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11th April 1999

Review of Brazil 1999

The Championship race is on...

by David Cunliffe

Two of the main contenders topped the podium at Interlagos. The World Champion, Mika Hakkinen, took his first win of the season, and his biggest rival, Michael Schumacher, was only 5s behind at the finish - the race for the title is now well and truly joined.

Heinz-Harald Frentzen came in third to score his second podium position for Jordan, but the man of the race was again Rubens Barrichello. After qualifying his Stewart-Ford a stunning third at his home circuit, Rubens gained a place at the start as second placed man David Coulthard was left standing on the grid. The on form Brazilian then proceeded to shadow leader Mika Hakkinen for four laps until the Finn had a slight, but temporary, problem at the start of lap five which dropped him to third.

Rubens then confidently led the race, keeping the gap to second placed Michael Schumacher to around 3 seconds, until he pitted about one third of the way through. He returned to the fray in fourth, 28.5s down on the leader, close behind the Melbourne winner, Eddie Irvine. Stewart GP's Deputy Chairman, Paul son of Jackie, was seen optimistically scurrying down the pitlane to speak to Ferrari boss Jean Todt, presumably to ask him to radio Eddie to move over. Whether or not the Ulsterman listened to any such request, Barrichello made short work of him to take third with a clean overtaking manoeuvre at Turn 1.

The Brazilian was one of the few drivers on soft Bridgestones running a two stop strategy. It proved to be the wrong way to go. Hakkinen and Schumacher were on hard tyres and one stopping. After their pitstops, which was where the Finn used the more usual current method of passing in F1 to wrest back the lead, Rubens was still behind them in third. It was academic in the end, as the Stewart-Ford shortly joined that of team-mate Johnny Herbert (out early with hydraulic problems) on the sidelines when his engine let go.

It was another early season race of attrition with only 10 of the 21 starters finishing. BAR's Ricardo Zonta didn't even make the grid after a nasty accident in practice put him in hospital with, thankfully, only minor injuries. Damon Hill was the first race casualty after a coming together with Alex Wurz. Coulthard had rejoined the race, three laps down, after his start line woes, then suffered further, this time terminal, unreliability. CART Champion Alessandro Zanardi's poor start to the season continued with another uncompetitive run leading to a non-finish, though team-mate Schumacher the Younger managed to score again for Williams with a solid fourth place just in front of Eddie Irvine. The high number of retirements enabled Panis to sneak into the points with his Prost Peugeot.

The two points claimed by a lapped Eddie Irvine kept him and his team at the head of the Championship tables. But team leader Schumacher's confidence in the Ferrari, at least in race trim, is beginning to increase and, his authority reasserted, he will be fired up for his first "home" GP of 1999 at Imola in three weeks time. This is already shaping up to be a great season...

Pos Driver / Team Laps Time/reason




1 M. Hakkinen
West McLaren Mercedes
72 1:36:03.785
2 M. Schumacher
Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro
72 +4.925
3 H. Frentzen
B & H Jordan Mugen Honda
72 +1.13.447
4 R. Schumacher
Winfield Williams
71
5 E. Irvine
Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro
71
6 O. Panis
Gauloises Prost Peugeot
71
7 A. Wurz
Mild Seven Benetton Playlife
70
8 T. Takagi
Zepter Arrows
69
9 M. Gene
Fondmetal Minardi Ford
69
R P. de la Rosa
Zepter Arrows
R J. Villeneuve
British American Racing
R A. Zanardi
Winfield Williams
5 R. Barrichello
Stewart Ford
R P. Diniz
Red Bull Sauber Petronas
4 G. Fisichella
Mild Seven Benetton Playlife
R S. Sarrazin
Fondmetal Minardi Ford
R J. Alesi
Red Bull Sauber Petronas
R D. Coulthard
West McLaren Mercedes
R J. Trulli
Gauloises Prost Peugeot
R J. Herbert
Stewart Ford
R D. Hill
B & H Jordan Mugen Honda
R R. Zonta
British American Racing
DNS Practice accident

Fastest lap: Hakkinen 1min 18.448s


Article is written by and copyright (c) 1999 David Cunliffe, Warrington, UK - all rights reserved.

David Cunliffe has been following F1 for over twenty years and is a fan of any skillful and sporting driver who's a true racer. He produces a number of F1 related websites.


Interested in reading more by this author?


Articles by David Cunliffe
Review of Japan 1999 - Honours Even
Review of Malaysia 1999 - The Barge-board controversy
Review of Europe 1999 - Tears all round...
Review of Italy 1999 - Tears at Bedtime
Review of Hungary 1999 - McLaren back on top
Review of Germany 1999 - Eddie Assumes the Mantle
Review of Austria 1999 - Motormouth lives up to his own Publicity
Review of Britain 1999 - Triumph and Tragedy
Review of Canada 1999 - Dreams and Nightmares
Review of Spain 1999 - Swings and Roundabouts
Review of Monaco 1999 - Red Whitewash
Review of San Marino 1999 - Tifosi Heaven
Review of Brazil 1999 - The Championship Race is On...
Review of Melbourne 1999 - Eddie Breaks his Duck

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