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Home > Formula 1



Schumacher wins a stormy Sepang!
March 18th, 2001

An exuberant Schumacher after his win.Michael Schumacher took his second win of 2001 and his sixth win in a row with a brilliant performance in the wet and dry Malaysian Grand Prix at Sepang today. Team-mate Rubens Barrichello was over 23 seconds behind while David Coulthard managed third. Jordan’s Heinz-Harald Frentzen took fourth place with Ralf Schumacher finally ending up in fifth while a disappointed Mika Hakkinen scraped home to take the single point in sixth.

The Malaysian Grand Prix was full of drama before the lights had even gone out, as drivers and machines endured a stifling 55 percent humidity on the grid. Michael Schumacher, who had dominated all weekend, was forced to switch to the spare car just before the pit lane opened. Frentzen in the Jordan had a misfire on his car during the warm-up lap and there was utter humiliation for Giancarlo Fisichella as he lost his starting point on the grid and did the only thing he could without suffering a heavy penalty by stalling his Benetton and therefore blocking the start.

Juan Pablo Montoya, who had excelled himself to get on the third row in qualifying, suffered a mechanical problem and had to make it back into the pits to pick up the spare car rejoining the race from the back along side the Benetton.

Jos Verstappen moves upto 6th place.The start of the race was thrown into chaos after Ralf Schumacher tried to pass second placed Rubens Barrichello at the first corner. But the two touched wheels, which sent the Williams car into a spin that allowed the rest of the grid to bunch up and pass with David Coulthard and Jos Verstappen, who was starting in 18th place moving up to an incredible sixth place.


However, if the start was confusing, then what proceeded on lap three turned the Malaysian GP into a lottery when both Ferraris went off in tandem, as without warning, the heavensThe drivers have a tough time on the flooded track. opened bathing the entire circuit in water, which resulted in cars spinning widely out of control all over the track.Eventually, the safety car came out but not before a gaggle of drivers were forced to retire including both BAR’s and the Saubers, Juan Pablo Montoya, Enrique Bernoldi and Eddie Irvine.

As the water settled and the rain subsided, the race was restarted on lap 10 with David Coulthard leading the grid with Frentzen in second, Verstappen in third and Mika Hakkinen in fourth. Rubens Barrichello was in ninth with Michael Schumacher reduced to 11th place.

The safety car is brought out to bring some sanity to the race.By lap 13, however, the German driver was literally trying to outdo Moses as his red Ferrari parted the waves of cars ahead of him, scything his way through into an incredible third place, hotly pursued by his team-mate Barrichello, who had joined him in fourth place pushing Mika Hakkinen down into fifth. By lap 15, the Ferrari driver, who appeared to have put a set of intermediates on whilst the safety car was out, had retaken the lead from Coulthard. It was back to the status quo on the very next lap with Barrichello taking up his role, riding shotgun in second place.

A happy team Ferrari poses for the camera.The remainder of the race turned out to be rather processional with Michael Schumacher at one point having amassed over a minute’s lead over his team-mate. However, the real battle was back in fourth, fifth and sixth place as Verstappen fought to stave off Hakkinen and Frentzen with Ralf Schumacher in the Williams mixing it with all three drivers.
The first three places may well have been predictable, but the contest for the remaining points was encouraging for Williams, Arrows and Jordan. All of whom gave Hakkinen’s McLaren Mercedes a thorough once over.

Nevertheless, it was the Ferraris who still set the standard in 2001.




 
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