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The 2000 F1 Season
Michael had one of the best outings in a season since he joined the Maranello team, and it appeared that a championship win got more and more real with each race. The McLaren challenge lacked consistency, and therefore, hardly posed a real challenge so far. In fact, more than Mika, David Coulthard seemed to be the fierce competitor from the McLaren side. David’s strong races were a mixed sign, as there existed a possibility that Mika could very well start his own onslaught too. All the possibilities notwithstanding, Michael still led the championship.
Michael would have sorely missed the Monaco GP where he appeared well set for another victory before his rear suspension gave way. Till the time of the failure, it did look like an easy race for Michael and the Ferrari team. Having lost that opportunity, Michael would be raring to go in Canada. The championship leader would indeed want to seal the deal as soon as possible. But then the McLarens couldn’t be discounted so quickly, especially, with David in a newfound role and the possibility of Mika always returning to his winning ways.
Could Michael still win?
Let’s find out.
The 2000 Canadian GP Qualifying
The Canadian GP qualifying was by far one of the best nail-biting finishes of any of the qualifying sessions of the 2000 season. Michael seemed well settled at pole position, and Rubens seemed fast too, but for his unlucky tryst with yellow and red flags. The McLaren attacks continued throughout the session, but the best was reserved for the last. The real action started in the last two and a half minutes of the qualifying session.
Near the end of the session, Barrichello took P2 but was soon relegated to the third position as David Coulthard took pole position from Michael by nine-thousandths of a second. Now, as a television spectator most would have thought that Michael did slow down in the previous lap, so that would be more or less the end to the session. However, Michael did make one final dash, and that took him to pole once again.
Michael was at the top by nine-hundredth of a second. The final two minutes proved to be much more entertaining than the entire session. It was two Ferrari in the top three with David on P2. So, Michael at P1 had the benefit of a cleaner track going into the race day.
Will Michael be able to make the most of the advantage?
Let’s find out.
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The 2000 Canadian GP – Race Day
Even before the start, one wondered if Mika would go ballistic and storm to the first position as he did in Europe. However, the formation lap was eventful with David stalling his car and the mechanics rushing to help. He got away in time. However, the regulation did not permit any assistance to the car or driver in the last fifteen seconds. This meant that a penalty would be looming around the corner.
The start of the race, though, was straightforward and quick. Michael stormed to the first turn and retained his first position while David was close in the second position. The best start of the day was Jacques Villeneuve’s who stormed to the third position from sixth. He showed a sliver of his old world-beating days but sadly for him, the car wasn’t as competitive to retain the position.
Take a look at the summary of the Canadian GP:
The biggest beneficiary of Villeneuve's third position move was Michael Schumacher, who pulled away from the rest of the pack. David wasn't lucky as he did have to go through a stop-go penalty for the mechanics' help on the grid. That said, Villeneuve did not make it too easy for either Barrichello or Mika to overtake him, but they eventually did. Besides, the rain gods had plans of intervention also.
As the rains lashed some parts of the track, the cars went in for wet weather tyres, and the changes did not impact Schumacher's position in front. Barrichello soon found his way to the second spot and just when things appeared comfortable, Schumacher had some problems with his brakes. As such, he had to slow down and stop attacking the kerb. Barrichello, who had no issues with his car, started closing in on Schumacher but was asked to hold his position.
The race result read as Schumacher winning the Canadian GP from Barrichello by a 0.1-second margin. That was a Ferrari one-two and was a welcome result for the drivers' championship leader, Michael, and constructors leader, Ferrari!
Back to the Pits
Michael extended his championship lead over David by more than twenty points, and with every race, that gap seemed to stretch. The odd part was that the defending world champion, Mika Hakkinen, was not the one leading the attack against Michael Schumacher and the Ferrari team. The season was close to the midway mark, and anything could still happen.
The Ferrari team had just to keep the momentum going while it was all hard work for McLarens and other teams to catch up. Of course, at no point should the championship leader or the championship-leading team get complacent. That is something Ferrari would know quite well from experience!
The Next Win..
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