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Hakkinen, too little too late  
18 July 2001 Volume 3 - Issue 23  

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Finally Mika's run of poor luck and soul searching ends and he wins a race with that same brilliant display of style and determination that we can all remember from almost a year ago.

But, if it takes Mika Hakkinen this long to get to the level that is fast enough to fight for the lead, what is the point? By now he has no chance of even featuring in the driver's championship and his lacklustre performance (admittedly dogged by bad luck) so far this season has contributed substantially to McLaren not having a chance of winning the Constructor's Championship either.

However, he was very fast and was obviously in control of a car that worked well for him. A well deserved win.

But why was he going so hard at the end? Schumacher could no longer catch him and the only thing that could happen is a retirement because he was pushing too hard. Did not make sense to me. Seems that Hakkinen, when down and back in the pack, is slow and just can't get his speed up but when everything is working for him he just can't keep his speed down.

Spectacular, but unnecessary.

I absolutely could not understand the Ferrari strategy. They were carrying enough fuel to do almost 2/3rd race distance and because of that looked slow compared to the McLarens.

I guess that there are circumstances in which this would have paid off but I could not think of any. Schumacher was too slow to challenge Hakkinen. In fact in the early laps he was too slow to even keep Hakkinen behind him.

The reason for his lack of pace in the early part of the race must have been the huge fuel load. Later, when the fuel load came down, his tyres would have been too tired to mount an attack (always presuming that he was close enough to try).

No. Schumacher went out heavy to make sure that he could outlast McLaren (more specifically the McLaren of Coulthard) and he was going to make his car as wide as possible to keep Coulthard behind him.

Barrichello went out heavy to do the same to the two Williams cars to ensure that they did not interfere in the leading trio.

Michael was totally motivated to stay ahead of Coulthard only. Once Coulthard retired Michael took it really easy after letting Hakkinen through without much of a fight.

I wonder how the huge crowd of spectators at Silverstone felt, after watching Hakkinen and Schumacher qualify on the front row of the grid. Like me, they must have felt that we could look forward to one of those Schumacher/Hakkinen battles that entertained us so often last year and the year before and the year before that.

Like me they must have been very disappointed to see Schumacher accept second place almost before the race got going. Like me, they must wonder if Michael is worth watching for the rest of the season.

Sure, Michael's car looked clumsy. What did you expect seeing that it was carrying enough fuel to make it to Africa!

Face it. Michael never intended to race at Silverstone. Had Coulthard stayed in the race we would have seen some masterful blocking from Michael, without Coulthard we saw very little to remember.

What scares me is that this puts Michael in an even stronger position for the season's championship. Does that mean that he will be even slower at Hockenheim?

I felt for David Coulthard, who must have seen this as his last chance to stay in some (if remote) contention for this year's driver's championship. He needed the tangle with Trulli like a hole in the head.

What I can't understand is why he took the risk at all. Trulli was on a mission and had very little to lose and lots to gain by overtaking that early in the race. Although Trulli took a wild chance he could be forgiven for thinking that Coulthard would back off.

David's McLaren was decidedly faster than the Jordan. Had he let Trulli through he would have had a fair chance to overtake him later. Closing the door when Trulli had nowhere to go ended the race for both.

Trulli lost a few potential points, Coulthard put his second place in the championship in jeopardy. Ralf Schumacher is only 16 points behind him and had he finished in the points it would have been even less.

I was very impressed with Sauber again. Raikkonen keeps on impressing too. He is bound to be driving for one of the top teams soon. Pity Ferrari have signed Barrichello for next year. Raikkonen could well be the driver to challenge Schumacher's stranglehold on this team.

Prost also improved, but it is all too little too late.

It is interesting that the ageing Ferrari motor is doing so well in the Sauber. In past seasons these motors were competitive early in the season only, showing their age and lack of development towards the end of the season.

Although Jordan qualified reasonably well Frentzen was not fast and we must assume that, even though Trulli seemed faster than Fretzen, he would not have performed much better. BAR on the other hand are falling back into the clutches of Minardi. Honda has a long way to go.

Benetton is now saying that it will only be halfway through next season that they will be competitive. On current performance I think that is optimistic.

Arrows and Minardi are going to find it harder to survive without the backing of a major manufacturer. The game is getting bigger and more expensive fast. Even Honda are struggling with all their resources.

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