumacher wins the Japanese GPDavid Coulthard was third, more than a minute behind the leaders, with Rubens Barrichello some 20 seconds further behind. Jenson Button finished an impressive fifth place, with Jacques Villeneuve giving BAR and Honda the last point.

But the last word goes to the ex-World Champion, as Mika Hakkinen handed the crown in grace and style: "It has been a great season, very tough," said the already ex-world champion. "It has definitely been very interesting, too, with lots of ups and downs for us. On the other hand I understand that [eventually] it is another driver's turn to win. And to be a good winner, sometimes you also have to be a good loser.

"That doesn't mean you have to be very happy about coming second or losing, but [it's good] to allow some enjoyment and pleasure for the driver who has won. That is for Michael at the moment."

Race Results


Pos  Driver         Team                             
 1.  M.Schumacher   Ferrari               1H29:53.435
 2.  Hakkinen       McLaren Mercedes      +     1.837
 3.  Coulthard      McLaren Mercedes      +  1:09.914
 4.  Barrichello    Ferrari               +  1:19.190
 5.  Button         Williams BMW          +  1:25.694
 6.  Villeneuve     BAR Honda              1 Lap     
 7.  Herbert        Jaguar Cosworth        1 Lap     
 8.  Irvine         Jaguar Cosworth        1 Lap     
 9.  Zonta          BAR Honda              1 Lap     
10.  Salo           Sauber Petronas        1 Lap     
11.  Diniz          Sauber Petronas        1 Lap     
12.  de la Rosa     Arrows Supertec        1 Lap     
13.  Trulli         Jordan Mugen-Honda     1 Lap     
14.  Fisichella     Benetton Playlife      1 Lap     
15.  Mazzacane      Minardi Fondmetal      2 Laps    

Fastest Lap: 1:39.189 (212.830km/h), lap 26 

NOT CLASSIFIED / RETIREMENTS                                
     Gene           Minardi Fondmetal    46    engine
     R.Schumacher   Williams BMW         41    spun off
     Heidfeld       Prost Peugeot        41    rear suspension
     Wurz           Benetton Playlife    37    spun off
     Frentzen       Jordan Mugen-Honda   29    hydraulics
     Alesi          Prost Peugeot        19    engine
     Verstappen     Arrows Supertec       9    gearbox


Drivers:                    Constructors:             
 1.  M. Schumacher 98 WC     1.  Ferrari            156
 2.  Hakkinen      86        2.  McLaren            143
 3.  Coulthard     67        3.  Williams-BMW        36
 4.  Barrichello   58        4.  Benetton-Playlife   20
 5.  R.Schumacher  24        5.  BAR-Honda           18
 6.  Fisichella    18        6.  Jordan-Mugen Honda  17
 7.  Villeneuve    15        7.  Arrows               7
 8.  Button        12        8.  Sauber               6
 9.  Frentzen      11        9.  Jaguar               3
10.  Trulli         6                                  
 =   Salo           6                                  
12.  Verstappen     5                                  
13.  Irvine         3                                  
 =   Zonta          3                                  
15.  de la Rosa     2                                  
 =   Wurz           2                                  

Fastest Race Laps

Pos Driver        Team                Lap  Time             
 1. Hakkinen      McLaren-Mercedes     26  1:39.189         
 2. M.Schumacher  Ferrari              27  1:39.443  + 0.254
 3. Coulthard     McLaren-Mercedes     26  1:40.058  + 0.869
 4. Barrichello   Ferrari              26  1:40.218  + 1.029
 5. Button        Williams-BMW         23  1:40.699  + 1.510
 6. Villeneuve    BAR-Honda            18  1:40.739  + 1.550
 7. R.Schumacher  Williams-BMW         23  1:40.900  + 1.711
 8. Trulli        Jordan-Mugen Honda   12  1:40.967  + 1.778
 9. Zonta         BAR-Honda            26  1:40.980  + 1.791
10. Diniz         Sauber-Petronas      25  1:41.002  + 1.813
11. Irvine        Jaguar-Cosworth      18  1:41.154  + 1.965
12. Frentzen      Jordan-Mugen Honda   15  1:41.185  + 1.996
13. Herbert       Jaguar-Cosworth      17  1:41.226  + 2.037
14. Salo          Sauber-Petronas      26  1:41.634  + 2.445
15. de la Rosa    Arrows-Supertec      26  1:42.079  + 2.890
16. Heidfeld      Prost-Peugeot        25  1:42.356  + 3.167
17. Fisichella    Benetton-Playlife    14  1:42.416  + 3.227
18. Alesi         Prost-Peugeot        19  1:42.737  + 3.548
19. Verstappen    Arrows-Supertec       8  1:42.786  + 3.597
20. Wurz          Benetton-Playlife    15  1:42.795  + 3.606
21. Gene          Minardi-Fondmetal    17  1:42.815  + 3.626
22. Mazzacane     Minardi-Fondmetal    15  1:43.997  + 4.808

Pit-Stops Times

Pos  Driver        Team                Time  Lap
 1.  M.Schumacher  Ferrari             26.0  40 
 2.  Barrichello   Ferrari             26.7  20 
 3.  Hakkinen      McLaren-Mercedes    27.0  22 
 4.  M.Schumacher  Ferrari             27.1  23 
 5.  Trulli        Jordan-Mugen Honda  27.1  15 
 6.  Salo          Sauber-Petronas     27.2  18 
 7.  Coulthard     McLaren-Mercedes    27.3  24 
 8.  Diniz         Sauber-Petronas     27.5  13 
 9.  Hakkinen      McLaren-Mercedes    27.6  37 
10.  Zonta         BAR-Honda           27.6  22 
11.  Coulthard     McLaren-Mercedes    28.1  39 
12.  Frentzen      Jordan-Mugen Honda  28.1  19 
13.  Zonta         BAR-Honda           28.2  39 
14.  Button        Williams-BMW        28.3  20 
15.  Button        Williams-BMW        28.5  38 
16.  Barrichello   Ferrari             28.6  38 
17.  Villeneuve    BAR-Honda           28.7  19 
18.  Herbert       Jaguar-Cosworth     28.8  18 
19.  R.Schumacher  Williams-BMW        28.8  19 
20.  R.Schumacher  Williams-BMW        28.9  35 
21.  Heidfeld      Prost-Peugeot       28.9  38 
22.  Mazzacane     Minardi-Fondmetal   28.9  34 
23.  Gene          Minardi-Fondmetal   29.0  36 
24.  Villeneuve    BAR-Honda           29.1  36 
25.  Mazzacane     Minardi-Fondmetal   29.1  16 
26.  Gene          Minardi-Fondmetal   29.2  19 
27.  Irvine        Jaguar-Cosworth     29.3  34 
28.  de la Rosa    Arrows-Supertec     29.6  19 
29.  Frentzen      Jordan-Mugen Honda  29.6  29 
30.  Herbert       Jaguar-Cosworth     29.8  35 
31.  Heidfeld      Prost-Peugeot       29.8  18 
32.  Irvine        Jaguar-Cosworth     29.8  16 
33.  Trulli        Jordan-Mugen Honda  30.4  28 
34.  de la Rosa    Arrows-Supertec     33.0  37 
35.  Fisichella    Benetton-Playlife   33.3  19 
36.  Wurz          Benetton-Playlife   33.8  18 
37.  Heidfeld      Prost-Peugeot       40.7  40 

The Japanese Grand Prix, Lap by Lap

Lap 1: At the start Michael Schumacher is slower away than Hakkinen. The Ferrari moves across the road to try to block Hakkinen but the Finn gets ahead. Behind them David Coulthard and a fast-starting Ralf Schumacher almost collide and Rubens Barrichello is forced to back off and loses places to Ralf and Eddie Irvine.

Hakkinen leads the startHakkinen leads Schumacher, Coulthard, R Schumacher, Irvine and Barrichello. Jenson Button makes a poor start to drop from fifth to seventh. Further back Johnny Herbert jumps from 10th on the grid to eighth, while Heinz-Harald Frentzen drops from eighth to 11th. Jos Verstappen goes from 14th to 10th while Mika Salo moves from 19th to 15th. The big loser is Giancarlo Fisichella who drops from 12th on the grid to 20th. At the end of the first lap Hakkinen is ahead by 0.8sec.

Lap 2: Hakkinen sets fastest lap as he increases his lead to one second. Behind the leaders Coulthard drops away quickly in third place. The frontrunners quickly spread out with Barrichello holding up Button, Herbert and Jacques Villeneuve.

Lap 7: Hakkinen and Schumacher have run close in the early laps and the Finn has been unable to increase his lead to more than 1.4secs. Villeneuve challenges Herbert and slips through into eighth place. Further back the two Jordans swap places, Jarno Trulli passing Frentzen for 11th.

Lap 9: Verstappen disappears with a gearbox electronic problem.

Lap 13: Hakkinen has increased his lead to two seconds while the gap between Schumacher and Coulthard is out to nearly 10secs. At the back of the field Pedro Diniz pits.

Lap 15: Trulli pits and drops from 10th to 18th.

Lap 16: Irvine pits from fifth and drops to 10th.

Johnny HerbertLap 18: The first major pit stops begin with Herbert, Alexander Wurz, Salo and Nick Heidfeld all stopping. Further back Trulli goes off and loses ground.

Lap 19: Ralf Schumacher, Villeneuve, Frentzen, Pedro de la Rosa and Fisichella all pit. Jean Alesi suffers a blown engine and spins out.

Lap 20: Barrichello and Button both stop. The stops enable both to get ahead of Irvine.

Lap 22: Hakkinen pits, leaving Schumacher in the lead with Coulthard second.

Lap 23: Schumacher pits but emerges behind Hakkinen.

Lap 24: Coulthard pits and Hakkinen goes back into the lead with Schumacher 2.6secs behind him. Further back Villeneuve passes Irvine for seventh place at the chicane.

Lap 28: Trulli pits for the second time and drops from 11th place to 15th.

Lap 29: There are spots of rain out on the track.

Lap 30: Ralf Schumacher has an incident and drops to sixth behind Button. Frentzen pulls off and retires.

Jacques VilleneuveLap 31: Michael Schumacher closes right up on to Hakkinen's tail in the tricky conditions.

Lap 33: As Schumacher laps Zonta the two cars touch but the Ferrari continues without a problem.

Lap 34: The second round of pit stops begin with eighth-placed Irvine going into the pits. At the back of the field Heidfeld manages to overtake Trulli for 13th place.

Lap 37: Hakkinen stops and drops to second behind Schumacher.

Lap 38: Barrichello and Button both pit but remain in fourth and fifth places.

Lap 39: Coulthard stops but stays in third.

Lap 40: Schumacher comes into the pits, dodging a spinning Wurz as he goes into the pitlane. He emerges ahead by four seconds.

Lap 42: Ralf Schumacher disappears from sixth place, promoting Villeneuve to sixth.

Lap 43: De la Rosa passes Fisichella for 13th.

Lap 48: The order at the front has remained stable with Schumacher able to keep his four second lead over Hakkinen. Further back all is stable apart from de la Rosa taking 12th from Trulli.

the podiumLap 49: Marc Gene's Minardi blows an engine.

Lap 53: Michael Schumacher wins the race, with Mika Hakkinen just behind him. Coulthard is third. The victory means that Schumacher is the 2000 World Champion. Barrichello takes fourth place ahead of Button and a lapped Villeneuve.

The Results - Team by Team (provided by Reuters)

FERRARI (Michael Schumacher 1, Rubens Barrichello 4)

Schumacher ended Ferrari's 21-year wait for the drivers' title, taking the lead on lap 41 after losing out at the start to title rival Mika Hakkinen. Brazilian Barrichello started badly and dropped to sixth. He recovered to finish fourth, but failed to make an impact on the top three.

MCLAREN (Mika Hakkinen 2, David Coulthard 3)

Hakkinen led the race after avoiding a swerving manoeuvre from Schumacher at the start. The Finn looked comfortable, but lost the tactical battle. Coulthard maintained his third place at the start, but failed to match the pace of Schumacher and Hakkinen and had a lonely race.

WILLIAMS (Jenson Button 5, Ralf Schumacher retired)

Briton Button lost two places at the start as he dropped from fifth to seventh. But he came back well with an assured drive and by lap 31 had regained his starting position. German Schumacher was set to win a point in sixth place but spun at turn one and grounded in a gravel trap after 41 laps.

BAR (Jacques Villeneuve 6, Ricardo Zonta 9)

Canadian Villeneuve overtook both Jaguars at the chicane in separate manoeuvres. He benefited from Ralf Schumacher's retirement to claim a point with sixth place. Brazilian Zonta never threatened but did worry Schumacher when he almost turned into the Ferrari at the chicane on lap 35.

JAGUAR (Johnny Herbert 7, Eddie Irvine 8)

Briton Herbert equalled his best result of the season in his penultimate Formula One race. Irvine had a superb start, which saw him gain two places, and held off the challenge of those around him before dropping back after his two pit-stops. "This goes down as another missed opportunity after a weekend when we really deserved to pick up points," said Irvine.

SAUBER (Mika Salo 10, Pedro Diniz 11)

Finn Salo started well, making up five places to 14th in the first 10 laps. He continued to find extra pace late in the race and benefited from retirements to finish 10th. Diniz dropped back near the rear of the field before recovering later in the race as his fuel load decreased.

ARROWS (Pedro de la Rosa 12, Jos Verstappen retired)

Spaniard de la Rosa saw his team-mate retire early in the race. He produced a steady drive and seemed not to push the car to its limit. Verstappen was the first driver out, after he lost two gears on lap 10.

JORDAN (Jarno Trulli 13, Heinz-Harald Frentzen retired)

Italian Trulli made up three places to 12th within the first four laps. He was up to 10th by lap 11 but a mistake at the chicane on lap 20 dropped him back. German Frentzen battled with team-mate Jarno Trulli before retirement with a mechanical problem when running 11th. He had completed 29 laps.

BENETTON (Giancarlo Fisichella 14, Alex Wurz retired)

Italian Fisichella produced the worst start of the field as he dropped back eight places from 12th to 20th. He never found the pace to recover significantly. Wurz suffered his first retirement in five races as he first went off the track at the Spoon Curve on lap 22. He recovered but spun after 37 laps at the chicane as his car suffered an engine problem.

MINARDI (Gaston Mazzacane 15, Marc Gene retired)

Argentine Mazzacane went off at the Degner Curve early in the race and, despite returning to the track, he once again trailed home as the last finisher. Spaniard Gene battled at the back of the field before retiring with an engine problem after completing 46 laps.

PROST (Nick Heidfeld and Jean Alesi retired)

Heidfeld retired in the pits with a mechanical problem. He had failed to make an impression on the top 10 and completed 41 laps. Frenchman Alesi suffered an engine blow-out that ended his race as oil spurted from the back of his Peugeot power unit and forced the car into a spin and out of the race after 19 laps.

Pablo Elizalde© 2000 Kaizar.Com, Incorporated.
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