2001 Hungarian Grand Prix
|2001 Hungarian Grand Prix|
|Race 13 of 17 in the 2001 Formula One World Championship|
|Date||19 August 2001|
|Official name||XVII Marlboro Magyar Nagydíj|
|Location||Hungaroring, Mogyoród, Budapest, Hungary|
|Course||Permanent racing facility|
|Course length||3.975 km (2.470 mi)|
|Distance||77 laps, 306.069 km (190.182 mi)|
|Weather||Sunny and hot, Air Temp: 31 °C (88 °F)|
|Time||1:16.723 on lap 51|
The 2001 Hungarian Grand Prix (officially the XVII Marlboro Magyar Nagydij) was a Formula One motor race held at Hungaroring on 19 August 2001. It was the thirteenth race of the 2001 FIA Formula One World Championship and the 16th edition of the event as part of the series. The 77-lap race was won by Ferrari driver Michael Schumacher after he started from pole position. His teammate Rubens Barrichello finished in second and David Coulthard took third for McLaren.
Michael Schumacher started the race alongside Coulthard. Barrichello made a better start to overtake Coulthard and he tactically delayed the McLaren driver from lap 12 to provide his teammate Michael Schumacher with a significant lead of several seconds. Schumacher only lost the lead during the pit stop phases, maintaining the lead for the majority of the Grand Prix to take his seventh victory of the season and the 51st of his career. His win confirmed him as the 2001 Drivers' Champion, as Coulthard could not pass his points total with four races remaining in the season, and he equalled the all-time record of career victories held by Alain Prost.
Schumacher received praise from many in the Formula One community and his achievements was published in the front pages of newspapers in Germany and Italy. Barrichello's second-place finish helped Ferrari win the Constructors' Championship for the third consecutive session and the 11th time overall. McLaren left the event 13 points ahead of Williams in third while Sauber moved one point ahead of British American Racing (BAR) in the battle for fourth.
The 2001 Hungarian Grand Prix was the thirteenth of seventeen scheduled single seater races of the 2001 Formula One World Championship and the sixteenth running of the event as part of the series. It took place at the sixteen-turn 3.975 km (2.470 mi) Hungaroring in the village of Mogyoród near the country's capital of Budapest on 19 August 2001. The Hungaroring has been likened to the Circuit de Monaco due to its narrow characteristic that makes overtaking difficult. The circuit had a bumpy and dusty asphalt surface and it did not provide a major advantage to cars that were installed with powerful engines.
Before the race Ferrari driver Michael Schumacher led the Drivers' Championship with 84 points, ahead of his nearest title rival David Coulthard of McLaren (47 points) and Williams' Ralf Schumacher in third (41). Rubens Barrichello in the other Ferrari was fourth on 40 points, and Mika Häkkinen was fifth on 19. In the Constructors' Championship Ferrari led with 124 points, 58 points ahead of their rival McLaren. Williams were third with 56 points, while Sauber (19 points) and British American Racing (BAR) (16) contended for fourth place. A maximum of 40 points were available for the final four races, which meant Coulthard and Ralf Schumacher could still win the title. Michael Schumacher only needed to win the Grand Prix, regardless of where Coulthard and Ralf Schumacher finished. In the event both Ferraris finished first and second, the team would secure the Constructors' Championship for the third consecutive year.
By winning the race, Michael Schumacher would take his 51st career victory, putting him equal with four-time World Champion Alain Prost and join Prost and Juan Manuel Fangio as the third driver to win four or more titles. He that although the championship was not in his mindset in Hungary, he was looking forward to the race, "I am excited about the possibility of becoming champion a fourth time but if I don't look it, it's because I am not there yet. How can I be excited if I am not there yet? Only having the possibility doesn't count. I will get excited when it is in my pocket." In contrast, Coulthard was within four points of Michael Schumacher entering the Monaco Grand Prix although he finished fifth after failing to move off the starting grid due to a computer glitch. Thereafter, mechanical attrition and one accident meant Coulthard scored six points in the next five races and fell 37 points behind Schumacher.
There were two driver changes going into the race. Having been in one of the Prost cars since the opening race of the season in Australia, Jean Alesi completed negotiations for the release of his contract with the French constructor and joined the Jordan team for the rest of the season. Alesi's Prost AP04 was subsequently taken over by Heinz-Harald Frentzen—whom Jordan sacked before the preceding German Grand Prix—until the conclusion of the 2001 championship. Both drivers were allowed to familiarise themselves with their new cars in the week before the race. Frentzen undertook a 50 km (31 mi) shakedown test (the maximum amount of mileage allowed under the sporting regulations during the three-week summer moratorium from in-season testing) at the Circuit de Nevers Magny-Cours and Alesi undertook his running at the Silverstone Circuit.
Several teams made modifications to their cars to maximise slow speed grip and traction and setup for the Hungaroring's high-speed chicanes. Minardi introduced a revised chassis for both of its race and test PS01s, which comprised a new titanium gearbox and rear suspension geometry, tested by Andrea Piccini at the Fiorano Circuit. McLaren mounted a secondary wing to the tail of the MP4/16's engine cover above its gearbox and Williams did the same as it installed cooling bodywork on the engine for the first time since the Malaysian Grand Prix. The Benetton and Sauber teams fitted new front wings and undertrays to their vehicles while the former constructor also introduced revised bargeboards and a rear diffuser. Both Ferrari and Jaguar brought a revised high-downforce configuration that was an evolution of the package they utilised at the Monaco Grand Prix.
Four practice sessions were held before the Sunday race, two each on Friday and Saturday. The Friday morning and afternoon sessions each lasted an hour; the third and fourth sessions, on Saturday morning, lasted 45 minutes each. Friday's two practice sessions were held in hot and clear weather conditions. In the first practice session, Michael Schumacher was fastest with a lap of 1 minute and 16.995 seconds, 0.288 seconds faster than his teammate Barrichello in second. The McLarens of Häkkinen and Coulthard were third and fourth, with Ralf Schumacher fifth and Nick Heidfeld of Sauber sixth. Jordan's Jarno Trulli, the BARs of Olivier Panis and Jacques Villeneuve and Kimi Räikkönen for Sauber rounded out the session's top ten drivers. Alesi was restricted to four timed laps because he skidded into a gravel trap at turn 13. Ralf Schumacher avoided curtailing his session after pirouetting into the turn one gravel trap and reversing out of it. Coulthard understeered into the turn 12 chicane gravel trap and pushed the McLaren's undertray through the bottom of its monocoque on a serrated kerb with five minutes left, causing a four-minute stoppage to clear carbon fibre debris.
Michael Schumacher repeated his morning form in the second practice session with the fastest lap of the day of 1 minute and 16.651 seconds. Barrichello closed to within 0.083 seconds behind his teammate in second and Häkkinen third. Ralf Schumacher was fourth-fastest, ahead of Jaguar's Eddie Irvine in fifth and Alesi sixth. Giancarlo Fisichella of Benetton, Heidfeld, Panis and Coulthard followed in the top ten. Several drivers, including Frentzen, Fisichella and Ralf Schumacher, spun or went off the circuit during the session although no driver sustained damage to their cars. After Friday's practice sessions, Ferrari and Coulthard lodged a complaint with the Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile race director Charlie Whiting about the height of the kerbing at turn 12. Race officials subsequently agreed to lower its height by 2.5 cm (0.98 in) on Saturday morning to allow cars to be propelled more smoothly through turn 12.
It continued to be hot and humid for the two practice sessions on Saturday morning. Michael Schumacher continued to dominate the order by setting third practice session's fastest lap of 1 minute and 15.466 seconds. His teammate Barrichello duplicated his first and second session results in second and the two McLarens of Häkkinen and Coulthard placed third and fourth. Heidfeld was fifth, and Ralf Schumacher, Panis, Trulli, Juan Pablo Montoya of the Williams team and Räikkönen were in positions six through ten. Though the session passed relatively peacefully, Räikkönen stopped on track midway through practice with his car's overheating exhaust system catching fire, which was extinguished by track marshals.
In the final practice session, Coulthard broke up the Ferrari monopoly of being fastest in every practice session by pacing the field with a lap of 1 minute and 15.266 seconds. Michael Schumacher could not better his lap after he went wide into the grass exiting turn six and later spun off the track at turn 12. He remained in second in front of his teammate Barrichello in third and the faster Heidfeld in fourth. Fifth went to Häkkinen and Trulli was sixth. Ralf Schumacher was seventh-fastest, Montoya eighth, Irvine ninth and Fisichella completed the top ten ahead of qualifying. Seven minutes into the session, Ralf Schumacher beached his car in the gravel trap at turn nine and Minardi's Tarso Marques spun at turn nine.
Saturday afternoon's qualifying session lasted for an hour. Each driver was limited to twelve laps, with the starting order decided by the drivers' fastest laps. During this session the 107% rule was in effect, requiring each driver to remain within 107% of the fastest lap time to qualify for the race. It remained hot and clear for qualifying with the air temperature between 29 to 31 °C (84 to 88 °F) and a track temperature ranging from 33 to 41 °C (91 to 106 °F). Several drivers waited until after 20 minutes before commencing their first timed laps. Michael Schumacher usurped Hakkinen from the top of the time sheets during his first attempt, and then set his best lap with 20 minutes to go, taking his ninth pole position of the season and the 41st of his career with a new qualifying track record of 1 minute and 14.059 seconds. He was joined on the grid's front row by Coulthard who recorded a lap 0.801 seconds slower, due to him going wide at the left-hand turn 13 with an oversteer and he had been earlier baulked by Frentzen. Barrichello in third was delayed by Montoya early in the session after which his Ferrari's balance changed and it developed more understeer due to rising track temperatures. Ralf Schumacher was the highest-placed Michelin shod car in fourth, and Trulli aborted one timed lap after a driver error en route to fifth. Häkkinen had difficulty finding his preferred setup for his McLaren and he took sixth as Heidfeld in seventh aborted two of his timed laps through separate minor driver errors. Eighth-placed Montoya had a power understeer that eventually caused him to pirouette. Räikkönen placed ninth due to an understeer in his Sauber in his last two timed laps, while Villeneuve adjusted his car's setup to qualify tenth.
Panis took eleventh and was the fastest driver not to qualify in the top ten because he lost time with an electrical fault and spun because his traction control was inoperable. Alesi made it an all-French sixth row in the twelfth place but admitted that he required additional familiarity with his car. The Jaguars occupied the grid's seventh row in 13th and 14th with Pedro de la Rosa ahead of his teammate Irvine; the former made driver errors on his first two timed laps and the latter said he over-drove in an attempt to qualify in the top ten. Fisichella in the faster of the two Benetton took 15th and reported the car lost grip during the session. Although his car was lightly fuelled, Frentzen could not match his lap times from the morning's practice sessions and he began from 16th. Jenson Button had two engine failures in practice, requiring him to drive the spare Benetton, which had poor grip and balance and was restricted to 17th. Fernando Alonso qualified his Minardi in 18th while Luciano Burti of the Prost team had balance problems that caused his car to yearn from understeer and oversteer and went no better than 19th. The two Arrows of Enrique Bernoldi and Jos Verstappen occupied 20th and 21st; Verstappen utilised Arrows' spare vehicle after damaging his race monocoque in a crash during practice and Bernoldi's engine cut out on his final timed lap. Tarso Marques for Minardi was the last of the qualifiers in 22nd as he had a setup that could not be changed for increased car performance due to him replacing a sensor.
The drivers took to the track at 09:30 Central European Summer Time (UTC+2) for a 30-minute warm-up session in dry and hot weather conditions. All drivers fine-tuned their race set-ups against the weather conditions of the time, undertook laps in their spare cars. Although he was briefly delayed by a battery fault that affected his car's gear change mechanism, Coulthard set the pace with a lap of 1 minute and 16.915 seconds with the two Ferraris of Michael Schumacher and Barrichello second and third. Ralf Schumacher duplicated his qualifying performance in fourth and Häkkinen and Trulli followed in fifth and sixth. Heidfeld, Panis, Räikkönen and Irvine occupied positions seven through ten. Bernoldi was the only driver to lose control of his car during the session, running wide at the first corner although he continued.
The race took place in the afternoon from 14:00 Central European Summer Time (UTC+02:00). Weather conditions were hot and humid with some cloud cover. The air temperature was between 27 to 33 °C (81 to 91 °F) and the track temperature ranged from 40 to 41 °C (104 to 106 °F); conditions were expected to remain consistent throughout the race with a light south-easterly wind and a 20% chance of rain was forecast. Tyre consistency from over the season was predicted to allow for a one-stop strategy but it had the possibility of a slower car impeding the leaders for several laps. Therefore a two stop-strategy was theorised to provide drivers with a better chance of maintaining on-track position. While on a reconnaissance lap, Michael Schumacher locked his rear brakes and ran into the turn 12 gravel trap on the way to the starting grid. The Ferrari mechanics removed most of the stones from his car and precautionary replaced the left-hand side turning vane to ensure that there was no loose bodywork and his tyres were changed. In the meantime, Coulthard's race car was affected by a gearbox problem and he switched to the spare McLaren for the start.
Michael Schumacher made a good start to maintain his pole position advantage on the approach to the first corner. Coulthard in second made a slow getaway on the dirty side of the track, which provided less grip, and Barrichello overtook him around the outside into turn one. In the middle of the pack, Irvine attempted to pass Fisichella on the outside, but he lost control of the rear of his car on some dirt and got beached in the gravel trap. Trulli slowed to avoid a collision with Heidfeld. Further round the lap, Marques ran off the circuit after he and Frentzen made contact in turn two; both competitors continued. Verstappen made the best getaway in the field, moving from 21st to 16th by the conclusion of the first lap, while Frentzen fell four positions over the same distance. At the end of the first lap, Michael Schumacher led his teammate Barrichello by 1.3 seconds with Coulthard a further half a second behind in third. Ralf Schumacher was in fourth, with Trulli fifth and Häkkinen sixth. As the top three began to pull away from the rest of the field, extending their deficit over Ralf Schumacher to 6.8 seconds on lap five, the stewards informed the Benetton team that Button had jumped the start for which he was served a ten second stop-and-go penalty. He took the penalty on the following lap.
Trulli in fifth held up a train of cars comprising Häkkinen, Heidfeld, Montoya and Heidfeld from the eighth lap as Hakkinen attempted an overtake on Trulli but he was unsuccessful. On lap nine, Burti became the Grand Prix's second retirement when he spun into the gravel trap at turn 14 on heavily blistered tyres that caused him to drive with a reduced amount of grip. Alesi overtook de la Rosa at turn two for 12th on lap 10. At the front of the field, Barrichello began to tactically baulk Coulthard by lowering his pace by a second per lap on lap 12, allowing his teammate Michael Schumacher to lead comfortably while lapping slower traffic later on. That lap, Bernoldi locked his rear brakes in him catching Alonso and retired by spinning into the gravel trap at turn four. On lap 13, Button got ahead of Marques to retake 18th. By his first pit stop of the Grand Prix at the conclusion of the 28th lap, Michael Schumacher extended his lead to 12.8 seconds while establishing a new official track lap record that Nigel Mansell previously held since 1992. His stop lasted 8.4 seconds as he ceded the lead to his teammate Barrichello. Michael Schumacher rejoined the race in third, ahead of his brother Ralf Schumacher.
On the 29th lap, Trulli entered the pit lane for his first pit stop and he emerged in 12th after his refuelling was lodged to his car for five seconds longer than planned. Ralf Schumacher entered the pit lane on the following lap and he remained in fourth place. Barrichello stayed on the track until at the end of lap 31 to delay Coulthard in second before entering the pit lane for a 9.1 second pit stop to take on 91 l (20 imp gal; 24 US gal) of fuel. The tactic failed to succeed as Coulthard's pit stop on the next lap was faster than Barrichello's and he got ahead of him. Coulthard was therefore able to drive in clear air and provide him with an opportunity to close up to Michael Schumacher. Further back, Button overtook Alonso for 17th on lap 33. Two more retirements occurred during this stage of the Grand Prix: on lap 35, Button lost control of the rear of the rear of his Benetton through the final corner, and he stopped in the centre of the circuit on the start/finish line. He remained there due to the car stalling while engaged in gear, facing the opposite direction before marshals extricated him under yellow flag conditions. Alonso spun into a gravel trap at turn one when his rear brakes failed on the 38th lap. Although Coulthard lowered the gap to Michael Schumacher to 11 seconds, he could not get closer to the Ferrari driver before his rival's second pit stop on lap 52.
Barrichello made his second pit stop on the next lap, and he rejoined in third, behind his teammate Michael Schumacher. Coulthard led laps 53 and 54 and it appeared that he would retain second since the deficit between him and Barrichello was 22.6 seconds. However, during his second pit stop, the car's refuelling rig was jammed for two seconds, and he emerged in third, behind Barrichello. On that lap, Trulli pulled off to the side of the track to retire with an hydraulic failure. On the 58th lap, Panis drove into the garage to enable his team to rectify an electrical fault with his car. Behind the top three, the fifth-placed Häkkinen, who set the overall fastest lap of 1 minute and 16.723 seconds on lap 51, lapped two seconds a lap faster than Ralf Schumacher in fourth. He challenged him on the inside in the corners although he could not get ahead because of the Williams' better straightline speed. Frentzen joined the list of retirees by spinning into the gravel trap on lap 64 and Marques was instructed by his team via radio to stop at the side of the track at turn 12 and switch his car's engine off because of a low fuel pressure. On the 70th lap, Fisichella became another retiree with an engine failure that caused him to spin into the gravel trap beside the circuit.
Häkkinen made the final pit stop of the Grand Prix on lap 71 to have a quick stop for fuel and he remained in fifth although he fell back from Ralf Schumacher. Two laps later, Panis parked his car in the garage to retire after completing one exploratory lap. Upfront, Michael Schumacher reduced his pace and Barrichello held off Coulthard to enable his teammate to take his seventh victory of the season, and the 51st of his career in a time of 1 hour, 41 minutes and 49.675 seconds and an average speed of 180.344 km/h (112.061 mph), equalling Prost's all-time record number of wins. He was crowned the 2001 Drivers' Champion as Coulthard could not catch his points total with four races left in the season. Michael Schumacher also became the first driver to win consecutive Drivers' Championships with Ferrari since Alberto Ascari in 1953. Barrichello finished 3.363 seconds behind in second to enable Ferrari to win their third Constructors' Championship in a row and its 11th in Formula One. Coulthard followed in third, with Ralf Schumacher fourth, Häkkinen fifth and Heidfeld in sixth. The final classified finishers were Räikkönen, Montoya, Villenueve, Alesi, de la Rosa and Verstappen. The attrition rate as high with 12 of the 22 starters not finishing the race.
The top three drivers appeared on the podium to collect their trophies and spoke to the media in a later press conference. Michael Schumacher called his fourth Drivers' Championship and his record-equalling 51st career victory "a great achievement" and said comparisons with his three other titles and on equalling Juan Manuel Fangio's five titles did not matter, "I think we want to enjoy this and each one is different and each victory feels different. It's always something special, to win a Grand Prix, to win a championship even more, so that's what counts." Barrichello spoke of his pride at helping Ferrari securing the Constructors' Championship but admitted to having mixed feelings over falling behind Coulthard after the first round of pit stops, "The first time I was so disappointed and the second time I was so happy, I couldn't believe it myself. I think it was probably the same with DC but just the opposite. Fortunately for me, it worked out. I had a wonderful start." Coulthard stated he felt no emotions over losing the title because he sought to win, "It makes no difference to me really whether I'm second, third or fourth, whatever it happens to be. What's important is how I perform in each of the individual races and providing I know that I've given 100 per cent effort from myself, which I know isn't always the case, but that's obviously the goal, to try and achieve that, then I can't do more than that."
Michael Schumacher received praise for his fourth World Drivers' Championship and it was headline news in Germany and Italy. He was officially congratulated by Gerhard Schröder, the chancellor of Germany, who wrote a letter to the driver saying that his driving ability brought excitement to the sport and wished him well for the 2002 season. Gianni Agnelli, the head of the FIAT Group, said he was overjoyed with the result, and the president of Ferrari Luca Cordero di Montezemolo praised the marque for their effort during the season. Button predicted that Ferrari would continue to be Formula One's dominant team and Schumacher its best driver in the long-term, while Mansell echoed Button's belief, adding, "If Ferrari maintain the impetus they currently have and given the personnel... then I can't see anyone stopping them for the next few years, not unless someone comes up with the perfect package." Around 2,000 people watched the event on a large television screen in Michael Schumacher's hometown of Kerpen in the Lower Rhine region with the town decorated in the colours of the driver's team. Church bells in Maranello, the Emilia-Romagna town where Ferrari's headquarters are based, rang with several of the marque's road cars driving slowly and fans of the team celebrating Schumacher's accomplishment.
Ralf Schumacher, who finished in fourth, called it "the toughest race of the year" because his vehicle yearned between understeer and oversteer, "I had to work very hard to defend my position against Mika Hakkinen, which I managed to do." Häkkinen apportioned blame onto Trulli for his fifth-place result and said that him setting a new track record was of little consolation, "During the first 29 laps of the race, I was stuck behind Trulli, who was about 1.5 seconds slower per lap than me. It was only after his first pit stop that I could start to make inroads on Ralf Schumacher, who by then was about 30 seconds ahead." Irvine said he accepted responsibility for his first on the first lap that curtailed his running, "I made a big charge at the beginning but maybe I carried too much into the corner and paid the price. With so few races left and only four points earned from the season so far, we've got to address the issues before Spa."
The result of the Grand Prix left Michael Schumacher as the Drivers' Champion with 94 points while Coulthard remained in second with 51 points. Third-placed Barrichello was five points behind Coulthard in the battle for second and Ralf Schumacher in fourth was a further two points adrift of the former. With 21 points, Häkkinen rounded out the top five drivers. Ferrari won the Constructors' Championship with 140 points, while McLaren (72 points) were 13 points ahead of Williams in the duel for second. Sauber were in fourth with 20 points and the team increased their advantage over BAR to four points with four races remaining in the season. Although he won the title, Michael Schumacher said he was still focused on winning races, and he also considered helping his teammate Barrichello finished second, something which Ferrari team principal Jean Todt reiterated.
Championship standings after the race
- Bold text indicates the World Champions.
- Note: Only the top five positions are included for both sets of standings.
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2001 German Grand Prix
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2001 Belgian Grand Prix
2000 Hungarian Grand Prix
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2002 Hungarian Grand Prix