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2000 Brazilian GP News
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The 2nd race of the season is only a few days away. So have McLaren fixed their problems ? We certainly hope so as we don't really want to see Ferrari unchallenged.
Olivier Panis covered a lot of mileage last week at Silverstone so the engine problem they faced in Australia might be fixed and let us hope that no new problems surface this weekend.
If both Ferrari and McLaren are reliable, then we are about to witness an exciting race where any of those 4 drivers can win. The local favourite of those 4 would undoubtedly be Rubens Barrichello and if he does win, then he might be able to challenge Michael Schumacher for the rest of the season. If he fails in Brazil, it will be very hard for him to beat Schumacher after that. The only problem I see with Ferrari is their slow(er) starts. They certainly appear to be struggling with starting which could lose them valuable places which are very hard to make up for on the track.
At McLaren, it appears a clearer cut, Hakkinen still appears to have an edge over Coulthard in qualifying and if the team agrees that whoever leads at the first corner will not be challenged afterwards then Hakkinen will still have an edge !!.
No other team appears to be capable of challenging for the win unless it either rains or those top 2 teams fail. In Australia, Jordan and Jaguar appeared strong but all 4 cars failed to finish. Don't expect all cars to finish this time, in fact they could all fail again here !!.
BAR was slower than those 4 teams and even slower than Benetton, Sauber and Williams but Villeneuve managed to keep all drivers bar Ralf Schumacher stuck behind him and even that was via the pits. The Honda engine is still being developed and 2 weeks are not long enough for major improvement but they will improve much faster than the other teams in their group.
Williams led us to believe they were struggling big time but they almost managed to get 2 cars to the finish. Benetton is now reborn after being bought out by Renault but they lack power but are reliable. Arrows use the same engines as Benetton but are less reliable, we saw de la Rosa crash due to a suspension problem and Verstappen retired after that with a similar problem. Sauber managed to finish in the top 6 but a technicality disqualified Salo. They did appear strong in fact stronger than Benetton and BAR.
Finally Prost appear to be getting reliable but the car is underdeveloped and therefore slow and Minardi, well they might finish but points will depend on how the cars at the front do !!
Looking forward to the race !!
Mika Hakkinen sets the fastest time ahead of Michael Schumacher and David Coulthard. Barrichello, de la Rosa and Alesi make the top 6.
Mika Hakkinen's time of 1:15.896 is simply stunning as it
is almost 0.7 seconds faster than last year's pole position time which is still 3 sessions
away !!. Michael Schumacher attempted to get close to Hakkinen but appeared to have
suffered a problem, he ended up almost 0.5 seconds slower. Both Coulthard and Barrichello
were 0.7 seconds slower than Hakkinen as only 0.007 seconds separates the two.
There is less than a second separating 5th to 14th which
will make qualifying very interesting tomorrow not just between the top 4 but for the rest
of the field as well.
During the first practice session, it was Barrichello who
set the fastest time ahead of Mika Hakkinen and David Coulthard. Michael Schumacher was
4th ahead of Villeneuve in 5th. None of the top teams set any time during the first 30
minutes of the session and then it became very interesting as the top 4 drivers started
exchanging fastest times. Barrichello's fastest time during the 1st session was more than
a second faster that Hakkinen's best time on Friday last year.
Mika Hakkinen grabs pole position ahead of teammate David Coulthard and Michael Schumacher. Rubens Barrichello, Giancarlo Fisichella and Eddie Irvine make the top 6. Mika Hakkinen's pole time is almost 2.5 seconds faster than the pole position time here last year. Some of this dramatic increase in speed is due to the resurfacing of the track.
Fisichella was an impressive 5th followed by Irvine in 6th. Frentzen, Zonta, Button and Villeneuve make the top 10.
The session started with most cars going out very early as the skies had very dark clouds. Trulli spun and ended in the gravel on his first lap and ran back to the pits to get the spare car. Mazzacane's car stops and he goes back to get the spare car. Of the top 4, Barrichello grabs provisional pole for a few minutes then Michael Schumacher and then Mika Hakkinen who holds onto Pole position until the end.
The final order of the grid is not a true indication of the potential of the cars as the session was stopped 3 times due to falling advertisement boards on the track, the 3rd incident occurred when Jean Alesi hit one of those signs at high speed, he was lucky to only have his front wing damaged. It rained heavily after the 3rd red flag and some cars came back onto the track to test wet weather settings. It would have been a very exciting qualifying session had it not been for those advertisement signs that kept falling onto the track. Organisers should be fined heavily for this.
Both Diniz and Salo did not put in very fast laps during the session as worries over their rear wings continued. Salo crashed during the 2nd practice session after his rear wing collapsed. Sauber will be trying to sort out the problem prior to the race tomorrow.
It should make for an interesting race though with more rain now forecast, the results could be surprising.
Michael Schumacher wins the Brazilian GP ahead of David Coulthard and Giancarlo Fisichella. Frentzen, Trulli and Ralf Schumacher make the top 6.
Ferrari took the risk of adopting a 2 stop strategy and it
just worked as Hakkinen retired and Michael Schumacher suffered a minor problem but the
gap to David Coulthard was just enough for Michael to finish 4.3 seconds ahead. David
Coulthard was not very quick as he lost 2nd and 3rd gears for most of the race.
Good result for Fisichella as he managed to be the best of the rest followed by both the Jordan's showing dramatic improvement in reliability while the Williams BMW of both Ralf Schumacher and Jenson Button managed to finish in a respectable 6th and 7th positions.
Disappointment for Hakkinen who would have certainly challenged Michael Schumacher for the win had he continued. Barrichello racing at his home grand prix retired with hydraulic problems. Jaguar as both drivers retired, BAR as Jacques Villeneuve retired early and Zonta had a very long pit stop but managed to finish 10th. Prost with both cars retiring very early in the race.
Race Start: Mika Hakkinen gets a good start, David Coulthard loses one position to Michael Schumacher. Jarno Trulli has a great start and so does Jean Alesi. Alex Wurz stalls on the warm-up lap and starts from the pit lane.
Race Order Lap 1
Just on the start of the second lap, Michael Schumacher manages to pass Hakkinen and Barrichello passes Coulthard. Both Ferrari's appear on a lighter fuel load as Michael Schumacher increases his lead rapidly over Hakkinen
Jarno Trulli who appears on a 2-stop strategy passes Fisichella to take 6th place
Wurz retires with engine problems on lap 7
Race Order Lap 8
Heidfeld and Alesi retire with engine problems on lap 10
and 12 respectively
Rubens Barrichello manages to pass Hakkinen
Race Order Lap 23
Trulli pits (1st pit stop)
Barrichello retires with hydraulic problems on lap 28
Race Order Lap 38
Coulthard pits (1st and only pit stop)
Race Order Lap 54
M Schumacher pits (2nd pit stop)
M Schumacher appears to have a problem as he loses over 4 seconds in a single lap but then appears to recover. David Coulthard closes the gap from over 20 seconds to just 4.3 seconds by the end of the race.
M Schumacher, Coulthard, Fisichella, Frentzen, Trulli, R Schumacher, Button, Verstappen, de la Rosa, Zonta, Mazzacane.
Following the post race inspection, David Coulthard was disqualified due to a technical infringement. McLaren have appealed but until the appeal is heard and ruled on, Fisichella moves to 2nd position followed by Frentzen, Trulli, R Schumacher and Button to make the top 6.