2000 German Grand Prix
|Race 11 of 17 in the 2000 Formula One season|
Hockenheimring (last modified in 1994)
|Date||30 July 2000|
|Official name||LXII Großer Mobil 1 Preis von Deutschland|
|Course||Permanent racing facility|
|Course length||6.823 km (4.240 mi)|
|Distance||45 laps, 307.035 km (190.792 mi)|
|Weather||Dry/Wet, Air: 21 °C (70 °F), Track: 21–25 °C (70–77 °F)|
|Time||1:44.300 on lap 20|
The 2000 German Grand Prix (formally the LXII Großer Mobil 1 Preis von Deutschland) was a Formula One motor race held on 30 July 2000 at the Hockenheimring near Hockenheim, Germany. It was the eleventh round of the 2000 Formula One season and the 62nd German Grand Prix. The 45-lap race was won by Ferrari driver Rubens Barrichello after starting from 18th position. Mika Häkkinen finished second for the McLaren team with teammate David Coulthard third.
Coulthard started from pole position alongside Michael Schumacher. Coulthard's teammate Häkkinen began from third. At the first corner Michael Schumacher moved to the left and Giancarlo Fisichella collided with him and both drivers retired. Häkkinen took the lead of the race which he held until an intruder penetrated circuit limits on lap 25 causing drivers to make pit stops under safety car conditions. Barrichello, meanwhile, had gained thirteen positions to run fifth until the first safety car period. Häkkinen retook the lead after Coulthard pitted on lap 27. Barrichello stayed out on dry slick tyres, taking the lead which he held to clinch the first victory of his Formula One career.
Barrichello's victory was considered popular amongst the Formula One paddock as it came after a setback during his career. The race result meant Häkkinen and Coulthard were tied for second place but the points advantage to Michael Schumacher was reduced to two points. Barrichello remained a further eight points behind the McLaren drivers. In the Constructors' Championship McLaren reduced Ferrari's lead to four points, who were 80 points ahead of Williams with six races of the season remaining. The track intruder, named as 47-year-old Frenchman Robert Sehli, later apologised for his actions.
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 four different tyre types to the race: two dry compounds, the soft and the medium, and two wet-weather compounds, the intermediate and full wet.
Going into the race, Ferrari driver Michael Schumacher led the Drivers' Championship with 56 points, ahead of David Coulthard on 50 points and Mika Häkkinen on 48 points. Rubens Barrichello was fourth with 36 points whilst Giancarlo Fisichella was fifth with 18 points. In the Constructors' Championship Ferrari were leading with 92 points, McLaren and Williams with 88 points and 19 points were second and third respectively, whilst Benetton with 18 points and BAR with 12 points contended with fourth place. Ferrari and McLaren had so far dominated the championship winning ten out of the ten previous races. Championship competitors Barrichello and Fisichella had each gained second-place finishes, whilst Ralf Schumacher and Heinz-Harald Frentzen had achieved third place podium finishes.
Following the Austrian Grand Prix on 16 July, the teams conducted testing sessions at three circuits from July 18–21 to prepare for the Grand Prix. McLaren, Benetton, Jordan, Jaguar, Sauber and BAR went to Silverstone over three days. Olivier Panis, McLaren's test driver, set the fastest time on the first day of testing. Jaguar test driver Luciano Burti crashed at Stowe corner where his car's suspension, front and rear wings, and sidepod were damaged. The resulting incident caused a brief halt to testing and Jaguar shipped a spare car for the next day's testing. Panis remained fastest on the second day. Trulli damaged his suspension and rear wing, resulting in repairs which limited his team's testing time. Burti suffered another incident when he lost his right rear wheel. Fisichella topped the third and final day's running. Ferrari test driver Luca Badoer spent four days at the Fiorano Circuit where he concentrated on testing engine and aerodynamic development whilst Michael Schumacher did practice starts and component testing on the fourth day.
Jaguar's Eddie Irvine was passed fit in the days leading up to the race. He arrived at the previous race ill with a suspected bout of appendicitis and withdrew at the end of the Friday practice sessions. He was replaced by Burti. Irvine later travelled to a hospital in London where he was diagnosed with a swollen intestine. Irvine said he felt ready to race again: "I'm looking forward to Hockenheim. I have been keeping tabs on the team's Silverstone test this week and we're all encouraged by what has been achieved."
Jordan's new car, the EJ10B, was also introduced that weekend; the team had used their primary 2000 car, the EJ10, for the previous ten races. Originally due to be introduced at the previous race in Austria, the car was required to undergo Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile (FIA) safety tests on its bodywork and Jordan wanted to develop more spare parts for the EJ10B, delaying the car's race début.
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 Friday sessions were held in dry and cloudy conditions, becoming damp during the day, resulting in the track surface becoming slippery. Michael Schumacher set the first session's fastest time with a lap of 1:43.532, almost six-tenths of a second faster than Häkkinen. Barrichello was just off Häkkinen's pace with Coulthard setting the fourth fastest time. Frentzen and BAR driver Ricardo Zonta followed in fifth and sixth positions respectively. Fisichella, Mika Salo, Ralf Schumacher and Herbert completed the top ten fastest drivers in the session. Williams driver Jenson Button crashed into the pit lane at the end of the barriers and lost his front wing. In the second practice session, Michael Schumacher did not manage to improve his lap time but was still quickest. Frentzen was running quicker and was second fastest. The two McLaren drivers were running slower—Häkkinen in third and Coulthard fifth–although both drivers were undertaking race set-up and brake performance testing. They were separated by Barrichello. Trulli was sixth fastest, ahead of Zonta. Villeneuve, Fisichella and Salo followed in the top ten.
The Saturday morning sessions were held in damp weather conditions with intermittent rain. Häkkinen set the third session's fastest time, a 1:44.144, one-tenth of a second quicker than Pedro de la Rosa. Coulthard was third fastest, ahead of Frentzen and Salo. Trulli, Barrichello, Michael Schumacher, Villeneuve and Fisichella rounded out the top ten fastest drivers. In the final practice session, Häkkinen set the fastest time of the day, a 1:41.658; Coulthard finished with the third-fastest time. The Ferrari drivers were again quick—Michael Schumacher in second and Barrichello in fourth. Frentzen slipped to fifth, with Fisichella sixth fastest and was happy with his car's feel. Button was seventh fastest, in front of Salo. Villeneuve and Trulli completed the top ten ahead of qualifying. Fisichella's car suffered an engine failure in the closing seconds of the session and a crash by Michael Schumacher after the session concluded meant that the German was forced to use his team's spare car for qualifying.
Saturday's afternoon qualifying session lasted for an hour. Each driver was limited to twelve laps, with the grid order decided by the drivers' fastest laps. 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. The session was held in damp weather conditions with intermittent rain. The air temperature ranged between 19–20 °C (66–68 °F) with the track temperature between 20–26 °C (68–79 °F). Coulthard achieved his second pole position of the season, his first at the Hockenheimring, with a time of 1:45.697. He was joined on the front row of the grid by Michael Schumacher who was 1.3 seconds slower than Coulthard. Fisichella qualified third, though he was happy with his performance despite using his team's T-car after suffering a spin on his first run. He was later fined $5,000 for not placing his car at the pit-lane weighbridge. Häkkinen qualified fourth, three hundredths of a second slower than Fisichella. Häkkinen later admitted that he was cautious about going off the race track due to the weather conditions. de la Rosa qualified fifth giving Arrows their best qualifying performance of the season. Trulli and Wurz were satisfied with their sixth and seventh place qualifying positions. Herbert in the quicker of the two Jaguars took eighth. Villeneuve secured ninth using his team's spare car after spinning on track which disrupted Frentzen's running. Irvine rounded out the top ten. Verstappen had problems starting his engine, resulting in a lack of qualifying laps but managed to clinch eleventh. Zonta qualified twelfth having used a new engine and could not set a faster lap time after being blocked by Jean Alesi. He was ahead of Alesi's teammate Nick Heidfeld. Ralf Schumacher qualified in 14th, quicker than teammate Button in 16th. They were separated by Salo. Frentzen spent the majority of qualifying 107% outside of the pole sitters time but took 17th; his first quick time was disallowed after cutting the chicane to set a faster lap and to run in clean air. Barrichello used his teammate's car after his developed oil-leak issues and qualified 18th. Sauber's Pedro Diniz took 19th, in front of Alesi in 20th. The Minardi drivers qualified at the back of the grid; Gastón Mazzacane in 21st and Marc Gené in 22nd.
The drivers took to the track at 09:30 CEST (GMT+2) for a 30-minute warm-up session. David Coulthard maintained his good performance from qualifying by setting the fastest time, a 1:44.065; Häkkinen was second in the other McLaren car. de la Rosa and Michael Schumacher completed the top four. The session was disrupted by incidents as Coulthard and de la Rosa struck the barriers—both incidents required marshals to collect debris—whilst Villeneuve and Verstappen collided going into the circuit's first chicane.
The race started at 14:00 local time. The conditions for the start of the race was dry, but became damp and wet as the race progressed. The air temperature was 21 °C (70 °F) and the track temperature ranged from 21–25 °C (70–77 °F). During the parade lap Button's engine did not start and he was forced to start from the back of the grid. Häkkinen acclerated faster than teammate Coulthard and Michael Schumacher off the line, getting ahead of both drivers going into the first corner. Michael Schumacher moved to his left with Fisichella hitting him from behind and both drivers went off into the turn 1 barriers. Barrichello made the best start in the field, moving from 18th to 10th place at the end of the first lap. At the completition of the first lap, Häkkinen led from Coulthard, Trulli, de la Rosa, Irvine, Herbert, Verstappen, Villeneuve, Zonta, Barrichello, Ralf Schumacher, Wurz, Heidfeld, Salo, Diniz, Frentzen, Gené, Alesi, Button and Mazzacane.
Häkkinen began to maintain his lead from teammate Coulthard. On lap two Herbert moved into fifth position after Irvine dropped to seventh place when Verstappen overtook him. Further down the field Barrichello continued to gain positions when he passed both BAR drivers for eighth. The McLaren drivers managed to maintain a gap to Trulli who set the fastest lap of the race, 1:46.321. Irvine lost a further position to Barrichello on lap three, as Frentzen claimed 14th from Diniz. On lap four, Frentzen made up a further position by passing Heidfeld for 13th. On the same lap Verstappen locked up his tyres to avoid a collision with Herbert. This allowed Barrichello to pass Verstappen for sixth position in the run up to the Clark chicane on lap five. Herbert lost fifth position to Barrichello on lap six with Frentzen continuing to move up the field by passing Ralf Schumacher and Wurz for eleventh. Barrichello began setting consecutive fastest laps as he closed the gap to de la Rosa. Zonta lost 10th position when he was passed by Frentzen on lap seven. On the next lap, Verstappen suffered a worrying moment when half of his engine cover was shed from its chassis. Frentzen managed to gain a further four positions in the next four laps.
Further down, Ralf Schumacher took Zonta for eleventh place and Diniz passed teammate Salo for 14th position. Barrichello caught de la Rosa by lap twelve and passed him to take fourth and started to come under pressure from Frentzen. Herbert pulled over to the side of the track with gearbox problems on lap 13. Barrichello passed Trulli for third position at the second corner two laps later. Barrichello became the first driver to make a pit stop by coming in on lap 17. Frentzen made his pit stop one lap later and re-joined in sixth place. By lap 20, Häkkinen had a lead of 1.4 seconds over Coulthard, who in turn was almost 22 seconds ahead of Trulli. de la Rosa was a further 2.1 seconds behind the Jordan driver, and was being caught by Barrichello in fifth who set a new fastest lap, a 1:44.300. Villeneuve overtook Irvine to claim eighth place on lap 22.
On lap 25, a man appeared beside the barriers of the circuit on the straight heading towards turn 2. He ran across the track to avoid being caught by marshals. The incident prompted the deployment of the safety car. Teams immediately brought their drivers into the pit lane to take advantage of the scenario with Trulli and de la Rosa the first to make pit stops. McLaren called in Häkkinen to the pit lane on lap 27 and Coulthard remained out on worn tyres. The Scot pitted on the following lap and emerged in sixth place. On the same lap, the man was caught and escorted off the circuit. Racing resumed on lap 29 when the safety car pulled into the pit lane. Trulli immediately came under pressure from Barrichello and withstood the Brazilian's attempts to pass him. Ralf Schumacher spun at turn 3 on lap thirty and Verstappen was forced wide in avoidance. Later on Alesi collided with Diniz and struck the barriers, having lost his car's two left wheels. The safety car was once again deployed as carbon fibre was scattered across the grass.
The safety car was withdrawn at the end of lap 31 and the race got underway again with Häkkinen in the lead. Wurz, meanwhile, immediately pulled off the circuit with a gearbox failure with Salo almost colliding with the Benetton. Light rain began to fall on lap 33. Button pitted on the following lap and his Williams pit crew changed his dry tyres to wets. Gené became the race's seventh retirement with a failed engine. All drivers, apart from Barrichello, Coulthard, Frentzen and Zonta, pitted for wet tyres. Villeneuve spun after minor contact with teammate Zonta but managed to continue. Trulli was issued with a 10 second stop-go penalty on lap 37 because he was caught overtaking Barrichello under yellow flags. He took the penalty immediately and rejoined in 11th. Zonta was also issued with a penalty but spun into the tyre wall at turn 12 and retired. Coulthard became the final driver to have pitted on the 38th lap and rejoined in fifth. Button then passed de la Rosa for sixth place.
At the completition of lap 39, with the pit stops completed, the running order was Barrichello, Häkkinen, Frentzen, Salo, Coulthard, Button, de la Rosa, Verstappen, Ralf Schumacher, Villeneuve, Trulli, Heidfeld, Mazzacane and Irvine. Frentzen retired with a gearbox failure on lap 40 as Coulthard moved into third after passing Salo. Heidfeld became the final retirement of the race with an alternator failure on lap 40. Three laps later Button caught Salo and overtook him to clinch fourth position. It began to rain more heavily by lap 44 whilst Barrichello opened a gap to 11.5 seconds, and won the race after 45 laps to secure the first victory of his Formula One career in a time of 1'25:34.418, at an average speed of 133.807 miles per hour (215.341 km/h). Häkkinen finished second in his McLaren 7.4 seconds behind Barrichello, with teammate Coulthard third. Button clinched his best result of the 2000 season with fourth, ahead of Salo in fifth and de la Rosa rounded out the points-scoring positions in sixth. Ralf Schumacher, Villeneuve, Trulli, Irvine and Mazzacane filled the next five positions, with Heidfeld the last of the classified runners despite his alternator failure.
The top three drivers appeared on the podium to collect their trophies and in the subsequent press conference. Barrichello's maiden Formula One victory was very popular amongst spectators and team personnel, because it came after a set back earlier in his career, not least a serious accident during practice for the 1994 San Marino Grand Prix that left him unconscious. Barrichello dedicated his victory to fellow Brazilian and three-time World Champion Ayrton Senna who had helped him during the early phase of his career. He also revealed that it was his decision to stay out on dry tyres as he believed he would have an advantage on the straights and the chicanes, although he flat-spotted a tyre in the closing stages of the Grand Prix which reduced his visibility. Häkkinen said that he felt "in control" during the first phase of the event, although he admitted that he was conservative on the wet tyres and could have secured victory on dry tyres. Coulthard revealed that he utilised tactics performed by Michael Schumacher at the start after he sought clarification on the rules regarding such manoeuvres. He additionally commented that he was unable to talk to his team via radio in the forest sections which caused him to stay out for an additional lap when Häkkinen pitted.
Button was delighted with his then career best finish of fourth position and praised his team for the timing to the switch to wet-weather tyres. Salo described his race as "hard" because of him opting to have a high downforce set-up meaning he was slower than his rivals on the straights. Additionally he revealed that towards the end of the race, he did not have oil in his engine with temperatures continuously rising. de la Rosa scored points for the second time in the season, having taken fifth at the European Grand Prix. de la Rosa thought that the Grand Prix was "strange" though he was happy with the effort of his team. Michael Schumacher, who retired on the first lap, after Fisichella collided with him, accused the Benetton driver of causing the incident. "I am out of the race not because of David (Coulthard) but because of Fisichella." he said. Fisichella however said that he was maintaining his racing line and believed that drivers should choose their preferred racing line before he described his Grand Prix as a "waste".
The majority of media attention, however, was focussed on the intruder who penetrated the circuit's barriers on lap 25. He was revealed to be man named Robert Sehli, a 47 year old from France who worked for Mercedes-Benz in a production factory at Le Mans. He also had three children. Sehli informed the press that he was protesting against his dismissal from his job after 22 years on health grounds. Additional information revealed that he planned to protest 15 seconds before the start of the formation lap but was prevented by marshals who dragged him off the circuit. Sehli had attempted to organise something similar at the French Grand Prix before the FIA Photographers' Delegate stopped him in the pit lane 10 laps before the race ended. He was released on a $945 (DM 2,000) bail the Monday after the German Grand Prix. Retired Formula One driver Hans-Joachim Stuck said that Sehli had "succeeded in avenging himself on Mercedes." Ferrari technical director Ross Brawn said that Sehli's actions were "very, very dangerous" and that similar intrusions "should never be allowed to happen again." However the Vice-President of Mercedes-Benz Motorsport Norbert Haug criticised the police's approach towards Sehli calling it a "scandal". The Hockenheimring track owners Hockenheimring GmbH announced that it filed a trepassing charge on Sehli. He was later awarded compensation from Mercedes-Benz and apologised for the track invasion. On December 16 Sehli won a court case against Mercedes-Benz who were ordered to pay F91,000 for "dismissing him without any conclusive reasons". He was however fined £600 by Hockenheimring GmbH for breaching circuit limits.
The race result meant that Michael Schumacher's lead in the World Drivers' Championship was reduced to two points. Häkkinen's second finish place finish resulted in him moving into second place, tied on points with teammate Coulthard. Both drivers were eight points ahead of race winner Barrichello. Despite not finishing Fisichella maintained fifth place with 18 points. In the Constructors' Championship McLaren's strong result reduced Ferrari's lead to four points. Williams, with 22 points, increased the gap to their rivals Benetton to four points, whilst BAR maintained fifth place on 12 points, with six races of the season remaining.
Championship standings after the race
- Note: Only the top five positions are included for both sets of standings.
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2000 Austrian Grand Prix
|FIA Formula One World Championship
2000 Hungarian Grand Prix
1999 German Grand Prix
|German Grand Prix||Next race:
2001 German Grand Prix