Sunday May 13th, 2001
David Coulthard returned to the form he had been on for most of the weekend to score a comfortable, if close, victory ahead of his title rival Michael Schumacher at a sunny Austrian Grand Prix on Sunday.
The Scottish driver put a terrible time in qualifying behind him to score his 11th career win and maintain his level of high consistency and 100 per cent point-scoring record in 2001 as Ferrari pair Schumacher and Rubens Barrichello hounded him to the end but could not get past.
Schumacher was let past by Barrichello on the finish line to gain two important points for the championship after an early exciting challenge from Williams faded. Michael Schumacher made a terrible start and was jumped by his brother Ralf who drew up alongside Colombian Juan Pablo Montoya, who took full advantage to take the lead.
The elder Schumacher slotted into third behind the Williams pair as the nervous moments predicted at the first corner failed to materialise. Four drivers failed to get off the grid as Mika Hakkinen's race turned into immediate disaster when he stalled on the line. Jordan pair Heinz-Harald Frentzen and Jarno Trulli were also left on the grid and Sauber's Nick Heidfeld also failed to get away.
With all four cars left motionless, the safety car was called out at the end of the first lap. The safety car pulled in at the end of the third lap and Hakkinen was four laps down by the time he returned to the track. The Finn soon parked up in the pits for an early retirement. Heidfeld and Trulli also managed to get going but Frentzen was stuck in gear and had to retire.
The Arrows of Jos Verstappen powered off the grid and moved up to fourth past David Coulthard to challenge the Ferrari pair as Jaguar's Eddie Irvine and British American driver Olivier Panis battled for position lower down the field. But at the end of lap 10 Ralf Schumacher came in to retire following a suspected rear suspension failure at the Grosser Kurve.
Montoya, his tyres clearly fading, was chased hard as the top six cars ran nose to tail in the early stages. Schumacher was relentless in his efforts to take the lead and poked his car's nose in any area he could to try and create an opening.
Montoya would not give up and when Schumacher challenged him on the Remus Kurve on lap 16 the expected finally happened. Montoya refused to give way and the pair ground to a halt, letting Barrichello through into the lead and Verstappen into second place.
Montoya drove across the gravel and Schumacher managed to re-join in sixth with the Colombian right behind him, and Schumacher, clearly infuriated by the move, showed Montoya his fist. Verstappen managed to hold on to the Ferrari in front, but he was on a two-stop strategy and was forced to pit at the end of lap 22 and dropped to seventh.
That cleared the way for David Coulthard to chase as Michael Schumacher climbed to fourth behind the leading trio. After having his work cut out with one new star triple world champion Schumacher was faced with having to pass another as he came up to challenge Sauber's Kimi Raikkonen for third.
But Raikkonen presented much less of a challenge to the Ferrari star and Schumacher, on the limit and trying to regain lost time, shot past on lap 28 and began his chase of Coulthard. Coulthard closed the gap on Barrichello and the top three were covered by just one second before Schumacher, clearly losing tyre performance, was the first of the top runners to come in and make an 8.7 second pit stop at the end of lap 46.
That left Coulthard out in front and he took the opportunity to put in the fastest lap of the race and build a cushion for his pit stop and was able to hold the lead when he returned to the circuit. Behind him the Ferraris were nose to tail with Schumacher lying behind Barrichello, as the top three remained all in contention with Raikkonen behind them in fourth.
Villeneuve had a stop-go penalty for pit-lane speeding and Button went out in flames as the leaders drove on the 64th lap, but little changed right to the end. Raikkonen, Panis and Verstappen finished a distance behind the leaders as they settled for points-scoring positions in fourth, fifth and sixth respectively.
PROVISIONAL RACE RESULTS
The Austrian Grand Prix
A1 Ring, Spielberg;
71 laps; Weather: Dry, windy.
Pos Driver Team-Engine Time
1. Coulthard Mclaren Mercedes (B) 1h 27:45.927
2. M.Schumacher Ferrari (B) + 2.191
3. Barrichello Ferrari (B) + 2.528
4. Raikkonen Sauber Petronas (B) + 41.594
5. Panis BAR Honda (B) + 53.776
6. Verstappen Arrows Asiatech (B) + 1 Lap
7. Irvine Jaguar Cosworth (M) + 1 Lap
8. Villeneuve BAR Honda (B) + 1 Lap
9. Heidfeld Sauber Petronas (B) + 2 Laps
10. Alesi Prost Acer (M) + 2 Laps
11. Burti Prost Acer (M) + 2 Laps
Fastest Lap: D.Coulthard, 1:10.843, lap 48
Driver Team On Lap
Button Benetton Renault (M) 60
de la Rosa Jaguar Cosworth (M) 48
Montoya Williams BMW (M) 41
Alonso Minardi European (M) 38
Marques Minardi European (M) 25
Bernoldi Arrows Asiatech (B) 17
Trulli Jordan Honda (B) 15
R.Schumacher Williams BMW (M) 10
Fisichella Benetton Renault (M) 3
Hakkinen Mclaren Mercedes (B) 1
Frentzen Jordan Honda (B) 0
World Championship Standing, Round 6:
1. M.Schumacher 42 1. Ferrari 60
2. Coulthard 38 2. McLaren 42
3 Barrichello 18 3. Williams 18
4. R.Schumacher 12 4. Jordan 13
5. Heidfeld 8 5. Sauber 12
6. Trulli 7 6. BAR 9
7. Montoya 6 7. Benetton 1
= Frentzen 6 = Arrows 1
9. Panis 5
10. Raikkonen 4
= Hakkinen 4
= Villeneuve 4
13. Fisichella 1
= Verstappen 1
All timing unofficial