Ralf wins through in a chaotic race
Ralf Schumacher won his home Grand Prix after an extraordinary afternoon at Hockenheim, while the misery of the Jordan team continues as they failed to get either driver home.
The drama unfolded at the very first turn, the scene of a huge crash. Michael Schumacher’s Ferrari slowed right down and Luciano Burti ploughed into the back of the German, barrel-rolling through the air before landing on a Sauber.
The race was restarted allowing Schumacher and Burti to rejoin the race in their spare cars. The Williams cars shot away from the front row of the grid their superior power pulling them away from the field as the McLarens and Ferraris jockeyed for position.
The Ferraris won that particular battle as Schumacher slipped into third place as Barrichello - running on a lighter fuel load - quickly passed Coulthard and then Hakkinen.
Meanwhile, Jordan’s problematic week was continuing as Ricardo Zonta - the replacement for sacked Heinz-Harald Frentzen - hit the back of Jos Verstappen’s Arrows as he tried to pass, putting both cars out of the race.
Trulli, further up the field scrapping with BAR’s Olivier Panis for 7th, also found trouble. Panis passed the Jordan and Trulli span as he tried to regain position. He tried to fight back through the field before his engine blew, the third engine failure he has had this weekend.
At the front Montoya was pulling away from his team-mate who in turn was streets ahead of the rest of the competition. It wasn’t to last though. As he took his pit stop the Williams mechanics struggled with his fuel hose eventually discarding it to use the hose for his team-mates car.
That cost him almost a minute and the lead. This turned out to be insignificant as his engine blew shortly after leaving the pits. Montoya stormed off the circuit, leaving without commenting on his misfortune.
This left Ralf in charge of the race and with the retirements of Hakkinen (fluid problem), Michael Schumacher (electrical fault) and Coulthard (blown engine) there was nobody out there to challenge him.
The smaller teams sensed an opportunity to get into the points, and score they did. Rubens Barrichello hung on for second place leaving Villeneuve to take the remaining podium position in his BAR.
The two Benettons of Fisichella and Button took fourth and fifth and Alesi grabbed the remaining point.Unfortunately for Eddie Irvine his Jaguar failed early in the race leaving Jaguar with no finisher as de la Rosa crashed out taking Nick Heidfeld with him.