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The 2001 F1 Season
The beginning of the season appeared to be an all-Ferrari game with a possibility of an easy championship for Michael Schumacher. The McLarens, especially, weren’t as competitive as in the 2000 season or the two seasons before that.
However, all of that changed starting with the third race of the season. McLaren was back to challenging Ferrari again, both in qualifying and the races. The leading opposition came from David Coulthard rather than Mika Hakkinen. Mika had some situations where luck didn't go his way, but Coulthard seemed to bend luck in his favour. He was fast, too, and at times quick enough to put the Ferraris behind. That was setting up the contest quite well.
If Ferrari kept focusing on Mika as the primary challenger, then they risked David stealing their thunder. By the Austrian GP, it was pretty evident that David couldn’t be taken lightly. The Scot was at an incredible new level.
So, the McLarens had become better, the Williams-BMW challenge still remained, and it was now up to the Ferrari to respond. Could they do it?
And most importantly, could the championship leader, Michael Schumacher, win the Monaco GP? Let’s find out.
The 2001 Monaco GP Qualifying
Any hopes of the Monaco qualifying being an easy affair for Michael and the Ferrari team was soon put to rest by some impressive drives by Mika and David around the track. They were consistently fastest, and Michael was fending off a two-pronged attack on the pole position by Mika and David.
It was David who was the fastest of the lot and was flying around the track. At one point, David out-qualified Mika, beat his own pole position time, and finally beat Michael’s pole position time. Take a look at David’s amazing run, beating pole time after pole time.
Clearly, the day belonged to David, and he deservedly took the pole. Michael took P2, a consolation, considering that he stood very little chance against a marauding David. Mika took the third position while Ruben Barrichello came in fourth.
Would the day turn out in favour of David? Or will Michael find a way to race ahead of David and take the first turn before everyone? Remember, it is almost impossible to overtake at Monaco. So, the positions once taken stay the same unless for some pit strategy.
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So, let’s find out what happened on race day.
The 2001 Monaco GP—Race Day
There were much anticipation and excitement to see how Michael would react at the turn of the lights. The Ferrari fans, of course, hoped for Michael to get away and stay ahead.
But the most unexpected thing happened even before the start. David’s car stalled on the grid. Sadly, some issue with launch control wasted such a great qualifying. David, therefore, had to start from the back of the grid.
Michael, however, was handed a golden opportunity on a platter. Michael was not the one to let an opportunity pass, and he made the most of it. He made it quickly to the first corner and from there started to pull away. In fact, Barrichello also made it behind Michael as Mika had issues with his car, which meant that the Ferraris were one and two.
Take a look at the race summary:
McLarens seemed to have great starts, but reliability let them down; more so, Mika Hakkinen. If the sad exit on the last lap of the Spanish GP wasn’t enough, then Mika was out of the Monaco GP as well. David was still running, and that was the only good news for the McLaren team.
In the end, the result went in favour of the Ferraris. Both the Ferraris were on the podium followed by an unlikely candidate, Eddie Irvine, in his Jaguar in the third spot. David could manage to finish fifth, which was a decent finish considering the traffic situation a car could get in at Monaco.
Back to the Pits
Michael finished yet another successful race, bringing home his fourth win of the season and forty-eighth overall. With the challenge from McLaren gradually becoming more potent, Ferrari had to up their game, and Michael Schumacher knew that all too well!
The Next Win..
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© 2020 S K