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|1999 British GP News|
It will be very hard for the British GP to match the excitement of the French GP but who knows ??
Once again, Mika Hakkinen and Michael Schumacher are both favourites, Schumacher won last year in the wet and in controversy. Hakkinen led most of the way until he spun in the wet and lost valuable time. The circuit does appear to suit McLaren better but last week's testing showed both Ferrari and McLaren close with Michael Schumacher topping the times on 2 of the 4 days. Providing reliability holds on both cars, it will be hard to pick the winner but Hakkinen should have an edge.
David Coulthard again retired in France and if not officially, he must have conceded that his championship hopes are over so expect Coulthard to start providing support for Hakkinen. This could mean a second, third or fourth place !!
Eddie Irvine has to support Michael Schumacher so he will certainly finish behind him unless Schumacher fails or gets into major problems. A second, third or fourth place are all possible.
Heinz-Harald Frentzen won the last race but it will be very hard to imaging that he'll win again ahead of the Ferrari's and the McLaren's . Expect a strong showing from him. Damon Hill will be driving his last race of his career so expect him to also be hot and perhaps doing something special.
Rubens Barrichello's grabbed pole position in France in wet conditions and he has set the fastest time on one of the 4 testing days last week. He could challenge the top teams but he will most probably finish behind them in the points.
Giancarlo Fisichella and Alexander Wurz at Benetton will struggle at this circuit as they have appeared to struggle on faster circuits. the car is very reliable and if a lot of drivers at the front drop, expect either to finish in the points although it seems that Fisichella has the edge over Wurz.
Jacques Villeneuve in the BAR is also driving a car that appears to behave the exact opposite to the Benetton. Expect a strong qualifying session and if reliability holds, he will finish in the points (5th or 6th).
Other drivers with a potential to do well are Ralf Schumacher, Jean Alesi and Jarno Trulli. They had good test times last week.
Mika Hakkinen sets the fastest time in today's practice sessions ahead of Ralf Schumacher and Eddie Irvine. David Coulthard, Rubens Barrichello and Michael Schumacher make the top 6.
While the order is not as strange as the French qualifying
session 2 weeks ago, there are certainly a few surprises. Ralf Schumacher in the Williams
qualifying 2nd ahead of the 2 Ferrari's and Coulthard's McLaren is certainly impressive
given the fact that the Supertec engine is underpowered. Michael Schumacher's 6th position
is certainly disappointing especially that he is behind his team-mate Eddie Irvine by more
than 0.25 seconds.
Surely this will not be how the grid will be formed tomorrow but one thing is for sure that the cars are closer on this circuit with 1 second separating the top 9. It will certainly be an interesting qualifying session.
Mika Hakkinen grabs his 6th pole position of the season ahead of Michael Schumacher and David Coulthard. Eddie Irvine, Heinz-Harald Frentzen and Damon Hill make the top 6.
Mika Hakkinen didn't appear to be threatened by anyone as he grabbed provisional pole position from his first run and kept it. Michael Schumacher is 0.419 slower while David Coulthard was 0.790 seconds slower than Hakkinen.
Eddie Irvine was 4th and didn't perform as expected as he struggled early in the session but managed to better his time towards the end of the session. The Jordan pair were 5th and 6th with a Frentzen ahead of Damon Hill who is participating in his last Grand Prix. Rubens Barrichello was 7th while Ralf Schumacher was the best of the Supertec runners in 8th followed by Jacques Villeneuve in 9th.
Benetton were disappointing and even worse than expected with Fisichella and Wurz in 17th and 18th respectively.
It seems that McLaren have a clear edge over Ferrari on this kind of circuit despite the fact that Ferrari are using the new engine which helped them grab Pole position in Canada.
1 second separates the top 4 drivers while 2 seconds separate the top 10. It will be an interesting race between Hakkinen and Michael Schumacher and it will be interesting to see how Damon Hill will do in his last race.
David Coulthard wins the British Grand Prix ahead of Eddie Irvine and an impressive Ralf Schumacher. Heinz-Harald Frentzen, Damon Hill and Pedro Diniz make the top 6.
Michael Schumacher gets a bad start and loses 2 places to Coulthard and Irvine while Hakkinen leads. With 2 cars stalled on the left side of the grid, the race is stopped, during that time Michael Schumacher attempts to overtake Irvine but loses grip and goes straight into the tyre barrier. It was a massive head on shunt and Michael Schumacher was injured with a broken leg.
Hakkinen gets a good start so does Irvine who manages to
pass Coulthard. Ralf Schumacher also gets a great start and manages to get to 5th place.
Top 6 positions: Hakkinen, Irvine, Coulthard, Frentzen, Ralf Schumacher and Damon Hill.
The race order for the top 6 remains the same until the first pit stops when Mika Hakkinen gets a problem with his left wheel which forces him to pit twice and lose valuable time which resulted in dropping him to 15th position. Meanwhile Coulthard takes the lead by passing Irvine in the pits followed by Ralf Schumacher, Frentzen, Hill and Barrichello.
A few laps later Hakkinen loses the left wheel but amazingly manages to bring the car into the pits, they fit a new wheel and he gets back but a lap down. Jacques Villeneuve's gearbox fails and he stops on the right hand side of the track forcing the safety car yet again. When the safety car goes out the race order was: Coulthard, Irvine Ralf Schumacher, Frentzen, Barrichello and Hill.
The race order remains the same apart from Barrichello getting into the pits and losing 5th position.
So with both Hakkinen and Michael Schumacher out of the race, Eddie Irvine is now equal 2nd with Michael Schumacher 8 points behind Hakkinen. Michael Schumacher will probably miss the next few races which means that Irvine will have to take the fight to Hakkinen in the next few races. And while it is sad that Michael Schumacher will miss a few races which probably means that his world championship hopes will be very slim, it will certainly be interesting to see how Irvine fights Hakkinen and Coulthard.