British GP - Silverstone 23 April 2000
Barrichello was the first Ferrari driver to start from pole position this season and he made good use of his advantage by convincingly taking the lead of the race ahead of Frentzen as the lights changed. The two McLaren of Coulthard and Hakkinen took the third and fourth position and M. Schumacher, who was starting from fifth, made a good start but Hakkinen closed the door on him forcing his Ferrari on the grass made soggy and heavy by the recent downpours over the Silverstone area. M. Schumacher's excursion on the wet grass caused him to lose position to his brother R. Schumacher, Button and Villeneuve. Ferrari had chosen to start with more fuel than McLaren in view of delaying the pit stop, but this strategy did not work for M. Schumacher as he lost a second a lap against the lead by being stuck behind the Canadian. After the first five laps the leading group consisted of six drivers, Barrichello, Frentzen, Coulthard, Hakkinen, Button and R. Schumacher, with only three seconds between the lead and the sixth position. Button, in his fourth F1 race, was the first driver in the leading pack to lap below 1'29" on lap eight, but no overtake attempt was made by any of the leading drivers despite being tightly packed together.
On lap 11 Barrichello clocked the fastest lap and tried to build a gap, so that by lap 14 M. Schumacher, still stuck behind Villeneuve and not trying to overtake, was already 17 seconds behind his team mate. On lap 15 Wurz was the first driver to go for a pit stop, while on lap 20 Verstappen's Arrows was the first car to retire with problems. On lap 22 Hakkinen started attacking and clocked the fastest lap, being the first driver to go below 1'28". On lap 24 Frentzen was the first driver in the leading group to go for a pit stop from second position, closely followed by R. Schumacher. Frentzen's disappearance opened the door for the two McLaren drivers who started pushing and caught up with Barrichello. Button had a slower pit stop than R. Schumacher and rejoined the race behind his team mate. Barrichello and the two McLaren did not show any intention of pitting, indicating that both teams had decided to go for a one-stop strategy. On lap 31 Coulthard finally managed to overtake Barrichello for the lead of the race in a new fastest lap of 1'27"093. On the following lap Hakkinen had his pit stop and rejoined behind the two Williams.
On lap 34 Coulthard and Villeneuve had their pit stops at almost the same time, leaving out only the Ferrari to pit. On lap 35 Barrichello, back in the lead after Coulthard's pit stop, suffered from hydraulic problems and span, controlled the spin, recovered the car, drove straight into the pit lanes and retired. Apparently the hydraulic system had started giving him problems a few laps earlier and had been instrumental in Coulthard's successful bid for the lead. Having a free track after having been stuck behind Villeneuve, M. Schumacher, now in the lead, started pushing very hard trying to recover some of the time he had lost in view of taking his pit stop, clocking the fastest lap of 1'26"797 on lap 36. At this point the race was led by M. Schumacher, who had not stopped yet, in front of Frentzen, Coulthard, R. Schumacher, Button and Hakkinen. On lap 38 the German finally went for his pit stop (8.8 seconds) and rejoined in sixth position behind Hakkinen. On lap 42 Frentzen had his second pit stop from the first position, leaving Coulthard again in the lead. M. Schumacher kept on attacking and started gaining precious tens of seconds every lap on Hakkinen.
The two Williams soon went both for their pit stops, rejoining behind M. Schumacher's Ferrari. With 12 laps to go, the British GP was being led by Coulthard in front of team mate Hakkinen, M. Schumacher, Frentzen, R. Schumacher and Button. Shortly afterwards gear selection problems struck Frentzen, allowing R. Schumacher and Button to go ahead and finally forcing the Jordan driver to retire. Frentzen's retirement brought Villeneuve into the points, with Trulli chasing him closely and finally managing to go ahead of the BAR for one Championship point to console Eddie Jordan of Frentzen's demise. Coulthard went on to win the race with Hakkinen following him closely and ahead of M. Schumacher, R. Schumacher, Button and Trulli.
McLaren have finally managed to bring both cars home in the first two positions while it was Ferrari's turn to suffer from reliability problems. The British GP result has lessened the gap between M. Schumacher and the rest of the pack in the Drivers Championship and between Ferrari and McLaren in the Constructors Championship, though McLaren still have work to do to catch up and start challenging for the Championship. The British GP also broke M. Schumacher's winning streak, though the German was happy to finish third after having been stuck in eighth position for most of the race. Jordan's bad luck struck again today, taking out Frentzen after he had been convincingly in the leading group throughout the race, though Trulli's last-minute pass on Villeneuve ensured that the team did not come home empty-handed. Williams had a good day, with both drivers finishing in the first six and with the bet the team had placed on Button paying off. The other teams did not really shine. Benetton in particular did not perform well, with both Wurz and Barrichello never being in a position to fight for points. BAR could boast of having kept current Championship leader M. Schumacher under lock and key for most of the race but, as soon as the pit stops freed the German, Villeneuve's only other appearance in the race took place when Frentzen's retirement moved him into sixth position, only to be thrown out of the points again by Trulli almost immediately.
Next appointment is on 7th of May in Barcelona.
Last updated on by Federica Massagrande