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|1999 German GP News|
German GP Preview:
Only a week after the Austrian GP, the Formula 1 circus moves to Germany with only 2 points separating Mika Hakkinen and Eddie Irvine. So will Hakkinen manage to extend his lead here or will Irvine continue his dream run?
All the predictions point to a McLaren 1-2 as the McLaren will be far superior on this fast circuit than the Ferrari so provided that the McLaren does not break down and we have not seen that in the last few races, expect a McLaren 1-2. A challenge from Coulthard is very unlikely as he will no doubt try to make up for his actions in Austria when he caused his team-mate Hakkinen to spin.
Eddie Irvine and Mika Salo will struggle in Germany as the Ferrari does not seem to be competitive on fast tracks. It would not be surprising if Stewart's Rubens Barrichello or Jordan's Heinz-Harald Frentzen manage to out-qualify the Ferrari's. In addition, it will become clearer how Ferrari are very much dependant on Michael Schumacher in the setup and development of the car and with his absence it is only a matter of time when we will see them struggle.
Ralf Schumacher in the Williams is the other German hope here and expect him to do well and possibly another podium finish. Alex Zanardi on the other hand will not perform. Both Benetton will struggle on this type of track but the car is very reliable and if enough top runners drop out, Fisichella or Wurz could finish in the points.
Sauber and Prost have not scored results yet and will be fighting with the Benettons for a top 10 finish. This brings us to BAR who have not scored a single point to date and Jacques Villeneuve has yet to finish a race. If BAR do manage to get the reliability sorted out, they will be scoring points and challenging Williams but that is a big if.
Minardi and Arrows will be at the back of the field racing among themselves.
A surprise Jarno Trulli clocks the fastest time during Friday's practice sessions ahead of Eddie Irvine and Giancarlo Fisichella. Coulthard, Barrichello and Panis make the top 6.
So were did the Prosts and the Benettons get the speed on a circuit which relies heavily on engine power ? The only answer I have is that certainly some teams are not showing the true potential of their cars until qualifying. When Marc Gene in the Minardi is in 11th less than 0.1 seconds slower than Hakkinen, this certainly does not reflect the real situation !!.
Of the worst performances, Hakkinen was down in 10th, Villeneuve 14th, Alesi 16th and Frentzen way back in 17th position.
Surely the grid tomorrow will not even be close to this order, stay tuned !!
Mika Hakkinen grabs his 8th pole position of the year only 5 hundredth of a second ahead of a very impressive Heinz-Harald Frentzen. David Coulthard was 3rd while Mika Salo was 4th out-qualifying Eddie Irvine in 5th. Rubens Barrichello made the top 6.
Olivier Panis was 7th in a strong performance from the Prost while Damon Hill was 8th more than 1 second slower than his team-mate Frentzen. Jarno Trulli was 9th and he could have done better but suffered 2 blown engines during the qualifying session. Giancarlo Fisichella was the 10 and the fastest of the Supertec's followed by Ralf Schumacher, Jacques Villeneuve Alex Wurz and Alex Zanardi. Marc Gene' in the Minardi was certainly impressive by Minardi's standards in 15th while it was a nightmare session for the Sauber team with Diniz 16th and Jean Alesi 21st !!, it was also a very disappointing session for Johnny Herbert who was way back in 17th almost 1.5 seconds slower than his team-mate Barrichello.
Hakkinen on pole was expected but Frentzen in 2nd place certainly wasn't, he out-qualified a McLaren and the 2 Ferrari's which are superior cars. It is clear that Frentzen is a top driver and being at Jordan made him tick. Damon Hill on the other hand was again disappointing being more than a second slower than his team-mate. Mika Salo showing Irvine the way in his second ever appearance for Ferrari is a sign that Salo is an excellent driver. Whether he will be able to impress during the race is yet to be seen.
So will Hakkinen extend his lead in the championship tomorrow or will Irvine manage to pull out something special and challenge Hakkinen or will we see a new World Championship contender in Frentzen ?
Looking forward to the race, stay tuned !!
Eddie Irvine wins the German Grand Prix ahead of team-mate Mika Salo and Heinz Harald Frentzen, Ralf Schumacher, David Coulthard and Olivier Panis make the top 6.
A surprising result which saw Hakkinen crash midway through the race and Coulthard damaging his front wing. Mika Salo letting Irvine pass handed the Irvine the win and the lead in the drivers championship.
Mika Salo gets a superb start while Frentzen and Irvine don't. Mika Hakkinen leads followed by Mika Salo, David Coulthard. Frentzen, Barrichello and Irvine make the top 6.
Pedro Diniz and Jacques Villeneuve touch and both go out on the first corner.
Barrichello passes Frentzen and starts catching Coulthard who was catching Salo.
Barrichello retires with hydraulic problems on lap 7 while Fisichella retires on the following lap with suspension problems.
David Coulthard attempts to pass Mika Salo but touches the
rear wheel of Salo and loses a part of his front win, he pits to replace the front wing
and rejoins in 11th.
Irvine manages to pass Frentzen in the pits while Hakkinen pits and loses valuable time while his pit crew struggle with his refuelling pump. He rejoins in 4th behind Frentzen but manages to pass him very quickly. A few moments later his left rear tyre disintegrates throwing the McLaren in a few spins before crashing into the tyre barrier.
Salo lets Irvine through handing him the lead, race order: Irvine, Salo, Frentzen, Ralf Schumacher, Coulthard, Herbert.
The race finishes with Irvine ahead of Salo followed by Frentzen, Ralf Schumacher, David Coulthard and Olivier Panis.