2001 Brazilian Grand Prix
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|Race 3 of 17 in the 2001 Formula One season|
|Date||April 1, 2001|
|Official name||XXX Grande Prêmio Marlboro do Brasil|
|Location||Autódromo José Carlos Pace, São Paulo, Brazil|
|Course||Permanent racing facility
4.309 km (2.677 mi)
|Distance||71 laps, 305.939 km (190.067 mi)|
|Weather||Dry first, rain later; Air temp: 30°C|
|Time||1:15.693 on lap 38|
The 2001 Brazilian Grand Prix (formally the XXX Grande Prêmio Marlboro do Brasil) was a Formula One motor race held on 1 April 2001 at the Autódromo José Carlos Pace, São Paulo, Brazil. It was the third race of the 2001 Formula One season. The race, contested over 71 laps, was won by McLaren driver David Coulthard after starting from fifth position. Michael Schumacher finished second in a Ferrari with Nick Heidfeld third for the Sauber team.
The race was Coulthard's first win of the season, and the result meant he reduced the lead of Schumacher in the Drivers' Championship to six points along with moving up to second place, 10 points ahead of Rubens Barrichello. McLaren reduced the lead to Ferrari in the Constructors' Championship to 15 points, with 14 races of the season remaining.
A significant overtaking maneuver took place very early in the race. The safety car was brought onto the track because McLaren driver Mika Häkkinen had stalled on the starting grid. When the safety car came in, F1 rookie Juan Pablo Montoya overtook defending champion Michael Schumacher.
Rubens Barrichello had problems before he even got on the grid and had to switch to the spare car. He then slammed into the back of Ralf Schumacher on the restart, retiring on the spot. Ralf Schumacher limped back to the pits, but was in for a long time replacing the rear wing; he later spun off when the track was wet.
By lap 39 Montoya was leading by more than 30 seconds over Michael Schumacher. However, he retired after a crash while he was lapping Jos Verstappen. Verstappen let Montoya by, but as he pulled in behind Montoya while braking for turn 4 his Arrows slammed violently into the back of Montoya's Williams and both men were out of the race.
Soon after Montoya's retirement it began to rain heavily, forcing everyone to change tyres. Some went onto full-wet tyres while others chose the intermediates.
Michael Schumacher was fighting understeer all race, and despite planning to stop twice instead of once was only able to run at the pace of Montoya and Coulthard. However he was right back in the hunt after he had pitted early. He still needed to pit again for fuel anyway but was able to change tires as well. Coulthard, who had made his one and only stop, stayed out an extra lap which at that point looked costly.
But then Schumacher, with a dry-weather set up on his car, spun soon after exiting the pit lane, allowing Coulthard right back on his tail.
This led to a second important overtaking move of the race, this one by David Coulthard. He passed Schumacher with the aid of a backmarker, rather similar to his teammate Mika Häkkinen's move on Schumacher at the Belgian Grand Prix the previous season.
Coulthard went on to win, while Schumacher suffered another off on his way to second place. Nick Heidfeld took his first-ever podium driving for Sauber. It was also Sauber's first podium since Jean Alesi's at the 1998 Belgian Grand Prix.
Standings after the race
- Note: Only the top five positions are included for both sets of standings.
- First podium: Nick Heidfeld
- Mika Häkkinen retired right at the start of the race as he stalled on the grid.
- Juan Pablo Montoya was on course for his first F1 victory, but he was hit by Jos Verstappen from behind. Verstappen argued that Montoya braked early approaching the next corner.
- This race was run under heavy rain on the last 25 laps of the race.
- First time since 1993 the winner wasn't the eventual world champion at the end of the season.
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2002 Brazilian Grand Prix