2001 French Grand PrixEdit
|2001 French Grand Prix|
|Race 9 of 18 in the 2001 Formula One World Championship|
|Date||June 17, 2001|
|Official name||XCIII Grand Prix de France|
|Location||Circuit de Nevers Magny-Cours|
|Course||Permanent racing facility|
|Course length||4.411 km (2.74 mi)|
|Distance||72 laps, 308.77 km (191.8 mi)|
|Time||1:16.164 on lap 37|
It was no surprise that the two Ferrari cars of Michael Schumacher and Rubens Barrichello locked out the front row in qualifying with championship leader Ralf Schumacher over half a second behind in third. Anyway, Ralf was lokking backwards more because championship rival David Coulthard was hot on his heels right behind with Juan Pablo Montoya doing a good job to beat Mika Häkkinen in the battle for fith. As usual, Heinz-Harald Frentzen and Jarno Trulli were behind the top six, with Trulli qualifying seventh and Frentzen in eighth.
Michael Schumacher took off into the lead from pole position but David Coulthard was the fast started, blasting past Ralf Schumacher and also challengining Rubens Barrichello. Mika Häkkinen was the slow starter, as Jarno Trulli quickly was able to get ahead, forcing Häkkinen to defend from Heinz-Harald Frentzen. At the end of lap 1, Schumacher was leading from Barrichello, Coulthard, Ralf, Juan Pablo Montoya, Trulli, Häkkinen and Frentzen. The top three began to pull away from the rest, with Ralf and Montoya running together and Häkkinen clearly stuck behind Trulli. There were no overtakings in the first stint but things began to get interesting during the stops with Barrichello stopping later than Schumacher to get ahead. Behind, Häkkinen jumped Trulli and began to close in on Ralf and Montoya.
On lap 23, Coulthard passed Schumacher for second in the twisty section near the end but 6 laps later, Schumacher just accelerated past him on the run down to Adelaide. Now for the second round of stops and Barrichello went first. Schumacher went a lap later and jumped his teammate just like what happened in the first round to lead again. On lap 37, as the top 3 were coming to lap Fernando Alonso, Alonso saw Schumacher and slowed on the racing line. Schumacher saw it and went by but Barrichello did not and hit Alonso, puncturing Alonso's tyre and damaging Barrichello's nose cone. The collision made Alonso spin in front of Coulthard, who went to the gravel to avoid him. He did, but as he rejoined, Ralf who was coming up behind ran at over 300km/h onto Coulthard, sending Ralf's car into the air. It hit a fencing wall head on and then landed vertically on the ground, leaving the front of the car with only bits and pieces. Ralf was lucky to escape with only cuts and bruises.
Meanwhile, Barrichello had stopped for a new nose, and when he rejoined, he was fifth between Frentzen and Trulli (Frentzen got ahead in the stops). Behind Schumacher, Häkkinen was closing in on Montoya, and tried to pass on lap 49. They touched and while Häkkinen went by to take second, Montoya's car locked up and almot went straight on into the wall, but Montoya braked and prevented it. However, he had to reverse his car. He then saw Frentzen turning into the corner followed by Barrichello and cut in between them. Frentzen was jumped by both Montoya and Barrichello during the stops and soon retired when a wheel fell off his car. Barrichello then touched Montoya from behind, taking out Montoya's rear wing and forcing Montoya to pit again, while Barrichello took third. Montoya dropped down to eighth but passed Giancarlo Fisichella to make it seventh. Schumacher took his first win of the season ahead of Häkkinen, Barrichello, Trulli, Eddie Irvine, Jenson Button, Montoya and Fisichella.
- Lap Leaders: Michael Schumacher 53 (1-15, 35-72), Rubens Barrichello 18 (16-24, 26-34), David Coulthard 1 (25)
- Michael Schumacher's first win of the season.
- As usual, this race and the following British Grand Prix were run without any tobacco sponsorship except for the Ferrari team which ran its usual sponsorship.
- The McLaren team put their drivers names, "Mika" and "David" on their cars.
- The Benetton team did the same thing, with "Fisico" and "Jenson".
- The Jordan team put "Bitten Heroes" on their race cars
- The BAR team put "Look Alike" on their wings.
- David Coulthard went off onto the gravel, and when he was trying to rejoin, he was hit by Ralf Schumacher, catapulting Ralf's car into the air. It hit a fence head on before landing back almost vertically, practically leaving nothing left of the front of the car. Ralf, however, escaped with cuts and bruises.
- Rubens Barrichello lost his nose cone after hitting the back of Fernando Alonso while trying to lap him. Barrichello, who was second before dropped down to fifth after the stop.
- Juan Pablo Montoya collided with both Mika Häkkinen and Rubens Barrichello in seperate incidents, and came off worst in both cases, losing time and places.
Standings after Grand PrixEdit
- 1. Ralf Schumacher - 61
- 2. David Coulthard - 51
- 3. Rubens Barrichello - 45
- 4. Michael Schumacher - 39
- 5. Juan Pablo Montoya - 33
- 6. Mika Häkkinen - 27
- 7. Jarno Trulli - 18
- 8. Heinz-Harald Frentzen - 16