Car problems force Schumy to retire.
15th April, 2001
Ferrari's home race in Imola turned out to be a difficult one for Michael Schumacher.
Having qualified in fourth, the German experienced problems from the very beginning of the
San Marino Grand Prix.
Firstly, he lost one place at the start and dropped back to 5th. Then a gear selection
problem sent him even further back to 8th place. On lap 24 a flat tyre forced him to pit
for a new one and he emerged back on track
last of all. However, after only one lap it was clear that the damage was more serious
then originally thought, and he returned to the pits once more to retire.
The only positive thing for him was that his brother won his first Grand Prix. "I am
very happy for Ralf. He has shown strongly in the past and he has also had some bad luck.
But his time everything went well and he did it in style," he said proudly.
"This is the first time that two brothers have won in a Grand Prix. We have both
achieved our goal and our parents will be very proud. As for myself, you can't win all the
races. Unfortunately, I did not make a good start. Montoya and Panis were then able to
pass me because I had a brief problem with the gearchange system.
"This is definitely not one of my best weekends. It was a hard race right from the
start and it ended in the worst possible way when I retired on lap 25, because of what
seems to be a problem with the front left tyre. Honestly, I have to say our rivals have
made up the advantage we had over them. There is still a long way to go this season and I
am sure we will be very competitive at the highest level."
Rubens Barrichello managed to save face for the Scuderia at their home race. Starting from
6th the Brazilian managed to stay out of trouble and finish third, 34.766 seconds behind
race winner, Ralf Schumacher. "We had a great strategy, but I made a slow start with
too much wheelspin. I could comfortably follow everyone and didn't know how often the cars
in front of me would stop. So I pushed and tried to overtake, but it is very difficult to
do that at Imola," the Brazilian explained.
"I was losing time behind Häkkinen, but I stayed out for three more laps after he
pitted and that meant I could push hard and do some quick times. Our strategy involved
going late for the first stop and we had to gamble a bit because of my grid position. Then
the team did a great job in the pits. It was actually a great race for me as I started so
far from the back. I didn't know what Michael's problem was, so when I saw him run wide, I
took my chance. I was happy with the balance of my car all weekend. I think this was one
of my best races in terms of being consistent and overtaking cars."