The 2001 French GP Review

By Pablo Elizalde, Spain
Atlas F1 News Editor

The Ferrari team celebrating Michael Schumacher's 50th GP winAfter the French Grand Prix, the tenth round of the 2001 Championship, many could suggest that it would be better to serve Michael Schumacher his fourth crown on a silver platter and move on to the next season in the hope of a more exciting battle. With seven races remaining this year, the 2001 World Championship looks certainly settled, despite claims to the contrary from both Schumacher and his rivals. And, the French Grand Prix was no different than its predecessors, as Schumacher cruised effortlessly to clinch his 50th career win.

The more disturbing aspect of Schumacher's supremacy, is the fact that the German and his Ferrari team are dominating without even performing at their peak. By now, the whole F1 fraternity knows that Schumacher is capable of more brilliant drives than the ones which have seen him win three of the last four races, but so far he has not needed to exert himself. Taking three wins and one second place in the last four Grands Prix, where the German has extended his lead in the Championship from four points before Monaco to 31 after France, it's clear that Schumacher has not had rivals to fight against.

Meanwhile, in those four events, David Coulthard has stalled before the formation lap in one race, retired in another, and made a costly mistake in the last one. Likewise, Ralf Schumacher has retired once, was penalised in another, and made a costly mistake in yet another race.

Mika Hakkinen failing to get away on the formation lapThere is no demerit in Schumacher's victories - he has done a great job - but his rivals' bad luck or incapability to finish ahead of the German has allowed the Ferrari driver's season to become nothing less than history in the making. The fact that he doesn't need to win a single race in the remainder of the season and can settle for second places to clinch the title, says it all.

At Magny Cours, Ralf looked set for a dominant win after securing his first career pole in what has become the usual family affair in qualifying, but a mistake during one of his pitstops and a bad set of Michelin tyres saw him lose to his elder brother. Teammate Juan Pablo Montoya again showed his improved form and looked capable of finishing in front of Ralf. But the Colombian too succumbed to problems and was forced to retire with an engine failure - the first for BMW since the opening race in Australia.

David Coulthard and the McLaren team were again left with little to aim for but to continue fighting and not giving up before the mathematical chances of winning the Championship are over. But despite Schumacher not allowing himself to be over-confident and Coulthard again vowing to fight on, it looks as though it will take a miracle for the Scot to be back in the title hunt, let alone become World Champion for the first time.

Perhaps for the first time this season, Coulthard made a costly mistake which saw him being penalised with a 10-second stop-go that spoiled all his chances of winning. The McLaren driver made a good recovery, something he seems to have specialised in this year, to continue with his consistent record of finishes.

Ralf Schumacher takes the lead into the first cornerThough McLaren were much happier after discovering they were closer to the top than at the Nurburgring only a week earlier, there was yet another sign in France that indicated the Woking team are far from their best days. As Mercedes boss Jurgen Hubbert so eloquently said: "everything apart from the colours and tyres needs to be improved." The British team have had a stalled car on the grid in five of the ten races this year, and Mika Hakkinen added more salt to his injury by being unable to complete a single lap yet again. This time, though, the Finn was free of blame.

Despite that, nine points in ten races sound certainly like a ridiculous amount for a two-time Champion like Hakkinen, who is not far from spending a whole year without scoring a win. It's little wonder that the current paddock rumours indicate that McLaren boss Ron Dennis is waiting to hire a second driver before announcing Coulthard will stay with them one more year.


It was only a matter of time before Ralf Schumacher beat his brother Michael in the duel that we've become so accustomed to this season, and which has seen them battle for pole in the last three Grands Prix. In France, the younger of the Schumachers celebrated his 26th birthday with a dramatic first pole position of his career. It was also Williams's first pole since the 1997 European Grand Prix, and Michelin's first since 1984. And, in the process, Ralf shattered the existing track record - set in 1992 by Nigel Mansell with slick-shod Williams - by nearly one second.

Ralf ended a dominant session only a hundredth of a second ahead of Michael, and the overall impression was that Ralf perhaps could have been quicker had he needed to - he was, after all, fastest only in one sector and as low as fourth fastest in the final sector. The younger German also benefited from the heat at the French track - almost 45° Celsius - and from the softer version of the Michelin tyres.

Ralf Schumacher ahead of Michael Schumacher and David CoulthardUnusually, the first cars hit the track pretty early in the session, with Rubens Barrichello being the first of the main contenders to top the times with only nine minutes gone. However, the Brazilian, struggling with the balance of his F2001, was quickly demoted from the top spot by the Jaguar of Eddie Irvine, who had shone on Friday by setting the second fastest time.

Ralf was next to hit the track, immediately sending a clear warning of his intentions, setting the fastest ever time around the French circuit - 1:13.622. David Coulthard, Michael Schumacher and Juan Pablo Montoya all came out of their pits with 20 minutes gone. Barrichello also returned to the track for his second run, but the Brazilian overshot the Nurburgring chicane and lost his flying lap.

Coulthard and Montoya were unable to demote Ralf from the top of the timesheets, setting the second and fourth quickest times respectively. Schumacher Sr responded to his brother with a 1:13.574 that allowed him to leap to first place. Mika Hakkinen, who had set the pace on Friday, continued with his uphill struggle and was only capable of posting the fifth quickest time.

Meanwhile, Irvine spun on his second attempt, forcing him to run back to the pits to take the spare Jaguar. It was not until half the session had gone by that the Williamses returned to the track. Montoya, the only Michelin runner who had opted for the harder compound, elevated himself to third spot. But it would be Ralf who would shatter the establishment, with an amazing 1:12.989, more than half a second quicker than his brother.

Michael immediately jumped onto the track to challenge Ralf's time and the Ferrari driver's effort was brilliant but not good enough to move ahead of the Williams, staying only seven hundredths of a second behind. Hakkinen, meanwhile, was able to fight his way to third spot three tenths behind Ralf, perhaps a better effort than the Finn could have expected after the gap seen in the previous race.

Heinz Harald Frentzen with Jacques Villeneuve following in the backgroundTeammate Coulthard was also able to improve on his time but not his position during his second run, the Scot staying in a disappointing fifth place despite being very happy with the new Bridgestone compound introduced in France. Coulthard would move up to fourth with his third run, while Michael Schumacher and Hakkinen, who went out at the same time as the Scot, were unable to better their previous best.

With some thirteen minutes remaining in the session, the track seemed to be slower, as proved by both Ralf and Montoya, who could not improve, the German not even completing his third flying lap. It started to look highly unlikely that anyone could steal pole from the Williams driver this time.

Surprisingly, Michael came out for his final attempt with seven minutes to go, hoping to avoid the last minute's traffic chaos and have a good shot at pole. Judging by his first two splits, the Ferrari driver looked set to miss on pole for the third time in ten races, and so it was, but he gave it all on the final split and ended his lap only 0.01s behind Ralf. "It's possible I could have gone a little bit faster on my last run, but it's the final result that counts," said Schumacher afterwards.

Only Coulthard was able to gain significant places with his final run, the Scot moving to third ahead of Hakkinen, only two tenths behind Ralf's time. "I'm reasonably happy with starting the race from the second row as I have won from this position before," said Coulthard. "We can definitely take encouragement because we could have performed even better."

Ralf did not even bother to complete his final lap as his first pole was already guaranteed. And after the incident at the start of the last race in Germany, where Michael swerved across the track to block his younger brother into the first corner, the younger Schumacher made clear he was ready to keep his brother at bay at any cost. "I owe him one, definitely," joked Ralf. "I hope that since I am on pole position now I have a good start and then go away. That would be the perfect scenario... But I have to protect my position as he has. Normal thing, isn't it?"

Qualifying Results

Pos. Driver        Team                    Times                 
 1.  R.Schumacher  Williams BMW       (M)  1:12.989  209.670 km/h
 2.  M.Schumacher  Ferrari            (B)  1:12.999    +    0.010
 3.  Coulthard     Mclaren Mercedes   (B)  1:13.186    +    0.197
 4.  Hakkinen      Mclaren Mercedes   (B)  1:13.268    +    0.279
 5.  Trulli        Jordan Honda       (B)  1:13.310    +    0.321
 6.  Montoya       Williams BMW       (M)  1:13.625    +    0.636
 7.  Frentzen      Jordan Honda       (B)  1:13.815    +    0.826
 8.  Barrichello   Ferrari            (B)  1:13.867    +    0.878
 9.  Heidfeld      Sauber Petronas    (B)  1:14.095    +    1.106
10.  Villeneuve    BAR Honda          (B)  1:14.096    +    1.107
11.  Panis         BAR Honda          (B)  1:14.181    +    1.192
12.  Irvine        Jaguar Cosworth    (M)  1:14.441    +    1.452
13.  Raikkonen     Sauber Petronas    (B)  1:14.536    +    1.547
14.  de la Rosa    Jaguar Cosworth    (M)  1:15.020    +    2.031
15.  Burti         Prost Acer         (M)  1:15.072    +    2.083
16.  Fisichella    Benetton Renault   (M)  1:15.220    +    2.231
17.  Button        Benetton Renault   (M)  1:15.420    +    2.431
18.  Verstappen    Arrows Asiatech    (B)  1:15.707    +    2.718
19.  Alesi         Prost Acer         (M)  1:15.774    +    2.785
20.  Bernoldi      Arrows Asiatech    (B)  1:15.828    +    2.839
21.  Alonso        Minardi European   (M)  1:16.039    +    3.050
22.  Marques       Minardi European   (M)  1:16.500    +    3.511

The Race

With track temperatures of 46° Celsius, things looked very promising for the Michelin-shod Williams of Ralf Schumacher. But the new compound introduced by Bridgestone in France seemed to have made up for the gap the French rubber had when temperatures were high, as most of the drivers using the Japanese tyres admitted during the weekend.

Luciano Burti followed by Olivier Panis and Rubens BarrichelloHakkinen's farcical season continued when, for the third time this year the Finn was caught in a stalled McLaren when the formation lap began. His mechanics tried everything as usual but there was nothing they could do to avoid Hakkinen's sixth non-finish of the season. This time, though, the Finn was not to blame. "Mika's problem was caused by an incorrectly assembled component in the gearbox," explained McLaren boss Ron Dennis after the race. "At times like this it's important to remember that through thick and thin we are a team and we all make mistakes."

So the start took place without the Finn or Spaniard Pedro de la Rosa, who suffered a throttle problem with his Jaguar during the formation lap and was forced to start from the pitlane. With Michael Schumacher continuing with his tendency to make poor getaways, there was no need for Ralf to use the 'chop' to stay in the lead, while his elder brother had to fight to keep David Coulthard behind. The Ferrari driver admitted after the race that a slight problem with his car's clutch was the reason for his slow start.

Most of the teams have clearly improved their launch control systems by now and no major gains or losses were seen at the start, with only Rubens Barrichello moving up three places - from eighth to fifth - behind Juan Pablo Montoya and in front of Jordan's Jarno Trulli who, as usual, shone during qualifying. Sauber's Kimi Raikkonen also made a good start, jumping up to eighth place after starting from 13th spot.

The order remained unchanged for several laps, both at the top and bottom of the field, with most of the drivers struggling to make up places. By lap 10, Ralf was leading his brother Michael by less than two seconds, with Coulthard a similar gap behind and Montoya, using hard tyres, nearly five seconds off the lead.

Ralf Schumacher leading Michael Schumacher and Juan Pablo MontoyaThe only interesting view on the track was Raikkonen putting Heinz-Harald Frentzen under intense pressure in their battle for eighth place, the Sauber star showing more signs of his maturity and incredible talent, and Eddie Irvine, who was probably one of the few men who overtook cars on track, passing BAR's Olivier Panis for 11th.

Apart from that, the laps went by without any action and after a series of fastest laps, Ralf was able to stretch his lead to 2.1 seconds by lap 20. Coulthard was now almost four seconds behind the first Williams and some five in front of the other.

It was not much later - on lap 23 - when the first round of pitstops began, with Ralf diving in for his scheduled stop. Things at the Williams pit, however, did not go according to plan, the German making a mistake which led to a problem with a rear tyre that forced him to stay stationary more than necessary. His stop - 10.9 - was more than three second slower than Michael's - 7.7 - and when the German rejoined the race after refuelling a lap later, he was clearly in front. Coulthard pitted on lap 25, the Scot rejoining in fourth place behind the Schumachers and race leader Montoya.

The Colombian's prospect of fighting for victory looked good considering he was the only driver on the Michelin hard compound and so he was expected to make only one stop. However, when he came into the pits on lap 29, the crowd's hopes of seeing a new winner vanished, as did Coulthard's. On lap 32, the Scot received a ten second stop-go penalty for speeding in the pitlane, probably the first costly error from the McLaren driver, who took the blame for the incident.

"The penalty ruined my race and it was a shame because we were competitive, But I had to face the consequences of my mistake," said Coulthard, who rejoined the race in a distant fifth place behind Montoya, more than 32 seconds off the lead.

Olivier Panis leads Eddie IrvineUp in front it was soon apparent that Ralf was having problems with his second set of tyres as he was unable to match his brother's pace, sometimes lapping nearly a second slower. Even Barrichello, who had stopped for the first time on lap 21, was gaining on the Williams before coming into the pits for the second time on lap 36. By lap 40, it was Montoya who was now running right behind Ralf, who was now more than ten seconds off Michael.

After the race, Williams's technical director Patrick Head confirmed the team had asked Ralf to let his teammate through, but the German claimed he was having a problem with his radio and therefore did not hear the team's request. Either way, Ralf did not move over until he came into the pits for his second and final stop on lap 44, rejoining in fifth position. Michael Schumacher pitted one lap later, when he had a gap of 20 seconds over his nearest rival Montoya.

The Colombian would come into the pits for his second stop on lap 49, returning to the track in fourth spot just ahead of teammate Ralf, who was now able to lap at normal pace. Two laps later it was Coulthard's turn to make his stop, the Scot pushing very hard in order to make up for the lost ground. Despite his efforts, Coulthard rejoined in fifth place but he moved up a place on lap 52 when Montoya retired with an engine problem, finishing what seemed set to become his third podium.

On lap 53, Barrichello dived into the pits once more for his third scheduled stop, a strategy not seen for a long time but one that paid off for the Brazilian, who was able to maintain his third place after a poor qualifying performance. The action in front was null, with Schumacher Sr holding a 16-second lead over Ralf, who was now back to second place.

Jenson Button in front of Giancarlo FisichellaThe Brazilian Ferrari driver, along with Coulthard, was one of the fastest men on track and quickly began to close the gap on Ralf, getting within six seconds of the German with some ten laps remaining. Coulthard, who was recovering well, was already putting pressure on Rubens, but his efforts were in vain as he was unable to pass him.

Michael Schumacher cruised home to join Alain Prost in the 50-race wins club, the German scoring his 14th podium in the last fifteen races, showing a sort of dominance hardly ever seen before. As usual, the German, who moved 31 points ahead of Coulthard in the title race, refused to get carried away. "It is a comfortable lead but there are still seven races to go and 70 points to give away," he said. "Until mathematically it is secured I will keep fighting like I did today. As we saw last year things can change very quickly in just two races."

Ralf was second and pleased after his problems: "I am actually happy to sit here in second today because it was a disaster and really difficult to drive." A happy Barrichello was third after a good race, while Coulthard had to settle for fourth, and though he gave his "it's not over yet" speech, the Scot must be starting to wonder if luck will be on his side this year at all. Trulli was the best of the rest, demonstrating once more than when his car is reliable the Italian is one of the best drivers out there.

Now it's back to normal for the teams, with two weeks to go before the British Grand Prix, where McLaren will be hoping for a change in fortune, if not to fight for a title that seems Michael Schumacher's property, at least to show they haven't forgotten how to win. If only for the sake of entertainment, most F1 fans will be crossing their fingers for them.

Race Results


Pos  Driver        Team                       Time        
 1.  M.Schumacher  Ferrari            (B)     1h33:35.636
 2.  R.Schumacher  Williams BMW       (M)     +  0:10.399
 3.  Barrichello   Ferrari            (B)     +  0:16.381
 4.  Coulthard     McLaren Mercedes   (B)     +  0:17.106
 5.  Trulli        Jordan Honda       (B)     +  1:08.285
 6.  Heidfeld      Sauber Petronas    (B)     1 Lap      
 7.  Raikkonen     Sauber Petronas    (B)     1 Lap      
 8.  Frentzen      Jordan Honda       (B)     1 Lap      
 9.  Panis         BAR Honda          (B)     1 Lap      
10.  Burti         Prost Acer         (M)     1 Lap      
11.  Fisichella    Benetton Renault   (M)     1 Lap      
12.  Alesi         Prost Acer         (M)     2 Laps     
13.  Verstappen    Arrows Asiatech    (B)     2 Laps     
14.  de la Rosa    Jaguar Cosworth    (M)     2 Laps     
15.  Marques       Minardi European   (M)     3 Laps     
16.  Button        Benetton Renault   (M)     4 Laps     
17.  Alonso        Minardi European   (M)     7 Laps     
Fastest Lap: D.Coulthard, 1:16.088, lap 53

NOT CLASSIFIED / RETIREMENTS                                
     Irvine        Jaguar Cosworth    (M)   54
     Montoya       Williams BMW       (M)   52
     Bernoldi      Arrows Asiatech    (B)   17
     Villeneuve    BAR Honda          (B)    7
     Hakkinen      McLaren Mercedes   (B)    -


Drivers:                  Constructors:    
 1.  M.Schumacher  78     1.  Ferrari   108
 2.  Coulthard     47     2.  McLaren    56
 3.  R.Schumacher  31     3.  Williams   43
 4.  Barrichello   30     4.  Sauber     16
 5.  Montoya       12     5.  Jordan     15
 6.  Hakkinen       9     6.  BAR        12
 =   Heidfeld       9     7.  Jaguar      5
 =   Trulli         9     8.  Prost       3
 9.  Raikkonen      7     9.  Benetton    1
 =   Villeneuve     7     =   Arrows      1
11.  Frentzen       6                      
12.  Panis          5                      
13.  Irvine         4                      
14.  Alesi          3                      
15.  Fisichella     1                      
 =   Verstappen     1                      
 =   de la Rosa     1                      

Fastest Race Laps

Pos  Driver        Team                  Lap  Time           
 1.  Coulthard     McLaren-Mercedes  (B)  68  1:16.088         
 2.  Barrichello   Ferrari           (B)  68  1:16.181  + 0.093
 3.  M.Schumacher  Ferrari           (B)  69  1:16.286  + 0.198
 4.  Montoya       Williams-BMW      (M)  50  1:16.355  + 0.267
 5.  R.Schumacher  Williams-BMW      (M)  69  1:16.585  + 0.497
 6.  Irvine        Jaguar-Cosworth   (M)  52  1:17.304  + 1.216
 7.  Raikkonen     Sauber-Petronas   (B)  68  1:17.311  + 1.223
 8.  Trulli        Jordan-Honda      (B)  69  1:17.369  + 1.281
 9.  de la Rosa    Jaguar-Cosworth   (M)  67  1:17.508  + 1.420
10.  Heidfeld      Sauber-Petronas   (B)  68  1:17.538  + 1.450
11.  Frentzen      Jordan-Honda      (B)  68  1:17.540  + 1.452
12.  Fisichella    Benetton-Renault  (M)  68  1:17.968  + 1.880
13.  Villeneuve    BAR-Honda         (B)   5  1:18.181  + 2.093
14.  Panis         BAR-Honda         (B)  68  1:18.250  + 2.162
15.  Burti         Prost-Acer        (M)  68  1:18.253  + 2.165
16.  Button        Benetton-Renault  (M)  66  1:18.359  + 2.271
17.  Verstappen    Arrows-Asiatech   (B)  67  1:18.662  + 2.574
18.  Alesi         Prost-Acer        (M)  67  1:18.817  + 2.729
19.  Bernoldi      Arrows-Asiatech   (B)  17  1:19.181  + 3.093
20.  Alonso        Minardi-European  (M)  63  1:19.199  + 3.111
21.  Marques       Minardi-European  (M)  66  1:19.608  + 3.520

Pit-Stops Times

Pos  Driver        Team                   Time  Lap
 1.  Barrichello   Ferrari           (B)  23.5  21
 2.  M.Schumacher  Ferrari           (B)  24.1  25
 3.  Coulthard     McLaren-Mercedes  (B)  24.2  51
 4.  Barrichello   Ferrari           (B)  24.2  54
 5.  Fisichella    Benetton-Renault  (M)  24.3  20
 6.  Panis         BAR-Honda         (B)  24.6  23
 7.  de la Rosa    Jaguar-Cosworth   (M)  24.7  28
 8.  Barrichello   Ferrari           (B)  24.7  36
 9.  Trulli        Jordan-Honda      (B)  25.1  47
10.  Alesi         Prost-Acer        (M)  25.3  22
11.  Alesi         Prost-Acer        (M)  25.3  47
12.  Montoya       Williams-BMW      (M)  25.4  50
13.  Frentzen      Jordan-Honda      (B)  25.4  46
14.  R.Schumacher  Williams-BMW      (M)  25.4  44
15.  Marques       Minardi-European  (M)  25.6  50
16.  Montoya       Williams-BMW      (M)  25.9  30
17.  Heidfeld      Sauber-Petronas   (B)  25.9  21
18.  Trulli        Jordan-Honda      (B)  25.9  25
19.  Burti         Jaguar-Cosworth   (M)  25.9  25
20.  Coulthard     McLaren-Mercedes  (B)  25.9  26
21.  Irvine        Jaguar-Cosworth   (M)  25.9  27
22.  Verstappen    Arrows-Asiatech   (B)  26.0  45
23.  Burti         Jaguar-Cosworth   (M)  26.0  48
24.  Button        Benetton-Renault  (M)  26.1  19
25.  Panis         BAR-Honda         (B)  26.2  45
26.  Irvine        Jaguar-Cosworth   (M)  26.6  48
27.  Fisichella    Benetton-Renault  (M)  26.7  44
28.  Coulthard     McLaren-Mercedes  (B)  26.8  32
29.  R.Schumacher  Williams-BMW      (M)  26.9  24
30.  Raikkonen     Sauber-Petronas   (B)  27.2  15
31.  Marques       Minardi-European  (M)  27.2  26
32.  de la Rosa    Jaguar-Cosworth   (M)  27.2  43
33.  Raikkonen     Sauber-Petronas   (B)  27.3  40
34.  M.Schumacher  Ferrari           (B)  27.3  45
35.  Heidfeld      Sauber-Petronas   (B)  27.7  42
36.  Alonso        Minardi-European  (M)  29.2  36
37.  Frentzen      Jordan-Honda      (B)  33.6  24
38.  Button        Benetton-Renault  (M)  37.5  44
39.  Verstappen    Arrows-Asiatech   (B)  47.2  25

The French Grand Prix, Lap by Lap

At the start of the parade lap Mika Hakkinen fails to get off the line. The car is pushed into the pitlane but it cannot be started and Hakkinen is out. At the end of the parade lap Pedro de la Rosa's Jaguar slows and the Spaniard drives into the pitlane.

Ralf Schumacher leads Rubens BarrichelloLap 1: At the start Ralf Schumacher makes the most of his pole position to take the lead from his brother Michael, who already has a clutch problem. David Coulthard stays third but Juan Pablo Montoya makes a good start to jump from sixth to fourth. Also doing well is Rubens Barrichello who moves up from eighth to fifth. The two Jordans run sixth and seventh with Jarno Trulli ahead of Heinz-Harald Frentzen. Jacques Villeneuve is eighth with a fast-starting Kimi Raikkonen up from 13th to ninth. At the end of the first lap Ralf is three-tenths ahead of Michael. At the tail of the field de la Rosa starts a lap behind the rest of the field, his electronics having been reset by the Jaguar team.

Lap 2: Ralf increases his lead to three-tenths of a second while Coulthard is able to stay with the two men. Further back in the field Olivier Panis overtakes Eddie Irvine to take 11th position. Jenson Button grabs 16th from his Benetton team mate Giancarlo Fisichella.

Lap 6: At the front Ralf Schumacher's lead grows to one second. Eighth-placed Jacques Villeneuve pulls off with a technical problem.

Lap 15: The order is unchanged when Raikkonen becomes the first man to come into the pits. He drops back from eighth position to 16th.

Lap 18: Enrique Bernoldi's Arrows stops with a mechanical problem. It had been running 14th.

Lap 19: Thirteenth-placed Button stops and loses places to Fisichella, Raikkonen and Jean Alesi.

Lap 20: Fisichella stops and falls behind Raikkonen and Alesi but remains ahead of Button.

Ralf Schumacher, Williams, having a pitstopLap 21: Ralf's lead has gone out to 2.1 seconds when Barrichello becomes the first frontrunner to pit. He drops back from fifth place to seventh. Eighth-placed Nick Heidfeld also stops and rejoins in 11th while further back Irvine overtakes Panis at the final corner to grab ninth position.

Lap 22: Alesi pits and is overtaken by the two Benettons. Fisichella is thus 14th with Button 15th and Alesi 16th.

Lap 23: Ninth-placed Panis stops and drops to 13th place.

Lap 24: Ralf Schumacher pits, allowing Michael to go into the lead. There is a problem with his right rear tyre and he loses a few vital seconds. Also stopping is sixth-placed Frentzen who falls back to 11th place.

Lap 25: Michael pits and Coulthard takes the lead with Montoya behind him. Michael rejoins in third place, ahead of Ralf. Trulli stops and falls from fifth to seventh. Also stopping is eighth-placed Luciano Burti and 10th-placed Jos Verstappen.

Lap 26: Coulthard pits, leaving Montoya in the lead. David rejoins in fourth behind the two Schumacher brothers. David comes out of the pitlane too fast and will later be penalised. At the tail of the field Tarso Marques pits

Lap 27: Sixth-placed Irvine pits and drops back to ninth position.

Lap 28: Michael Schumacher closes rapidly on Montoya. At the tail of the field de la Rosa stops.

Michael Schumacher taking the checkered flagLap 30: Montoya stops and Michael Schumacher goes back into the lead. Montoya rejoins in fifth.

Lap 32: Coulthard pits for his 10-second penalty. This drops him back from third to fifth.

Lap 33: Verstappen overtakes Fernando Alonso for 16th place.

Lap 36: Barrichello pits for a second time and drops from third to fourth. It is clear that he is on a three-stop strategy. At the tail of the field Alonso pits.

Lap 40: The second round of stops begin for the two-stop racers with Raikkonen dropping from 10th to 11th.

Lap 41: While Michael Schumacher continues to lead it is clear that Ralf is holding up Montoya. The Williams team tries to get Ralf to move over but the German is having problems hearing his radio and fails to react. Montoya loses important seconds.

Lap 42: Seventh-placed Heidfeld pits and falls behind Frentzen and Irvine.

Lap 43: Irvine overtakes Frentzen for seventh. At the tail of the field de la Rosa stops after a very short middle stint.

Lap 44: After Patrick Head visits the pit walls to give instructions Ralf Schumacher pits for the second time, earlier than planned and falls from second to fifth. This allows Montoya to speed up again. Further back there is a disaster at Benetton when both Fisichella and Button pit at the same time. Button is the man to suffer most.

Lap 45: Michael Schumacher pits and Montoya goes back into the lead. Michael rejoins second but cannot keep up with Montoya's pace. In the midfield Panis pits from 10th place and drops to 13th. Verstappen also stops for a second time and drops back from 14th to 16th.

Lap 46: Eighth-placed Frentzen stops and falls back to 10th.

Michael Schumacher and Ralf Schumacher on the podiumLap 47: Sixth-placed Trulli pits for the second time and is overtaken by Irvine. Further back Panis passes Burti for 11th. Also pitting is 14th placed Alesi. Frentzen has a spin but gets going without losing a place.

Lap 48: Irvine stops and so Trulli goes back to sixth place with Heidfeld seventh and Irvine eighth.

Lap 50: Montoya stops and is passed by Michael Schumacher, Barrichello and Coulthard. But he rejoins ahead of Ralf Schumacher.

Lap 51: Barrichello stops and drops behind the two Williams-BMWs.

Lap 53: Montoya pulls off with a mechanical problem. This promotes Coulthard to fourth place, Trulli to fifth and Heidfeld to sixth.

Lap 54: Barrichello goes into the pits for his third stop. He falls to third behind Ralf Schumacher.

Lap 55: Irvine retires with a mechanical problem. Raikkonen inherits seventh place.

Lap 60: As Barrichello soaks up pressure from Coulthard in their battle for third place, Burti overtakes Fisichella to take 10th place.

Lap 61: Button has a spin but remains in 12th place.

Lap 64: De la Rosa finally catches and overtakes Alonso's Minardi to take 15th place.

Lap 69: Button retires with a mechanical problem.

Lap 72: Michael Schumacher wins his 50th Grand Prix victory with Ralf Schumacher second and Barrichello third for Ferrari, having held off Coulthard.. Trulli is fifth with Heidfeld a lap down in sixth place.

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Volume 7, Issue 27
July 4th 2001

Atlas F1 Exclusive

Interview with Gascoyne
by Roger Horton

Behind the Scenes of 'The Fast and the Furious'
by Fred Topel

French GP Review

The French GP Review
by Pablo Elizalde

Reflections from Magny Cours
by Roger Horton

Surprise Surprise
by Richard Barnes

Down with Downforce
by Karl Ludvigsen


The F1 Insider
by Mitch McCann

Season Strokes - the GP Cartoon
by Bruce Thomson

Qualifying Differentials
by Marcel Borsboom

The Weekly Grapevine
by the F1 Rumors Team

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