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1999 Monaco GP News

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Race Preview | Friday Practice | Saturday Qualifying | Race Report

Monaco GP Preview

So the most famous and prestigious race on the F1 calendar is only a few days away and who is the favourite ?, it is very hard to tell but the momentum is certainly with the Ferrari team and Michael Schumacher who had won here several times and has expressed his confidence in winning again this year. Mika Hakkinen on the other hand will want to prove that his mistakes are far and few and will certainly attempt to win this one provided problems don't strike the McLaren.

David Coulthard has to either prove that the is capable of winning, otherwise he will almost certainly be seen as the second driver at McLaren and will soon have to at that way. There are lot of other possible winners as the results of this race are the hardest to predict. Just remember Olivier Panis' stunning performance in the wet back in 96 when he won and only 3 cars actually finished !!. Those possible winners -provided that the top runners retire or crash- or those who could produce a good results include:
Eddie Irvine, who maintains a good record at Monaco having finished 3rd twice in a row, could he better than that this year ?
Heinz-Harald Frentzen, the Jordan has been reliable and this man has been consistent, he would have finished on the podium at Imola had it not been for Irvine's blown engine. The only disadvantage going for Jordan is the fact hat they had their worst qualifying in years here at Monaco just last year so will they bounce back?
Damon Hill, finishing 4th at Imola was encouraging and will be up there in Monaco if the situation is right.
Rubens Barrichello, one of the dark horses this season and especially for this race. We don't really know how the Stewart's chassis will perform on this type of circuit but expect Rubens to do well if his car holds.
Johnny Herbert, still seems to need to adapt to his new environment at Stewart but could do well here.
Giancarlo Fisichella, qualified an impressive 2nd here last year but the bad performance of the Benetton at Imola especially in qualifying casts real doubts about the teams ability this year. He could do well provided that the Benetton chassis is suited for this type of circuit.
Alexander Wurz, currently being in the shadow of his team-mate, needs a strong performance here to bounce back.
Jacques Villeneuve, a consistent finisher here but not a good qualifier, the BAR reliability is the main concern and if the last testing session is something to go by, they should have less problems and will be able to finish possibly in the points.
Mika Salo, another dark horse of this race, he has finished in the points in the last 3 races here in inferior cars so in a Supertec powered car he could provide a major surprise that is if his BAR holds.
Jean Alesi, the Sauber has been unpredictable this season so it is very hard to judge how well it will perform this race but if it rains Alesi will have a chance.
Olivier Panis, winner in 96 in wet conditions can repeat that if the conditions are right and the Prost is more suitable for this circuit.
Jarno Trulli, Monaco is one of the few races were I expect Trulli to be outqualified and outraced by his team-mate Panis but I could be proven wrong.

Don't forget that the practice sessions for Monaco are on Thursday and not Friday as Friday is Market Day in Monaco. Qualifying is as usual on Saturday and the race on Sunday.

Stay tuned for all the times and results here.

Monaco GP Friday Practice

Michael Schumacher sets the fastest time in today's practice session ahead of Mika Hakkinen and an impressive Olivier Panis. Irvine, Fisichella and Coulthard make the top 6.

Eddie Irvine was fastest in the morning session more than 0.5 seconds ahead of his team-mate Michael Schumacher but Schumacher reversed that in the afternoon session. Both McLaren's struggled in the morning session only to bounce back in the afternoon session with Mika Hakkinen 0.136 seconds behind Michael Schumacher and David Coulthard in 6th place 0.785 seconds behind Schumacher.

The surprise of the afternoon is Panis who was 3rd fastest only 0.6 seconds behind Schumacher, Fisichella also showed some potential being 5th fastest in a car which only 2 weeks ago qualified 16th at Imola, his team-mate Alexander Wurz was not so impressive only managing 14th fastest.

7th was Rubens Barrichello in the Stewart followed by the BAR pair of Mika Salo and Jacques Villeneuve. The Jordan seems to struggle this year at Monaco as it did last year with Hill 11th fastest and Frentzen 19th !!. Similarly the Williams pair are way off the pace with Zanardi 13th and Ralf Schumacher in 16th.

Comparing the Thursday practice times to last years', Michael Schumacher improved his time by around 1 second while Panis improved by almost 2 seconds and Barrichello improved by more than 2 seconds. This clearly demonstrates the improvements made to these cars despite the fact that they are running on 4 groove tyres which is designed to slow the cars !!. Other drivers who improved their times (only drivers who were with the same team are compared), Hill (more than 2 seconds), Wurz (less than 0.5 second), Trulli (less than 0.5 seconds), Alesi (less than 0.5 seconds) and Irvine (less than 0.5 seconds).

On the other hand drivers who were actually slower than last year were Hakkinen and Coulthard (less than 1 second) and Fisichella (more than 1 second).

Of course this is only practice and the real potential of the cars will only count on Saturday. No action on Friday as it is market day.

Click here for the timed results
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Monaco GP Qualifying

Mika Hakkinen grabs pole position for the Monaco GP just 0.064 seconds ahead of Michael Schumacher. David Coulthard was 3rd ahead of Eddie Irvine, Rubens Barrichello and Heinz Harald Frentzen.

Ferrari dominated the whole session except the last minute !!, for the duration of the session it was Michael Schumacher who held provisional pole and Eddie Irvine was second with Mika Hakkinen in 3rd and Coulthard back in 6th place. On Hakkinen's final attempt he managed to rob Michael Schumacher from his first pole this season and Coulthard managed to jump to 3rd position just 0.055 seconds ahead of Eddie Irvine !!

Rubens Barrichello continues his impressive form with Stewart qualifying in 5th and again outqualifying the Jordan of Heinz Harald Frentzen, both drivers outclassed their team-mates, with Herbert in 13th and Hill all the way back in 18th !!. Jarno Trulli was also impressive qualifying in 7th spot 10 positions ahead of Panis who's result was very disappointing.

Jacques Villeneuve has qualified an impressive 8th in the BAR and was the best of the Supertec runners once again. His team-mate Mika Salo was 12th. Fisichella and Wurz came 9th and 10th showing some better signs and Alex Zanardi in 11th has for the first time this season outqualified his team-mate Ralf Schumacher who was back in 16th place. The Sauber drivers Alesi and Diniz qualified in 13th and 14th positions.

Comparing with last year's qualifying times, both McLaren drivers were almost a second slower than last year, Michael Schumacher was 0.1 seconds faster than last year while Irvine was more than half a second faster. Most impressive though was Barrichello who was almost a second faster than last year. Most other drivers were actually slower than they were last year  (only drivers who were with the same team are compared).

So the gap between 1st and 2nd is very close (0.064), between 3rd and 4th is very close (0.055), between 5th and 6th is very close (0.026) and between 7th and 8th is very close (0.058). This will surely make it a very exciting race, let alone the expected number of accidents and failures that normally occur at Monte Carlo !!. It will be very very hard to predict a winner.

Click here for the timed results
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Monaco GP Race Results

Michael Schumacher wins the Monaco GP ahead of Eddie Irvine and Mika Hakkinen. Heinz Harald Frentzen, Giancarlo Fisichella and Alexander Wurz make the top 6.

It was a superb drive from Michael Schumacher and an excellent effort from Eddie Irvine. Hakkinen's performance was not what was expected of him and it could be that the McLaren cars are not suited to this type of circuit.

Race Start:

Michael Schumacher gets ahead of Mika Hakkinen and Eddie Irvine ahead of David Coulthard. Michael Schumacher starts increasing his lead by around a second a lap. Damon Hill attempts to pass Ralf Schumacher but they touch and Hill retires while Ralf Schumacher continues.

Top 6 : Michael Schumacher, Mika Hakkinen, Eddie Irvine, David Coulthard, Rubens Barrichello and Heinz Harald Frentzen.
Luca Badoer retires on lap 10, Mark Gene retires on lap 24. Pedro de la Rosa retires on lap 30 while Johnny Herbert and Jacques Villeneuve both retire on lap 32.
The top 6 remains the same until lap 36 when David Coulthard pits and retires due to a gearbox problem. Eddie Irvine pits and rejoins in 3rd position.
Several more cars retire on the same lap, those were Mika Salo and Tora Takagi. A few laps later Olivier Panis retires !!
Mika Hakkinen appears to have missed a corner and loses around 20 seconds and just ahead of Irvine (who has already stopped). Michael Schumacher pits and rejoins in 1st place while Hakkinen
pits and rejoins in 3rd place. Surprisingly, Eddie Irvine pits again but still manages to rejoin ahead of Mika Hakkinen.
The top 3 remain as is until the end of the race but more cars drop out. Diniz on lap 49, Alesi on lap 50, Ralf Schumacher on lap 54 and Rubens Barrichello on lap 71.
Only 9 cars finished the race.

Michael Schumacher has become the 1st driver for Ferrari to win 16 races for them and it was Ferrari's first ever 1st and 2nd at Monaco.

Click here for the timed results
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