2000 French Grand Prix
|Race 9 of 17 in the 2000 Formula One season|
|Date||2 July 2000|
|Official name||LXXXVI Mobil 1 Grand Prix de France|
|Location||Circuit de Nevers Magny-Cours, Magny-Cours, France|
|Course||Permanent racing facility
4.251 km (2.641 mi)
|Distance||72 laps, 306.072 km (190.184 mi)|
|Weather||Sunny, dry, Air Temp: 27°C|
|Time||1:19.479 on lap 28|
The 2000 French Grand Prix was a Formula One motor race held on July 2, 2000 at the Circuit de Nevers Magny-Cours at Magny-Cours, France. It was the ninth race of the 2000 Formula One season. The race was the 78th French Grand Prix and the tenth to be held at Magny-Cours. The race was held over 72 laps of the 4.3-kilometre circuit for a total race distance of 306 kilometres.
The race was won by British driver David Coulthard driving a McLaren MP4/15. The win was Coulthard's third win of the season. Coulthard won by 14 seconds over his Finnish team mate Mika Häkkinen in McLaren's third 1-2 of the year. Brazilian driver Rubens Barrichello finished third driving a Ferrari F1-2000.
Qualifying had Michael Schumacher on pole position for the third consecutive race with David Coulthard second, Rubens Barrichello third, Mika Häkkinen fourth, Ralf Schumacher fifth and Eddie Irvine sixth.
At the start, Coulthard was quicker than Schumacher but Schumacher moved across the track to stay ahead as in Canada. But Coulthard had to switch sides, allowing Barrichello to get the momentum on him. Coulthard was forced to concede second to Barrichello and behind them Häkkinen kept out of the action as Jacques Villeneuve and Heinz-Harald Frentzen were able to get ahead of Ralf Schumacher as well. The order was: Michael Schumacher, Barrichello, Coulthard, Häkkinen, Villeneuve, Frentzen, Ralf Schumacher, Jarno Trulli, Mika Salo and Irvine.
The race settled down with Schumacher slowly pulling away from Barrichello about whom neither Coulthard nor Häkkinen could do much. Villeneuve was on his own in fifth while Frentzen, Ralf Schumacher and Trulli were running together. On lap 12, Jenson Button passed Irvine and followed up by passing Salo next lap. He started to close in on the party led by Frentzen. At the front, 4 seconds behind Schumacher, Coulthard started to close in on Barrichello as the fuel load began to go down. He made a move on lap 21 but Barrichello was able to see to it and defended. Coulthard tried again on lap 22 and this time he got it on the inside of the Adelaide hairpin. In the next few laps before the stops, Schumacher increased his lead to 5 seconds. Barrichello's stop was slow and this allowed Häkkinen to sneak ahead of him. Behind them, Ralf Schumacher passed Frentzen during the stops as well. The order after the stops was: Michael Schumacher, Coulthard, Häkkinen, Barrichello, Villeneuve, Ralf Schumacher, Frentzen, Trulli, Button and Salo.
Michael Schumacher's tyres had been blistered and Coulthard came charging in toward him. Schumacher could do nothing and in 8 laps, his 4 second lead was gone. Behind them, Häkkinen was slowly pulling away from Barrichello. At the front, Coulthard was now right with Schumacher and Häkkinen closing in on both. Coulthard went around the outside of Schumacher at the Adelaide hairpin but Schumacher moved on him and kept the lead. This allowed Häkkinen to be right with them and Barrichello was starting to close in on all three. There were no changes behind them. Coulthard made an irate gesture to Schumacher at the same corner on lap 35. With Barrichello getting closer and closer to the three up front, Coulthard made his move on Schumacher on lap 36. He made it stick and pulled away from Schumacher. Häkkinen immediately tried to attack Schumacher but he defended. Schumacher was under pressure from Häkkinen who was in turn under pressure from Barrichello but none of them tried an overtaking maneuver as Coulthard's lead continued to increase.
There were no changes at the front after the second stops but Barrichello had a slow one and dropped 10 seconds because of a wheel nut problem and was left out of the battle for second place. Behind them, Trulli got past Frentzen in the stops and Ralf Schumacher was right with Villeneuve and was having a quicker car. The order was: Coulthard, Michael Schumacher, Häkkinen, Barrichello, Villeneuve, Ralf Schumacher, Trulli, Frentzen, Button and Giancarlo Fisichella. Michael Schumacher had taken on a new set of tyres and was under no pressure from Häkkinen in third, keeping the gap from 1.2-1.5 seconds although he lost a tenth or two to Coulthard who was 10 seconds ahead. Barrichello was dropping away from Häkkinen, over 13 seconds behind. Behind them Villeneuve resisted Ralf Schumacher's attacks on lap 56 and 57. There was one more twist as Michael Schumacher went out with an engine failure on lap 59, promoting everyone behind him. Button attacked Frentzen on lap 65 but Frentzen defended and Button then dropped away like Ralf Schumacher who was dropping away from Villeneuve. Coulthard won the race ahead of Häkkinen, Barrichello, Villeneuve, Ralf Schumacher and Trulli.
The race marked the debut of James Allen as commentator for British TV station ITV. He stood in for Murray Walker who had a hip injury, which caused him to miss the event. Mr Allen went on to take over the role full-time from the 2001 Japanese Grand Prix onwards until the BBC took over in 2009.
Standings after the race
- Note: Only the top five positions are included for both sets of standings.
2000 Canadian Grand Prix
|FIA Formula One World Championship
2000 Austrian Grand Prix
1999 French Grand Prix
|French Grand Prix||Next race:
2001 French Grand Prix