2001 German Grand Prix
|2001 German Grand Prix|
|Race 12 of 17 in the |
|Date||29 July 2001|
|Official name||LXIII 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||Partially cloudy, very hot, dry, Air: 28 °C (82 °F), Track: 32 °C (90 °F)|
|Time||1:41.808 on lap 20 (lap record)|
The 2001 German Grand Prix (formally the LXIII Großer Mobil 1 Preis von Deutschland) was a
As a consequence of the race, Michael Schumacher retained his points advantage in the Drivers' Championship over nearest rival
The Grand Prix was contested by eleven teams with two drivers each. The teams (also known as
Going into the race, Ferrari driver
There was one driver change heading into the race. Having been in one of the Jordan cars since the first race of the season in
Some teams made modifications to their
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 practice sessions were held in dry and hot weather conditions. Barrichello set the fastest time in the first practice session, at 1 minute and 41.953 seconds, which was three-tenths of a second quicker than
The weather remained hot and dry for the Saturday practice sessions. Michael Schumacher was the quickest driver in the third practice session, with a time of 1:39.937. Barrichello was second quickest, almost half a second slower than Michael Schumacher. The two Williams drivers were third and fourth; Ralf Schumacher ahead of Montoya. Coulthard secured the fifth fastest time, two-tenths of a second faster than teammate Häkkinen in sixth. Heidfeld, Villeneuve, Irvine and
Juan Pablo Montoya, commenting on taking pole position.
Saturday's afternoon 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
De la Rosa and Irvine qualified in ninth and eleventh positions respectively for Jaguar; the pair were separated by Trulli in the Jordan who's engine failed on his third run and was unable to return to the pit lane to use his team's
The drivers took to the track at 09;30
The weather conditions on the grid were dry before the race; the air temperature was 28 °C (82 °F) and the track temperature 32 °C (90 °F). The race started at 14:00 local time. A total of approximately 100,000 spectators attended the race. As the drivers were preparing to start the
Burti and Michael Schumacher cars had been damaged beyond repair, both were thus required to race their team's spare vehicles. The Minardi cars were able to undergo further repairs and both drivers started on the grid for the restart. Barrichello's rear wing was replaced after Häkkinen made contact with him, for which the latter apologised. At the restart, Montoya and Ralf Schumacher again held their positions, while Häkkinen led the Ferrari cars and his teammate Coulthard going into the first corner. Further down the field, de la Rosa lost control of his Jaguar as he braked late going into the Clark chicane entry and hit the Sauber of Heidfeld. Michael Schumacher clinched third place from Häkkinen heading into the same area. Going into the stadium section, Barrichello passed Coulthard on the outside for fifth position. Verstappen made the best start of the field, moving from 20th to eleventh by the end of the first lap, while Button made up five positions over the same distance. As the drivers completed the first lap, Montoya led by 1.4 seconds from Ralf Schumacher, who was followed in turn by Michael Schumacher, Häkkinen, Barrichello, Coulthard, Räikkönen, Irvine, Trulli, Villeneuve, Verstappen, Zonta, Button, Panis, Bernoldi, Fisichella, Burti, Alesi, Alonso and Marques.
Montoya began to gradually pull away from Ralf Schumacher. Bernoldi passed Fisichella to take 14th place on lap two. Barrichello overtook Häkkinen at the Ostkurve corner to move into third one lap later. Further down the field, Button lost 13th position when he was passed by Panis on the same lap. On lap five, Panis made up a further position as he overtook Zonta for twelfth, while Bernoldi passed Button to take 14th. Barrichello moved into second position after he overtook Michael Schumacher at the Senna chicane on lap six. On the same lap, Zonta went into the rear of Verstappen's car, causing Zonta to lose his front wing. Verstappen fell behind Panis after the collision. Zonta made a pit stop for repairs, but retired after driving one exploratory lap. Verstappen made his pit stop and rejoined at the back of the field. Alesi passed Burti to move into 15th position on lap nine, and Panis overtook teammate Villeneuve for tenth place one lap later. On the tenth lap, Panis attempted to overtake Trulli for ninth by taking the inside line, but was unable to complete the manoveure. Panis again tried to pass Trulli but by taking the outside line on the next lap, although he could not execute the pass because of a lack of straightline speed. During the twelfth lap, Panis made his third attempt at passing Trulli and managed to get ahead of the Italian. Trulli pulled into the
Häkkinen retired from the race when he slowed and later pulled to the side of the track with fluid leaking from his engine on lap 14. His retirement allowed Räikkonen to move into the first points-scoring position of sixth. By lap 15, Montoya had a lead of 8.3 seconds over Ralf Schumacher, who in turn was 3.3 seconds in front of Barrichello. Michael Schumacher was a further 9.2 seconds behind his Ferrari teammate, but was drawing ahead of Coulthard in fifth. Barrichello and Panis were the first drivers to make scheduled pit stops on lap 16. The Ferrari and Williams teams were employing different pit stop strategies – the Ferrari were planning a two stop strategy for Barrichello whereas the Williams team were only planning for one stop. Räikkonen slowed on track with an driveshaft failure but managed to return to the pit lane and retire on the same lap, while Irvine retired with an misfiring engine. Two laps later, Burti lost tenth position after he spun and was passed by Trulli and Panis. Barrichello attempted to get past Coulthard for fourth position on lap 19, but Coulthard moved onto a defensive line to keep the position. Montoya continued to pull away from Ralf Schumacher—setting the race's fastest lap of 1:41.808 on lap 20—to maintain his first position after his one and only pit stop. Barrichello was able to overtake Coulthard at the Agip corner on the same lap.
Montoya made his pit stop on lap 22. However, his pit stop proved problematic: the signal lights at his pit box stopped working, causing the Williams refuller to switch to the fuel rig for Ralf Schumacher and Montoya remained stationary for 20 seconds longer than usual. Montoya was also fuelled for longer than his team planned. Ralf Schumacher thus inherited the lead with Michael Schumacher behind him and Montoya re-emerged in fourth place. One lap later, Michael Schumacher took his pit stop and he came out with a fuel pressure problem which meant he pulled to the side of the main straight and retired. Burti spun off and beached his car in the gravel trap at Nordkurve on the same lap. Ralf Schumacher made his pit stop on lap 24 and rejoined with a 10-second advantage. Villeneuve, Button and Alonso all followed Ralf Schumacher into the pit lane on the same lap. Alonso encountered a problem when leaving his pit box: the Minardi refuelling valve had a problem, and his car's afterburner remained on, though the flames extinguished themselves when Alonso accelerated out of the pit lane. Montoya pulled over to the side of the track on lap 25, with smoke billowing from his engine, and retired. Fisichella made a pit stop from fourth on lap 26 and re-emerged in fifth behind Villeneuve. Marques retired from the race with a gearbox problem on the same lap. Coulthard made a pit stop on lap 27 and immediately became the race's next retirement when he acclerated away from his pit box with a blown engine. The resulting event meant he pulled to the side of the circuit. Panis made his pit stop on lap 31 and came out behind Button and Alesi. Barrichello became the final driver to make a scheduled pit stop on the 32nd lap.
At the completion of lap 33, with the scheduled pit stops completed, the race order was, Ralf Schumacher, Barrichello, Villeneuve, Fisichella, Button, Alesi, Panis, Trulli, Bernoldi, Verstappen and Alonso. Trulli became the final retirement after stopping at the side of the circuit because his car developed a hydraulic pump issue on lap 35. Ralf Schumacher began to reduce his pace by lap 37 but managed to lap quicker than Barrichello. He received a pit board message three laps later which advised him to refill his car's fluids. Fisichella went off the circuit on lap 43 while he was catching Villeneuve, and both Arrows drivers avoided a collision for eighth position. With his closest challenger over 46 seconds behind, Ralf Schumacher crossed the finish line on lap 45 to secure his third victory of the season in a time of 1 hour 18 minutes and 17.873 seconds, at an average speed of 146.240 miles per hour (235.350 km/h). Barrchello finished in second 46.1 seconds behind, ahead of Villeneuve in third, Fisichella in fourth, Button fifth, and Alesi rounded out the points-scoring positions in sixth. Panis in seventh was the final driver on the lead lap, with Bernoldi, Verstappen and Alonso the last of the classified finishers. The attrition rate was high, with ten of the twenty-two starters finishing the race.
Ralf Schumacher, speaking after the race.
The top three drivers appeared on the podium to collect their trophies and in the subsequent
Both Benetton drivers managed to finish both their cars in the points for the first time in the season. Fisichella said he was "very happy, for Jenson and myself" and thanked members of his team for his result. Button believed that his team's good result was because of improved changes to the balance on his Benetton. He later revealed that he removed his water bottle tube from his mouth which caused water to spray on his face under braking. The result lead to Benetton technical director
Montoya admitted to feeling disappointed after the race, having been leading until his only pit stop on lap 22. He stated: "I am so disappointed I cannot find the words to describe how I feel. Up to the pit stop the race was going perfectly for me." Williams technical director
After the crash between himself and Burti on the first lap, Michael Schumacher said that although he saw Burti in his rear-view mirrors, he did not know which line he wanted to take and he could not take avoiding action because of his gear selection problem. Burti said that the accident "looked worse on TV" and that he stated his spin on lap 18 was caused because his left arm was aching from the crash. Coulthard questioned the decision to stop the race by saying: "Accidents or injury off the track is not normally a reason to stop the race. There's lots of races that would have benefited from being red-flagged to give people a show." He also said he felt consistency was needed but accepted that the organisers had the final say on stopping a race. Villeneuve also agreed with Coulthard's view. A spokesman for the FIA confirmed and defended the red-flag decision and they said it was shown to prevent a larger accident. Michelin Motorsport Director
The race result meant that Michael Schumacher still retained his lead in the Drivers' Championship, ahead of Coulthard. Race winner Ralf Schumacher, on 41 points, moved into the third place and Barrichello's second-place resulted in him being relegated to fourth. In the Constructors' Championship, McLaren's failure to score points, resulted in Ferrari extending their lead to be fifty-eight points in front. Williams retained third on 56 points, but were ten points closer to McLaren, with five races of the season remaining. This was the final Formula One event to be held at the high-speed configuration of the Hockenheimring circuit; the circuit was shortened by 1.5 miles and the new layout was used starting from the 2002 season.