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 (formally the LXXXVI Mobil 1 Grand Prix de France) was a Formula One motor race held on 2 July 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.
The Grand Prix was contested by eleven teams, each of two drivers. The teams, also known as constructors were, McLaren, Ferrari, Jordan, Jaguar, Williams, Benetton, Prost, Sauber, Arrows, Minardi and BAR. Tyre supplier Bridgestone brought two different tyre types to the race: two dry compounds, the soft and the medium.
Going into the race, Ferrari driver Michael Schumacher led the Drivers' Championship with 56 points, ahead of David Coulthard on 34 points and Mika Häkkinen on 32. Rubens Barrichello was fourth with 28 points while Giancarlo Fisichella was fifth on 18 points. In the Constructors' Championship, Ferrari were leading with 84 points, McLaren and Benetton were second and third with 66 and 18 points respectively, while Williams with 15 and Jordan with 10 contended for fourth place. Ferrari and Michael Schumacher had so far led the Championship, with Coulthard winning the Spanish Grand Prix. Championship competitors Fisichella and Barrichello had gained second place finishes, and Ralf Schumacher and Heinz-Harald Frentzen had achieved third place podium finishes.
Following the Canadian Grand Prix on 18 June, the teams conducted testing sessions at the Circuit de Nevers Magny-Cours from June 21–23. McLaren's test driver Olivier Panis set the fastest time on the first day. Jos Verstappen lost control of his car and drove off the track, resulting in treatment for neck strain. He was later passed fit to race. Coulthard topped the second day's running, and Häkkinen was fastest on the final day of testing.
Practice and qualifying
Four practice sessions were held before the Sunday race—two on Friday, and two on Saturday. The Friday morning and afternoon sessions each lasted an hour. The third and final practice sessions were held on Saturday morning and lasted 45 minutes. The first practice session took place in dry conditions. The ambient temperature was 26 °C (79 °F) and the track temperature 33 °C (91 °F). Michael Schumacher set the session's fastest time, a 1:16.474, two-tenths of a second ahead of Häkkinen. Prost driver Nick Heidfeld finished with the third fastest time, with Ralf Schumacher, Eddie Irvine and Fisichella rounding out the top six positions. Several drivers were afflicted with problems on their cars. Coulthard's McLaren car was afflicted with an fuel pump failure and was forced to sit out the session. Verstappen's car suffered an engine failure; this restricted his running and was fourteenth overall. Both Jordan drivers did not set a lap time; Jarno Trulli's car was afflicted with a brake problem while Frentzen only ran one installation lap.
The second practice session was held in similar weather to the first; the only difference was a slightly lower peak track temperature of 29 °C (84 °F). Coulthard had a trouble-free session and set the fastest time of the day, a 1:16.253; Häkkinen finished with the third fastest time. They were split by the Ferrari drivers—Michael Schumacher in second and Barrichello in fourth. Sauber driver Mika Salo finished with the fifth fastest time with Fisichella rounding out the top six.
Saturday's weather was again dry for the third practice session, with ambient temperature 18 °C (64 °F) and track temperature 21 °C (70 °F).
Saturday's afternoon qualifying session lasted for an hour. During this session, the 107% rule was in effect, which necessitated each driver set a time within 107% of the quickest lap to qualify for the race. Each driver was limited to twelve laps. The session was held in dry weather hotter than any of the free practice sessions with the ambient temperature 28 °C (82 °F) and the track temperature 33 °C (91 °F). 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.
The conditions on the grid were dry before the race. The air temperature was 27 °C (81 °F) and the track temperature was 39 °C (102 °F); conditions were expected to remain consistent throughout the race. The drivers took to the track at 09:30 local time for a 30-minute warm-up session. Both McLaren cars maintained their good form from qualifying; Häkkinen had the fastest time of 1:19.329. Coulthard was second in the other McLaren car. Michael Schumacher set the third fastest time with Trulli rounding out the top four. Michael Schumacher drove the spare Ferrari car and his race car, making adjustments to the changeable weather conditions.
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.
The top three drivers appeared on the podium to collect their trophies and in the subsequent press conference.
Standings after the race
- Note: Only the top five positions are included for both sets of standings.
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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