Michael Schumacher and Ferrari
won both Titles with 4 races to spare. They may have not dominated every
race but they have been by far the most reliable and most consistent team
of the top 3. While McLaren and Williams have shown signs of brilliance at
a number of races, they have also shown more signs of unreliability and
inconsistency and that is why Ferrari have won both Titles so early this
season - Congratulations to them.
The focus now switches to the lower ranks
in both Championships. McLaren will be trying to stay ahead of Williams
while Sauber, BAR and Jordan are fighting for 4th with Benetton not too
Rubens Barrichello and Ralf Schumacher will be trying to take second place
in the Driver's Championship from David Coulthard so there are a few
interesting fights to watch.
There were more driver movements over the
last 4 races with Heinz Harald Frentzen sacked by Jordan and then swapping
with Jean Alesi at Prost. Ricardo Zonta drove for Jordan at the German
Grand Prix but didn't impress enough to keep the seat. Tarso Marques drove
his last race for Minardi at Spa and Alex Yoong will take his place and
Luciano Burti will most likely miss the Italian GP (and possibly the rest
of the season) following his high speed crash at Spa but Prost have not
announced a replacement yet.
The standings in both Championships as of
the Belgian GP:
Constructors' - Ferrari (152) - McLaren (81) - Williams (59) -
Sauber (20) - BAR (16) - Jordan (16) - Benetton (10).
Drivers' - M Schumacher (104) - Coulthard (57) - Barrichello (48) -
R Schumacher (44) - Hakkinen (24) - Montoya (15) - Villeneuve (11) -
Great Britain - GP
With a 31 point gap to Michael
Schumacher, David Coulthard knew that his chances were getting slimmer and
he knew that Silverstone was his best chance to close that huge gap. He
qualified in 3rd behind Michael Schumacher and Mika Hakkinen but at the
start he struggled and with Trulli having a better start they touched on
the first corner causing enough damage for Coulthard to spin out of the
race a few laps later making his chances look very remote.
The Ferrari was not very
strong at Silverstone and Mika Hakkinen on a different pit stop strategy
than Michael overtook Michael with ease and built a big enough gap to pit
again and stay in the lead. It was the first win for Hakkinen this season
but he won convincingly proving that if he has a competitive car he'll
Michael Schumacher came second ahead of his team-mate Rubens Barrichello
who managed to keep Juan Pablo Montoya behind him. Juan Pablo Montoya on a
2 stop strategy was stuck behind his team-mate Ralf Schumacher on a single
stop for a number of laps preventing him from making up time against
Rubens. Ralf Schumacher retired later with engine problems.
Sauber continued to impress this late in the season with Raikkonen and
Heidfeld again finishing in the points and ahead of the Jordan's and
Only the top 4 finished on the same lap while 16 cars were classified as
The Drivers' Championship:
Michael Schumacher leads David Coulthard by 37 points - 84 to 47 points
The Constructors' Championship: Ferrari lead McLaren - 118 to 66
Germany - GP
Everyone was waiting for Hockenheim
to see how dominant will the Williams BMW be and they were certainly in a
class of their own from a performance point of view. Juan Pablo Montoya
managed to grab his first Pole position of his career ahead of his
team-mate Ralf Schumacher. Mika Hakkinen was 3rd on the grid just under
0.7 seconds off the pace of Montoya.
Michael Schumacher continued to struggle at Hockenheim qualifying in 4th
making this track one of the few that he has yet to start from Pole on.
At the start Michael
Schumacher had a problem with the gearbox and his car slowed, Luciano
Burti just hit the back of his car and became airborne. After bringing out
the Safety car they decided to stop the race just in time for everyone to
be able to restart.
At the restart, the 2 Williams' again disappeared in the distance with
Michael Schumacher managing to get ahead of Mika Hakkinen at the start.
Unfortunately for Montoya, his has refuelling problems in the pits
delaying him and causing his engine to overheat. He retired as a result a
few laps following his pit stop. Ralf Schumacher went on to win the race
with a 46 second gap to Barrichello and a surprise Villeneuve. The 2
Benetton's of Fisichella and Button finished 4th and 5th while Jean Alesi
in the Prost finished in 6th.
Several of the top drivers suffered mechanical problems with both Hakkinen
and Coulthard retiring with engine problems while Michael Schumacher
stopped with a fuel pressure problem.
Only 10 cars were classified as finishers with Sauber, McLaren, Jaguar and
Jordan all failing to finish either of their cars. The top 7 cars finished on
the same lap.
The Drivers' Championship:
Michael Schumacher leads David Coulthard by 37 points - 84 to 47 points.
The Constructors' Championship: Ferrari lead McLaren - 124 to 66
Hungary - GP
Following the 3 week break in
the Formula 1 calendar, the teams headed to Hungary and it was the first
time that Ferrari could wrap up both Titles. And they did it in style
finishing 1-2 securing both Titles.
Michael Schumacher completely
dominated qualifying setting a Pole time that was over 0.8 seconds faster
than Coulthard's in second place.
In the race Michael Schumacher led from start to finish (bar a few laps
during the pit stops) and was under no threat especially after Coulthard
started badly and ended up behind Barrichello. It was just a matter of
Michael staying away from trouble and he did. Barrichello managed to
finish ahead of Coulthard making it a Ferrari double win.
Coulthard was 3rd ahead of Ralf Schumacher, Mika Hakkinen and Nick
The race was processional with
very few overtaking as the track is too tight and slow. 12 cars finished
the race with 5 on the same lap. Benetton, Minardi and Prost failed to
finish either of their cars.
The Drivers' Championship:
Michael Schumacher wins the Title. He leads David Coulthard by 43 points -
94 to 51 points.
The Constructors' Championship: Ferrari win the Title. They lead McLaren -
140 to 70 points.
Belgium - GP
With both Titles decided, the
focus moved to the fight for second place in both the Constructors'
(McLaren - Williams) and the Drivers' (Coulthard - Barrichello - R
As usual, the weather plays a role at Spa with a wet second practice on
Friday, a cancelled practice session on Saturday and a wet Qualifying
drying in the final minutes.
Michael Schumacher looked dominant in the dry but in mixed conditions it
was Williams and their Michelin tyres who had an advantage. In qualifying
and with mixed conditions, Montoya grabbed his second Pole this season
ahead of his team-mate Ralf Schumacher while Michael only managed 3rd.
There were a few surprises with Frentzen in the Prost a surprise 4th,
Villeneuve in 6th and Fisichella in 8th.
In the race, even more
surprises with Frentzen stalling on the formation grid then Montoya
stalling at the start of the second formation lap.
When the race eventually started Ralf Schumacher led from Michael and
Rubens with Fisichella moving from 8th on the grid to 4th!. Michael was
superior in the dry and he easily overtook his brother and took the lead.
On lap 6 Burti trying to pass Irvine touch causing Burti to lose his font
wing and go straight into the tyre wall at a very high speed. Luckily he
escaped serious injury but the race was stopped for the medical cars to
At the formation lap for the second start, Ralf Schumacher (who was 2nd)
had a problem and failed to get away relegating him to the back of the
grid. At the second start, Michael kept the lead and another amazing start
from Fisichella moved him from 4th to second. Fisichella managed to remain
in second holding off Coulthard and giving Michael the gap he needs. A few
laps from the end David Coulthard passes Giancarlo Fisichella for second
but Michael was too far ahead to catch.
14 cars finished the race with 8 on the same lap. Sauber and Jaguar failed
to finished either of their cars.
The Drivers' Championship:
Michael Schumacher - World Champion. David Coulthard in 2nd leads Rubens
Barrichello by 9 points - 57 to 48 points. Ralf Schumacher is 4th 4 points
The Constructors' Championship: Ferrari - World Champions. McLaren
in 2nd lead Williams by 22 points - 81 to 59 points. Sauber is 4th with 20
points ahead of BAR and Jordan with 16 points each while Benetton in 7th
has 10 points.
The final three races of the
season are Italy, US and Japan and we are set to see the fight for 2nd
place in both championships intensify.