SILVERSTONE, England -- Britain's David
Coulthard moved into contention in the drivers' title race on
Sunday when he won his home Grand Prix for the second successive
year, leading teammate Mika Hakkinen of Finland across the line
in a dominant one-two by the McLaren team.
McLaren pairing won comfortably after taking full
advantage of Rubens Barrichello's mid-race retirement after the
Brazilian had led in his Ferrari for the opening 36 laps of the
Coulthard finished 1.4 seconds ahead of defending world
champion Hakkinen in one hour 28 minutes and 50.10 seconds at an
average speed of 208.266 kph.
His win ended German Michael Schumacher's season-opening
streak of three straight wins to keep the fight for this year's
title race alive in front of a bedraggled Silverstone crowd who
braved flooded fields and appalling conditions to attend the
Schumacher remains top of the drivers' championship with 34
points, 20 ahead of Coulthard whose victory was the seventh of
his career and his first since the Belgian Grand Prix at
Spa-Francorchamps last year.
The race, run in the first real spell of dry and warm
conditions of the entire weekend, was led from the start by
Barrichello, who began from pole, until he was passed by
Coulthard on Lap 31.
The Scot led for just two laps before he pitted and the
Brazilian took over again before, plagued by hydraulics
problems, he spun off at Brooklands, drove through wet grass and
pools of water back onto the track but then was forced to
The Brazilian's departure left Ferrari teammate Schumacher
out in front as his strategy of one pit stop began to promise a
pay-off, but after he came in for more fuel, he fell back down
the order. Fellow German Heinz-Harald Frentzen in a Jordan, who
was on a two-stop plan, led for three laps before Coulthard took
Both Coulthard and Hakkinen were on a one-top strategy and
they were then able to enjoy the luxury of cruising clear of the
field as Schumacher settled for third place ahead of his brother
Ralf Schumacher and his Williams teammate Briton Jenson Button.
Button's performance was remarkable for a 20-year-old in
only his fourth Grand Prix and showed maturity beyond his years
as well as a daring courage to race hard for positions.
Italian Jarno Trulli in a Jordan finished sixth, some
consolation for the local Silverstone-based team after his teammate Frentzen had retired following a strong showing for much of
Coulthard said: "Yes, it's great for me to win this race.
But there was a time when I thought I was having a bit of a
gearbox problem and was almost in tears. But the car hung
together for me and now I am really looking forward to the rest
of the season."
He compared his passing move on Barrichello on Hangar
Straight to a famous move made by former British hero Nigel
Mansell on Brazilian Nelson Piquet, both Williams teammates, in
the 1997 British Grand Prix.
"I remembered that move and I just thought to myself that
it must be worth a go and it worked out," he said. "Now I am
looking ahead to the rest of the year. We can win in Barcelona
Hakkinen was disappointed to finish only second and collect
six points. He said his car lacked balance after struggling in
the delayed morning warm-up session -- thick fog forced it be
postponed for 100 minutes -- and that it was understandable, but
Schumacher, who made a powerful start, but elected to try
and pass on the grass and ended up losing places, rose from
eighth early in the race to finish in a satisfying third.
"I didn't want to have an accident with my brother when we
were fighting early on," he said. "So, after being eighth for
so long, I was happy to get though and finish third. It is a
good result for me.
"I didn't give up and I was lucky to get something out of
it in the end. I had a lot of traffic trouble and there were
some guys who just did not obey the blue flags.
"Some guys, and one of them is Pedro (Diniz), just did not
move at all and that is not the first time that has happened to
me, so I was pretty angry."
|Michael Schumacher drove his Ferrari to a third-place finish.|| |