Clutch failure cost Hakkinen win
April 29th, 2001
What a day for Mika Häkkinen!
He looked the certain victor at today's Spanish Grand Prix when, with only a few hundred
meters to go before the finish line, he had to park his car at the side of the track
because of a clutch failure. "I'm obviously disappointed, not only for me but also
for the team," he said. "I couldn't believe it when it happened, as we were
confident with the car. I think it was a clutch problem as I just lost drive no matter
what gear I selected. I was going up the hill at the time so there was no way I was going
to be able to get the car to the finish. It's difficult to describe how I feel and I don't
think the outcome will sink in until later."
For Häkkinen's team mate, David Coulthard, it had looked like a black day at the
beginning of the race. First his car suffered a hydraulic leak in the dying moments of the
morning warm up and then, at the start of the parade lap, he stalled and had to let the
whole field pass. Consequently his 3rd grid position stayed empty for the real start and
the Scotsman had to take up the race from the back of the grid.
A collision with Enrique Bernoldi saw him go back to his pit, after the first lap, for a
new front wing. He managed to finish 5th, 51.616 seconds behind winner Michael Schumacher.
"I initiated the start sequence on the new software before the formation lap and
everything was normal until I wanted to accelerate away," he explained.
"We are still looking into this as it's not meant to happen. As a result I had to
start from the back of the grid and got involved in a first corner incident where I was
hit from the rear which damaged the floor and pushed me into another car. I had to go into
the pits for a new nosecone and could then start to catch up. The car was quick in race
conditions and I managed to make up a lot of ground and combined with other people's
misfortunes I managed to leave with two points."