The 2000 San Marino GP: Michael Schumacher’s 38th Career Win
The 2000 F1 Season
Michael Schumacher won the two races so far in Australia and Brazil, and there was speculation that San Marino wouldn't be that easy. To McLaren's credit, they did have a faster car, but it proved to be unreliable. In Brazil, though, David did finish second but was disqualified due to some irregularities in the car. As such, McLarens didn't even score a single point after two races.
The San Marino GP promised to be a hot contest between the McLarens and the Ferraris. The McLarens would be raring to go so that they could make up for the two races which they missed while the Ferraris would want to carry the momentum of victories into San Marino. The varying expectations of both the teams would bring them head-on with each other, and that would be a boon for the fans come Sunday.
Not only the team but also the fans awaited the weekend with bated breath. It was an exciting contest to watch. Who would come out trumps? Mika or Michael, McLaren or Ferrari?
Let's find out.
Did You Know?
In 1994, when Michael Schumacher won the first two races of the season, it was considered sheer luck as Ayrton Senna was racing in an ill-handling Williams car.
In 2000, once again, Michael Schumacher’s wins in the first two races were attributed to luck as the McLarens failed to finish in both (David Coulthard finished in Brazil but was disqualified).
The 2000 San Marino GP Qualifying
For the first time in the 2000 season, Michael’s Ferrari did seem fast, and he was taking provisional pole after pole. Each time the McLaren cars came up to the top, it was eclipsed by Schumacher. In fact, there was a phase where Michael appeared to have cemented his place at the pole position, as neither the McLaren cars nor the others came close.
Mika made a come back with a blistering lap relegating Michael to the second spot. Michael soon responded, and just when the yo-yo seemed to have ended, Mika made this phenomenal final drive.
Note: The video is not in English. You can mute and watch and still have the same fun.
The video shows Michael’s last attempt as much as Mika’s. When you see Mika’s run, you would have assumed with all those mistakes in the final few chicanes there was hardly any possibility of catching up with Michael’s time, let alone overtaking it. But Mika did take pole by nine-hundredth of a second. There is a reason I call it phenomenal! If not for those mistakes, the pole time could have been at least three-tenths of a second faster than Michael’s. I know it amounts to speculation, but either way, Mika took the best spot on the grid for the race day.
To Michael’s credit, this was the first time in the 2000 season that he could make it to the front row of the grid at P2. David Coulthard came at the third position while Rubens Barrichello in the second Ferrari was at P4. The front two rows, yet again, appeared reserved for the McLarens and the Ferraris.
The 2000 San Marino GP – Race Day
The race-day was live-wired for both the Ferrari and McLaren fans; not to mention the teams. The expectation was a McLaren turnaround which seemed well on the cards. The drivers in the front row, interestingly, for the first time in the 2000 season were two double world champions. There could have been nothing better to start the San Marino GP.
At the turn of the lights, Mika got a superb start, but Michael was slow. Both Barrichello and David were all around Michael to the first corner. Michael, though, got ahead and started to pursue Mika who seemed to have opened up a decent lead in a short time. In a matter of minutes, both Mika and Michael began to pull out from the rest of the pack. Once again, it was a battle of the titans and Mika seemed to have that slight performance advantage which allowed him ever so gently to open up a lead on Michael.
Here is the race summary:
Note: The video is not in English. Viewers can mute and watch or keep the commentary on to listen to the V8s throttling in the background.
The top four positions remained unchanged for quite a time with Mika leading from Michael, Barrichello and David. The two Ferraris seemed well set for a podium finish in the scheme of things. However, the pitstops made the difference. The battle between Barrichello and David went in David’s favour as the McLaren team did a great job in sending him out despite having come a couple of seconds behind Barrichello. So, David was in third place. Now, the pitstops of the front runners was what the teams were planning for in true earnest.
Mika pitted first and got a good one from the look of things. Michael pitted after about five laps, and the Ferrari team did even better and got him out in no time. That fast pitstop made the difference as Michael emerged ahead. The position remained unaltered till the end despite Mika’s late charge.
Michael won a straight hat-trick of wins in the first three races of the season. No one could have asked for a better show! Mika Hakkinen and David Coulthard took the second and third spot, while Barrichello finished fourth. The top four was still between two teams – the McLarens and the Ferraris.
Did You Know?
Before 2000, the only time Michael Schumacher won the first three races of the season straight was in the 1994 season.
That was also the year that Michael went on to win his first drivers’ world championship.
Back to the Pits
Michael’s unabated climb to the top spot of the podium would have been unnerving for the McLarens. For once, though, they would have been glad that they could finish the race. The McLaren team was back in the competition and did an excellent job of securing the second and third spot. The season was still open, and the McLarens wouldn’t lose sleep on the result so far. The Ferraris, on the other hand, got things working in the right manner and would hope to keep the momentum going or even gaining some.
At the end of the first three races of the season, Michael seemed well set to take the championship. Now, it was for the McLarens and other teams to pose a challenge.
© 2020 S K