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Team orders secure Schumi second spot
13th May, 2001

The Austrian Grand Prix did not start well for Ferrari driver Michael Schumacher. When theSchumacher celebrates. lights went out his Ferrari did not get off pole position quickly because of problems with the launch control, and he had to let both BMW WilliamsF1s past. Later on, trying to regain the lead from Juan Pablo Montoya on lap 16, both cars ran very wide round Turn 3 and the German dropped back to 6th place.
He eventually crossed the line in second place, 2.191 seconds behind race winner David Coulthard, after his team mate, Rubens Barrichello who was running second, received orders to let the German pass. "I had some kind of problem at the start. The car did not get off the line the way it should - the systems are all very new," he said. "With Montoya, the fight had been fair until the incident. Then he tried to take me out at the corner and I had to go on the grass, because I could not turn in on him. He was not looking where he was going - he was looking where I was going.

"After that I felt I would have to wait and see what happened with the pit stops. We didn't know how long everyone would go. But I had to push hard to get past the cars ahead of me, so I had no chance to save fuel and so came in a bit early. I was very happy that Rubens moved over for me. With Hakkinen not finishing, it is clear that McLaren will try and set David up for the championship. If I hadn't been so close to Rubens, the team would not have asked him. Ferrari might have a different philosophy to McLaren, who have also called this strategy in the past. I feel that as long as we are not breaking the rules, then it is fair."

Rubens Barrichello was very disappointed after the race, despite finishing 3rd. "I moved over for Michael because the team asked me to," was all he would say on the matter. "I chose to start on used fronts and new rear tyres and at the end of the first stint I was struggling with front end grip, but it was a good choice. My start was not very good and I had a fairly hard race. I think it was one of my best races. Unfortunately, David was able to go a bit further than me before pitting and that paid off for him. Otherwise, I had a good feeling from the car and thought I could have won."

Jean Todt, who gave the order to Rubens, was eager to defend his decision. "We knew the start would be the critical moment. However, it did not go well for us," he began. "Both drivers used the electronic system and now we have to look into what happened. The result of this was that our drivers had to fight back. Michael was stuck behind Montoya, who was slower than him, for a long time. Trying to brake right on the limit, the Colombian arrived a bit long at Turn 2 and Michael was forced to run wide to avoid making contact.

"This incident left us with Rubens in the lead, while Michael was down in sixth place. The second key moment came with the pit stops. Our opposition stopped three laps after us, and that meant they were then running with a lighter car. That is what cost us first place. Rubens drove a great race, running at a very fast pace. On the last lap, the team asked him to let Michael pass, as he is the best placed driver in the championship fight. It is disappointing to leave Austria with this result. We had a competitive car which was capable of winning, but we did not come away with the result we expected."

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