Formula 1 news, results and statistics when you need it
|1999 Belgian GP News|
So with 5 rounds to go, the battle for the drivers and constructors championship is heating up. At the last event, McLaren gave Ferrari a lesson they would not easily forget. McLaren won on a track that was supposed to favour the Ferrari cars. Ferrari were stunned to a degree that they are trying all they can to get Michael Schumacher back into the driving seat even if his broken leg is not fully recovered.
Ferrari have yet to announce the driver line-up for the Belgium GP and will update you on that as soon as the line up is announced.
The Belgian GP surely favours McLaren as it contains very fast sweeping corners but the weather plays a big factor and it has rained twice in the last 3 events.
Hakkinen is the clear favourite and even if David Coulthard claims that he will still challenge him, he cannot unless Hakkinen gets into trouble. Coulthard on the other hand could finish second if he keeps calm, otherwise he won't finish.
Eddie Irvine could do well if he gets lucky (again), otherwise he will struggle and he might even face competition from Barrichello and Frentzen.
Mika Salo is really strange, in Germany he was a real star while in Hungary he was hopeless, Belgium has similar characteristics to Germany so I would say he would be hopeless
Michael Schumacher (if he returns) could prove a surprise as he is hungry for a win but his lack of fitness and an injured leg will probably take its toll on him towards the latter part of the race.
Other drivers who could do well include Barrichello, Frentzen, Ralf Schumacher, Jean Alesi and Villeneuve (if his car doen'st break !!)
Stay tuned for all the practice, qualifying and race news here starting from Friday.
Mika Hakkinen grabs yet another pole position this year ahead of David Coulthard and Heinz Harald Frentzen. Damon Hill, Ralf Schumacher and Eddie Irvine make the top 6.
It was an incident filled session highlighted by two red flags for the 2 BAR cars that crashed spectacularly at Eau Rouge. First it was Villeneuve who escaped unhurt, and soon after the session was restarted, it was Zonta's turn to crash causing the session to be stopped again !!. Villeneuve ended up in 11th place after looking much stronger while Zonta qualified in 14th.
The other story of the session was how bad Ferrari are without Michael Schumacher. As we have indicated a few times in the past, it is Schumacher who is the centre of the team. He gives all the feedback to improve the car and after 2 races that Irvine won with a lot of luck, Ferrari were back fighting with Jordan and Stewart and even with Williams. Today, Eddie Irvine only managed 6th, outqualified by both Jordan's and Ralf Schumacher in a Williams Supertec !!. Barrichello is less than a tenth of a second slower followed by a sort-of impressive Zanardi then comes Salo. Johnny Herbert was 10th.
Jarno Trulli was 12th followed by Fisichella in 13th and as expected, the Benetton does not shape on fast tracks so they have swapped places with Williams (comparing with Hungary !!). Wurz in 15th and Alesi way back in 16th in the Sauber. Panis in 17th followed by Diniz. The remaining 4 are the usual Arrows and Minardi mixture.
Tomorrows race will be a McLaren one, the others will fight it out. It will be interesting to see what Ferrari will do although I am expecting them to be beating by Jordan and possibly Williams.
Should be an exciting race to watch.
David Coulthard wins the Belgian Grand Prix ahead of Mika Hakkinen and Heinz-Harald Frentzen. Eddie Irvine, Ralf Schumacher and Damon Hill make the top 6.
David Coulthard gets a better start than Hakkinen and leads into the first corner, Hakkinen touches the side of Coulthard's car but with no apparent damage to either car. Damon Hill gets a bad start and loses 3 places while Eddie Irvine gains 2 positions and jumps ahead of Ralf Schumacher.
Race order after the first lap:
Coulthard, Hakkinen, Frentzen, Irvine, Schumacher and Zanardi.
Most of the teams go for a two stop strategy however Williams, Benetton and BAR choose a single stop.
Race order after the first pit stops:
Coulthard, Hakkinen, Schumacher, Frentzen, Irvine, Zanardi.
Around lap 22, the single stoppers pit and the race order becomes:
Coulthard, Hakkinen, Frentzen, Irvine, Salo, Schumacher.
A few laps later, the 2 stoppers start coming in for the 2nd pit stops, race order following those stops:
Coulthard, Hakkinen, Frentzen, Irvine, Schumacher, Hill
The race order remained as is until the end of the race.
One point worth mentioning was that Jacques Villeneuve in the BAR Supertec has finally managed to finish the race although a lap down in 15th place but considering the crashes he had on Friday and Saturday, it was a good result for Villeneuve and BAR.
So Mika Hakkinen now leads the world championship by 1 point followed by Eddie Irvine and with only 4 races remaining, it will be very interesting to see how team orders come into play at the McLaren camp between Hakkinen and Coulthard and at the Ferrari camp with the possible return of Michael Schumacher.