Sunday June 24th, 2001
Michael Schumacher won the European Grand Prix in dominant style after fighting off a challenge from his brother Ralf to further dent the championship hopes of McLaren's David Coulthard.
A massive patriotic German crowd at the Nurburgring witnessed a classic battle between the Schumacher brothers early on before Ralf was the victim of a stewards decision which could have cost him the race.
Younger Schumacher, Ralf, was in contention for the win before he received a ten second penalty that dropped him down the field to leave Juan Pablo Montoya as the lead Williams. But Ferrari's Schumacher pulled away to take a comfortable fifth win of the season as Montoya finished for only the second time of his debut year in a fine second place.
David Coulthard, who chose to go with a one-stop strategy, held on to claim third and gain at least some points for his championship cause, but Schumacher's dominance left him well adrift in the title chase. Ralf Schumacher battled back to claim fourth place just behind Coulthard while Rubens Barrichello and Mika Hakkinen claimed the final points.
Jaguar's Eddie Irvine finished just outside the points in seventh place with team-mate Pedro de la Rosa in eighth. Michael Schumacher had problems before the race even began and, after suffering technical problems on the spare car, was forced to pull over just after the hairpin as he drove to take up his place on the grid.
After a brief struggle he commandeered a scooter to return him to the pits and he took up his racecar to move into his pole position spot.
Ralf Schumacher made a faster start than pole-sitter and elder brother Michael, but Schumacher senior showed him who's boss as he forced him closer and closer to the end of the pit wall. The Ferrari came out ahead and soon began to pull out a gap from Ralf Schumacher with Montoya also unable to stay in touch of the competitive Ferrari.
Barrichello had a poor start and dropped back down the field to seventh while both Saubers moved up past the Jordan of Heinz-Harald Frentzen. Jean Alesi dropped down the field as Jenson Button moved up two places, while Verstappen was the main mover as he rose five places.
Tarso Marques pulled off the circuit just after the main straight on lap eight to end his day early for Minardi as a scrap began to develop between Irvine and Frentzen for 10th. Burti had a trip over the kerbs and pitted at the end of lap 12, while Mika Hakkinen missed the chicane on lap 16.
Ralf Schumacher began to push to close on his brother and when Schumacher senior locked a brake and went wide, Ralf tried for the inside but backed off as he went over the kerbs and kicked up the dust. On lap 18 the Williams got into the slipstream on the main straight but was not quite fast enough to pass, and he continued to hound him for several laps as the Williams mechanics came out of the pits and went back in again.
Montoya was now almost ten seconds down on the lead pair in third but he himself was more than ten seconds ahead of the first McLaren of David Coulthard. Fisichella pitted at the end of lap 22 after becoming yet another driver to take a trip across the grass at the chicane and Olivier Panis spun out of a disappointing race for BAR at the hairpin on lap 25.
But as the brothers continued their scrappy duel at the front, with Ralf constantly hounding Michael to push a wheel onto the grass several times, Montoya enjoyed the benefits of a clear track to set three consecutive new lap records and close in on the leaders.
At the end of lap 28 the on-track duel between the Schumachers became an in-pit duel between Ferrari and Williams, but Schumacher's team pulled off the quicker stop to leave the Italian team departing the pits with a 1.4 second advantage.
Michael came out just in front of Coulthard who, having not yet pitted, ironically split his main championship rival from race challenger Ralf - but not for long. Montoya pitted from the lead one lap later but an average stop could not put him ahead of the leaders as Ralf got past Coulthard at the hairpin to take the chase to his brother again.
Bernoldi stopped at the side of the track near the hairpin on lap 30 and Montoya had a brief off. Barrichello overtook Hakkinen into the chicane, and the Finn soon came in for a stop at the end of lap 33 which dropped him down to tenth.
Michael Schumacher looked comfortable on his second set of tyres and built up a five second lead over the Williams of Ralf.
But the day was ruined for Ralf Schumacher when he was given a ten-second stop-go penalty for crossing the white line on the pit exit by a matter of inches trying to get out ahead of Coulthard after his first stop. The penalty, which he took at the end of lap 39, dropped him down to fourth, 36.9 seconds down on his brother Michael.
That left Montoya in second, within ten seconds of Schumacher senior, with Barrichello in third, just ahead of Schumacher junior. Barrichello then pitted at the end of lap 44 to drop behind David Coulthard and leave a clear track for Ralf Schumacher to lead his chase, but with almost 40 seconds to catch up his chanced looked slim to nil.
Lap 45 saw the end of Jarno Trulli's race as he toured around the circuit with a smoking engine and parked up at the back end of the track. Alesi nudged the rear tyre of Heidfeld on lap 47 and battled past in a drag down the pit straight.
On the same lap, sixth-placed Mika Hakkinen suffered the embarrassment of being lapped by the lead Schumacher as he struggled to get his McLaren hooked up on the twisty circuit. Frentzen locked up a wheel and lost the back end of his Jordan and ended his race on the back of a scooter heading back to the pits after parking his car on the side of the track.
Montoya followed Michael Schumacher into the pits on lap 50 to set-up another Ferrari-Williams battle but it was won once again by the Italian team to leave Montoya more than ten seconds back in second. On lap 57 Sauber's Heidfeld dropped out to become only the sixth retirement of the race, while at the front Michael Schumacher took command and Montoya seemed to settle for second.
Barrichello had an off-track excursion on lap 61 but held onto his fifth place having built up a comfortable 25-second cushion to Hakkinen in sixth. Jos Verstappen pulled off the track with technical problems after completing 58 laps and Alesi clattered into the gravel after completing 64 laps.
PROVISIONAL RACE RESULTS
The European Grand Prix
67 laps; Weather: Dry, sunny.
Pos Driver Team-Engine Time
1. M.Schumacher Ferrari (B) 1h29:42.724
2. Montoya Williams BMW (M) + 4.217
3. Coulthard McLaren Mercedes (B) + 24.993
4. R.Schumacher Williams BMW (M) + 33.345
5. Barrichello Ferrari (B) + 45.495
6. Hakkinen McLaren Mercedes (B) + 1:04.800
7. Irvine Jaguar Cosworth (M) + 1:06.100
8. de la Rosa Jaguar Cosworth (M) 1 Lap
9. Villeneuve BAR Honda (B) 1 Lap
10. Raikkonen Sauber Petronas (B) 1 Lap
11. Fisichella Benetton Renault (M) 1 Lap
12. Burti Prost Acer (M) 2 Laps
13. Button Benetton Renault (M) 2 Laps
14. Alonso Minardi European (M) 2 Laps
15. Alesi Prost Acer (M) 3 Laps
Fastest Lap: J.Montoya, 1:18.354, lap 27
Driver Team On Lap
Verstappen Arrows Asiatech (B) 59
Heidfeld Sauber Petronas (B) 55
Frentzen Jordan Honda (B) 47
Trulli Jordan Honda (B) 45
Bernoldi Arrows Asiatech (B) 30
Panis BAR Honda (B) 24
Marques Minardi European (M) 8
World Championship Standing, Round 9:
1. M.Schumacher 68 1. Ferrari 94
2. Coulthard 44 2. McLaren 53
3 Barrichello 26 3. Williams 37
4. R.Schumacher 25 4. Sauber 15
5. Montoya 12 5. Jordan 13
6. Hakkinen 9 6. BAR 12
7. Heidfeld 8 7. Jaguar 5
8. Raikkonen 7 8. Prost 3
= Trulli 7 9. Benetton 1
= Villeneuve 7 = Arrows 1
11. Frentzen 6
12. Panis 5
13. Irvine 4
14. Alesi 3
15. Fisichella 1
= Verstappen 1
= de la Rosa 1
All timing unofficial