Wednesday May 30th, 2001
Ferrari drivers Michael Schumacher and Rubens Barrichello have admitted they feel sorry for McLaren driver Mika Hakkinen following the dismal season the two-time world champion has endured so far in 2001.
Having retired from five races and with only four points in seven Grands Prix, Hakkinen is currently tied in eleventh place in the Championship, a massive 48 behind Schumacher and 36 behind his own teammate David Coulthard. Following another disappointment at the Monaco Grand Prix, where Schumacher and Barrichello scored a one-two, the Ferrari drivers said they feel sorry for the Finn.
"Mika is a driver who is undoubtedly worth more than the four points he's scored so far,” said Barrichello. "When he dropped out of the race, it certainly helped Ferrari, but we want to win out there where it counts - on the track."
Schumacher, winner at Monaco, extended his lead over Coulthard to twelve points after the Scot stalled his car on the grid before the formation lap. That, added to Hakkinen's retirement, has suggested McLaren have problems with their car, but the Ferrari driver believes there is no crisis at the team from Woking, though he admits Coulthard is his only rival now.
"Coulthard has finished every race this season," said Schumacher, "only Mika has been really unlucky. I remember people saying that Ferrari was in trouble after Imola, but we showed them it wasn't true.
"I said that after Austria: Hakkinen is out of the running. With Ralf failing to pick up points at Monte Carlo, the fight is between David and I."