2000 Monaco Grand Prix
|Race 7 of 17 in the 2000 Formula One season|
|Date||4 June 2000|
|Official name||LVIII Grand Prix Automobile de Monaco|
|Location||Circuit de Monaco|
|Course length||3.370 km (2.094 mi)|
|Distance||78 laps, 262.860 km (163.334 mi)|
|Time||1:21.571 on lap 57|
The 2000 Monaco Grand Prix (formally the LVIII Grand Prix Automobile de Monaco) was a Formula One motor race held on 4 June 2000 at the Circuit de Monaco. It was the seventh race of the 2000 Formula One season and the 58th Monaco Grand Prix. The 78-lap race was won by McLaren driver David Coulthard after starting from third position. Rubens Barrichello finished second for the Ferrari team with Benetton driver Giancarlo Fisichella third.
Championship leader Michael Schumacher started from pole position alongside Jordan driver Jarno Trulli. The race was aborted due to a software glitch in the starting procedure and Jenson Button and Pedro de la Rosa collided which started a traffic jam. At the second start, Michael Schumacher maintained his lead into the first corner. After the second round of pit stops, Michael Schumacher's exhaust broke causing a left rear suspension failure and his retirement from the race. Coulthard, in second place, became the new race leader on lap 57. Coulthard maintained his lead throughout the remainder of the race and secured his second victory of the season, with Barrichello a further 15.8 seconds back.
Coulthard's victory allowed him to narrow the lead of Michael Schumacher in the World Drivers' Championship to 12 points. Häkkinen retained third with Barrichello a further seven points behind. In the World Constructors' Championship, Ferrari retained their lead which was reduced to five points over McLaren. Fisichella's strong result reduced the gap to Benetton's rivals Williams to one point, with ten races of the season remaining.
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 Softs and the Extra Softs.
Going into the race, Ferrari driver Michael Schumacher led the Drivers' Championship with 46 points, ahead of Mika Häkkinen on 28 points and his teammate David Coulthard with 24 points. Rubens Barrichello was fourth on 16 points while Ralf Schumacher was fifth on 12 points. In the Constructors' Championship Ferrari were leading with 62 points, with their rivals McLaren second on 52 points. Williams were third on 15 points while Benetton with 10 points and Jordan on 9 points contended for fourth place. McLaren and Ferrari had so far taken command of the championship, winning the previous six races. Championship competitors Barrichello and Fisichella had gained second place podium finishes while Ralf Schumacher and Heinz-Harald Frentzen had achieved third place podium finishes.
Following the European Grand Prix on 21 May the teams conducted testing sessions across European circuits between 23–27 May to prepare for the Grand Prix. Jordan, Sauber, Benetton, Jaguar and Arrows opted to test at the Circuit Ricardo Tormo circuit which made its Formula One testing début that garnered mixed reviews from the drivers. Frentzen was fastest on the first day of testing, ahead of Sauber test driver Enrique Bernoldi. Jos Verstappen for the Arrows team set the second day's quickest times. Late in the session Fisichella hit the right rear tyre of Jordan driver Jarno Trulli, causing his Benetton to flip over and brought a brief halt to testing. Fisichella suffered minor bruising to his thumb and Benetton withdrew their second driver Alexander Wurz from testing. Sauber's Mika Salo topped the final days running. Williams and BAR went to the Circuit Paul Armagnac circuit which was where the teams undertook shake down runs and used car set-ups. BAR tested a new control system called "Athena 2000" which managed the software of the car's engine and different sections on the chassis. Ferrari tested at their private test facility, the Fiorano Circuit, for five days where test driver Luca Badoer and Michael Schumacher concentrated on aerodynamic and tyre testing, as well as undertaking different set-ups and running on an artificially wet track.
Due to the configuration of the Circuit de Monaco, with its low average speed and abundance of low-speed corners, allied to the low-grip nature of the public road surface, the teams all set their cars up to produce the maximum amount of downforce and mechanical grip possible. Benetton modified their car's suspensions to work better on the circuit's low-speed corners. The Minardi cars came equipped with a new titanium cast gearbox and new rear suspensions. McLaren brought an additional spare car to the event, with four in total being shared between Häkkinen and Coulthard.
Practice and qualifying
Four practice sessions were held before the Sunday race—two on Thursday, and two on Saturday. The Thursday morning and afternoon sessions each lasted an hour. The third and final practice sessions were held on Saturday morning and lasted 45 minutes. The Thursday morning and afternoon practice sessions were held in dry and hot weather conditions. Michael Schumacher set the fastest time in the first session, at 1 minute and 23.039 seconds, three-tenths of a second quicker than Häkkinen. Coulthard was third fastest, ahead of Fisichella and Frentzen. Alesi managed sixth despite suffering from gearbox issues which caused him to pull up on the track. Eddie Irvine, Jenson Button, Barrichello and Salo completed the top ten fastest drivers in the session. Minardi's Gastón Mazzacane spun and lost his front right wheel in a crash at turn 17 and Ralf Schumacher made contact with the barrier at turn eight. In the second practice session, Häkkinen set the quickest lap of the day, a 1:21.387; Coulthard finished with the third fastest time. The McLaren drivers were separated by Michael Schumacher. Eddie Irvine was running quicker and was fourth fastest, in front of Frentzen and Ralf Schumacher. Alesi continued to encounter problems though he managed to be seventh quickest. de la Rosa, Trulli and Barrichello followed in the top ten. Both Nick Heidfeld and Pedro Diniz made contact with the barriers at turn 17 and Wurz crashed at the swimming pool complex.
The weather remained hot and dry for the Saturday morning practice sessions. Michael Schumacher was the fastest driver in the third session, setting a time of 1:20.762; Barrichello ended with the third quickest lap time. Häkkinen set a time one-tenth of a second slower than Michael Schumacher and was second fastest. Alesi continued to run quicker and was fourth fastest, faster than Coulthard and Frentzen. Irvine, Trulli, Fisichella and Johnny Herbert completed the top ten. In the final practice session, Coulthard was fastest with a time of 1:20.405 though he ran down the escape road at Ste Devote and his engine subsequently stalled. Michael Schumacher was second fastest, nearly one-tenth slower than Coulthard. Fisichella opted to use a softer damper and set the third quickest lap, in front of Trulli and Häkkinen. Barrichello, Alesi, Wurz, Frentzen and Ralf Schumacher completed the top ten fastest drivers ahead of qualifying. A crash by Irvine at the swimming pool complex ended his session prematurely.
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 dry and hot weather conditions. Michael Schumacher clinched his second pole position of the season, his third at the circuit, with a time of 1:19.475. He was joined on the front row of the grid by Trulli who recorded a lap 0.271 seconds slower than the pole sitter and took his best qualifying performance of the season. Coulthard qualified third and said he could have set a better lap time as he saw a yellow flag out on the track. Trulli's teammate Frentzen qualified fourth but criticised Irvine for an apparent blocking manoeuvre. Häkkinen took fifth and suffered from understeer along with traffic during his second qualifying run. Barrichello secured the sixth place and reported his car was nervous. Alesi recorded the seventh-fastest time, despite experiencing alternator problems on his race car in the opening minutes of qualifying and switched to the spare Prost. Fisichella occupied the eighth position and reported his Benetton's handling had worsened. Ralf Schumacher and Irvine completed the top ten positions. Herbert set the eleventh fastest time, five one hundredths slower than his teammate and reported excessive oversteer on his car. He was ahead of Wurz in the slower of the two Benetton cars. Salo qualified in 13th position despite a misunderstanding with his race engineer over a yellow flag. Similarly, Jenson Button who took 14th in the other Williams, was caught out by the waved yellow flags. The two Arrows drivers filled the next two positions with Verstappen in 15th and Pedro de la Rosa in 16th; the latter crashed at the Raccasse chicane. BAR's Jacques Villeneuve started from 17th had an engine failure and was forced to use his team's spare car. Heidfeld took 18th and reported he experienced a lack of grip and understeer. He qualified ahead of Diniz and Ricardo Zonta in 19th and 20th respectively. The two Minardi drivers qualified at the rear of the grid; Marc Gené ahead of Gastón Mazzacane and both crashed at Raccasse.
The drivers took to the track at 09:30 Central European Summer Time (UTC+2) for a 30-minute warm-up session. It took place in dry and warm weather conditions. Both Ferrari drivers maintained their good performance from qualifying; Barrichello had the fastest time of 1:22.251. Michael Schumacher set the second fastest time. Ralf Schumacher recorded the third fastest time with Coulthard rounding out the top four. The session was disrupted by an incident which involved de la Rosa when he struck the barriers at turn 12 – the session was prematurely ended as marshals were required to clear the track – and Herbert clipped the tyre barrier at turn 14 after spinning on oil on the circuit.
The race started at 14:00 local time. The conditions on the grid were dry before the race; the air temperature was 24 °C (75 °F) and the track temperature was 42 °C (108 °F). At the start of the parade lap Diniz was unable to get away and was forced to start at the back of the grid. At the starting procedure Wurz's car suffered an engine failure and the start was aborted. Diniz, meanwhile, was allowed to start from his qualifying position after Wurz's engine issues. Michael Schumacher maintained his lead heading into the first corner. Trulli, behind him, remained in second position. Immediately afterwards a glitch in the FIA computer software caused the race to be suspended and marshals did not wave red flags across the circuit, apart from the start/finish line. At the hairpin de la Rosa attempted to overtake Button and the latter sent de la Rosa into a spin. The result created a traffic jam for cars who were behind the two drivers. During the red flag period Button, Zonta, Heidfeld, Diniz and Gené got into their team's spare cars and were required to start from the pit lane. de la Rosa, however, did not have a spare car available and could not take the restart.
At the restart, Michael Schumacher and Trulli again held their positions, whilst Ralf Schumacher made the best start in the field moving from 9th to 6th place by the end of the first lap. Barrichello had lost two positions over the same distance. At the conclusion of the first lap, the order was Michael Schumacher, Trulli, Coulthard, Frentzen, Häkkinen, Ralf Schumacher, Alesi, Barrichello, Fisichella, Herbert, Irvine, Salo, Verstappen, Diniz, Villeneuve, Zonta, Mazzacane, Wurz, Button, Gené and Heidfeld. Michael Schumacher began to immediately pull clear from Trulli as he began setting consecutive fastest laps. Häkkinen started to challenge Frentzen for second position on lap two. By the eleventh lap, Michael Schumacher had built up his lead to Trulli over eleven seconds as Wurz performed the race's first overtake when he passed Mazzacane for 17th position. Button pulled over to the side of the track with engine problems and retired on lap 16. Michael Schumacher continued to increase his lead to Trulli to 19.5 seconds by lap 19. Trulli was in turn 0.7 seconds ahead of Coulthard. Frentzen was a further 2.1 seconds behind the McLaren driver and continued to battle Coulthard's teammate Häkkinen for fifth.
On the same lap Irvine overtook his teammate Herbert for tenth position. Wurz crashed into the barriers at turn 1 and was forced to retire. Gené retired on lap 22 with a gearbox issue as his teammate Mazzacane subsequently collided with the barriers at turn one on the same lap and had to retire from the event. Herbert became the first driver to make a pit stop on lap 27 although his pit crew came unprepared and Herbert was stationary for half a minute before he exited in 17th position. On the 31st lap, Diniz made contact with the barriers at turn one and he damaged his left rear wheel, causing him to retire. Häkkinen's pace was reduced by lap 36 as he slowed with an blockage on his brake pedal and made an unscheduled pit stop. His team's mechanics opened his car's inspection hatch and rearranged radio cables. They subsequently removed a data transmitter which was the cause the blockage and Häkkinen rejoined in 9th. Trulli became the next retirement of the race when he pulled to the side of the track with a gearbox problem on the following lap.
Ralf Schumacher, who was running fourth, crashed heavily into the turn one barriers on the 38th lap. He suffered a deep cut to his leg and was taken to hospital. Michael Schumacher held a 36-second lead over Coulthard by lap 38 and the McLaren driver lapped consistently in the low 1:22 range to close the gap. Verstappen made the first scheduled pit stop on lap 41, five laps in front of Zonta and Heidfeld. Michael Schumacher made a pit stop on lap 49 and retained the first position. Fisichella made a pit stop earlier than expected on lap 51 as he had a slow puncture developing. Frentzen, Barrichello, Salo, Villeneuve and Coulthard made pit stops over the following six laps. After Coulthard emerged from the pit lane, Michael Schumacher's car suffered a broken exhaust which broke his left rear suspension and Schumacher was forced to retire.
At the completition of lap 57, with the scheduled pit stops completed, the order was Coulthard, Frentzen, Barrichello, Fisichella, Irvine, Salo, Häkkinen, Villeneuve, Verstappen, Heidfeld and Herbert. Häkkinen set the fastest lap of the race on the same lap, a 1:21.571 as he closed the gap to Salo in seventh. Verstappen, who was fending off Heidfeld for ninth place, spun into retirement at turn twelve on lap 61. On the 71st lap, Frentzen became the final retirement of the race when he broke his rear suspension in a crash at turn 1. Häkkinen started to reduce his pace on lap 74 ending his battle with Salo but managed to stay ahead of Villeneuve in seventh. Coulthard opened the gap to 17.4 seconds and crossed the finish line on lap 78 to take his second win of the season in a time of 1'49:28.213, at an average speed of 89.522 miles per hour (144.072 km/h). Barrichello finished second in his Ferrari, ahead of Fisichella in third. Irvine finished in fourth, Salo in fifth and Häkkinen rounded out the points-scoring positions in sixth. Villeneuve, Heidfeld and Herbert filled the next three positions, with Frentzen last of the classified finishers despite his crash.
The top three drivers appeared in Prince Rainier III of Monaco's Royal box to collect their trophies and in the subsequent press conference. Coulthard was delighted as securing victory at the Grand Prix which he considered as one of the races he wanted to win during his career because of the challenges the drivers take on the circuit. He also commented that he wanted to wait until the pit stop stages to get ahead of Michael Schumacher and Trulli to prevent unnecessary repairs to his car. Barrichello revealed that he was conserving his tyres and fuel, as well as being informed by Ferrari technical director Ross Brawn to reduce his pace towards the race's latter stages. Fisichella said that he was pleased at taking third place. He also revealed that he wanted to remain at Benetton for the 2001 season after his strong result.
Irvine scored the first points for the Jaguar team in the race, having failed to score up to that point. He described the race as one of the hardest in his Formula One career as his drink bottle did not function correctly along with suffering a blistered foot. He also said that the team's issues were not fully rectified and it would take "six months or so to solve... hopefully we can do it quicker." Salo said that his hands were bruised during the race as his car had no power steering equipped. Michael Schumacher admitted to feeling disappointed after the race, having led the majority of the race until his lap 56 retirement. The Ferrari driver stated: "The exhaust was too hot and that was why the rest went wrong. It basically cooked the suspension. I felt a few laps before that something was wrong but there was nothing I could do about it."
Ralf Schumacher suffered a three-inch gash on his left calf. He was taken to Princess Grace Hospital for a routine check-up and his cut was stitched. Ralf Schumacher was later cleared to race in the next Grand Prix, two weeks later. He said that he had no prior indication of where his injuries originated from. Williams had their test driver Bruno Junqueira to fill in for Ralf Schumacher should the need arise.
As a consequence of the race, Michael Schumacher's remained the leader in the World Drivers' Championship though his lead was reduced by ten points to twelve. Coulthard's victory moved him into second place on 34 points, ahead of teammate Häkkinen on 29 points. Barrichello and Fisichella remained fourth and fifth, with 22 and 14 points respectively. In the World Constructors' Championship, McLaren reduced the lead of Ferrari to five points. Benetton in fourth closed the points gap to their rivals Williams to one point. Jordan remained fifth on 9 points, with ten races of the season remaining.
- * Failed to restart
Championship standings after the race
- Note: Only the top five positions are included for both sets of standings.
- de la Rosa is listed as Did Not Start in the official results, despite having taken the first start prior to the race being stopped. Regulations at the time were such that in the event of a stoppage being ordered on the first lap, that start would be deemed null-and-void, and the second start would take place as if the first had never occurred. As this driver didn't make the second start, he is classified DNS.
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