Tag Archives: Coulthard

Classic #jonesonF1: 2001 Austrian Grand Prix

The most iconic picture of the 2001 Austrian Grand Prix.

The most iconic picture of the 2001 Austrian Grand Prix.

The 2001 Austrian Grand Prix: Round 6 of 17 in the 2001 Formula One World Championship. Heading into the race, Ferrari driver Michael Schumacher led the Drivers’ Championship with 36 points, ahead of McLaren driver David Coulthard eight points behind in second place with 28 points and Rubens Barrichello in third on 14 points.

A staggering performance in the final sector of the A1-Ring allowed Michael Schumacher to clinch his fifth pole position out of six races in what looks set to be a record-breaking season for the German when it comes to starting from the top spot of the grid. The German’s cause was also aided by the changing winds at the Austrian circuit, where they can have such a big influence on the drivers’ speed.

By setting his second consecutive pole after the Spanish Grand Prix, the Ferrari driver also ended a disappointing series of performances at the Austrian track, where he has qualified no better than fourth in his previous appearances. However, his top position was not the best news for Schumacher, as his McLaren rivals “screwed up” – in the words of their own team boss Ron Dennis – and had to settle with the fourth row of the grid.

The perfect weather conditions at the very slippery Austrian circuit saw the crowd having to wait a massive 21 minutes before the hills were brought alive with the sound of a Formula One engine. Once Enrique Bernoldi with the Arrows decided to open the proceedings, the rest of the drivers crowded the circuit.

Jacques Villeneuve during qualifying for the 2001 Austrian Grand Prix

Jacques Villeneuve during qualifying for the 2001 Austrian Grand Prix

A committed Jacques Villeneuve was the first one to fall victim of the slippery surface, spinning his BAR while he was starting his first attempt. It wasn’t to be the only incident for the Canadian, who was clearly trying too hard, even for himself.

Juan Pablo Montoya finished second in qualifying for the 2001 Austrian Grand Prix

Juan Pablo Montoya finished second in qualifying for the 2001 Austrian Grand Prix

Twenty six minutes into the session, Montoya would set the ball rolling in the first of the four three-lap attempts that the Michelin-shod teams went for lapping only two tenths slower than last year’s pole position time. David Coulthard was the next big hitter to come out, but the Scot lost his first run and returned to the pits without having set a time. It was the beginning of a very tough session for the McLaren team.

Ralf Schumacher, Jarno Trulli and Rubens Barrichello would top the timesheets before Michael Schumacher came out to make his first of three four-lap attempts, breaking into the 1:09s bracket on his second lap, after running wide at the end of the straight on the first one.

Michael Schumacher clinched Pole Position for 2001 Austrian Grand Prix

Michael Schumacher clinched Pole Position for 2001 Austrian Grand Prix

The German’s time was already a second quicker than Mika Hakkinen’s pole from last year, and more than six tenths faster than anybody else. The order remained unchanged until the two Michelin-shod Williamses returned to the track. Ralf made it an all-Schumacher front row in his second run, only some two tenths slower than his brother, but Montoya would immediately break the German dominance as he completed his second attempt being slightly faster than his teammate.

While Mika Hakkinen set the fifth fastest time in his first run, Coulthard was unable to post a competitive time on his second and was only eighth quickest 40 minutes into the session, the Scot looking more affected by the headwind problem than other drivers.

Schumacher, whose Ferrari was running with new rear and old front tyres, jumped onto the track for the second time with some 20 minutes remaining, but it was starting to become evident that the wind conditions would make it very difficult from drivers to improve, and he, as well as Hakkinen, Barrichello, Montoya and Ralf stayed where they were after their second run.

Though most of the top contenders were close to Schumacher’s time in the first and second sectors, they were unable to equal the Ferrari driver’s pace in the third, all of them losing more than two tenths. Not even Hakkinen and Coulthard could improve over their poor positions, though the Scot was able to jump in front of the Finn to place himself in seventh position.

The final minutes of the session saw the field completing their final attempts in vain, as most of them were unable to improve. Schumacher wasn’t even able to completed his final lap after Jos Verstappen spun right in front of him, forcing him to go off track. Nevertheless, the German was happy with the 37th pole of his career, but more so to see the McLarens on the fourth row. However, he refused to write them off for the race and as it turned out, rightly so.

Montoya, who finally was able to endure a trouble-free first practice on Friday, took full advantage of his past experience at the A1-Ring and clinched second place alongside Schumacher. Teammate Ralf Schumacher was third, while Barrichello was fourth, in front of Jarno Trulli and a brilliant Nick Heidfeld in the first of the Saubers.

Juan Pablo Montoya leads his team mate Ralf Schumacher and Michael Schumacher at the start of the 2001 Austrian GP

Juan Pablo Montoya leads his team mate Ralf Schumacher and Michael Schumacher at the start of the 2001 Austrian GP

On race day, launch control was a concern as four cars were left on the grid as they stalled as the race started. There were no incidents or accidents as a result of the cars stalled on the grid. The two Williams drivers were in first and second position after the start: Juan Pablo Montoya was leading and Ralf Schumacher was second. Michael Schumacher in his Ferrari was in third position.

The Safety Car comes out at the end of Lap 1 of the 2001 Austrian GP.

The Safety Car comes out at the end of Lap 1 of the 2001 Austrian GP. All rights reserved to LAT.

The safety car was deployed on the first lap as two of the cars which stalled could not be removed from the grid before the race completed the first lap. Jarno Trulli was one of the drivers that stalled their car but who had been recovered to the pit lane, was then disqualified for leaving the pit lane while the red light was on as the safety car and the cars behind it passed the pit lane exit.

Juan Pablo Montoya leads his team mate Ralf Schumacher in the early stages of the 2001 Austrian GP.

Juan Pablo Montoya leads his team mate Ralf Schumacher in the early stages of the 2001 Austrian GP. All rights reserved to LAT.

At the restart, Montoya was in lead again while Ralf Schumacher retired soon after with brake problems. Soon afterwards, Montoya began to experience tyre graining, which allowed Michael Schumacher to close on him. Furthermore, Rubens Barrichello got closer to his team mate and was followed by Jos Verstappen, David Coulthard and Kimi Räikkönen causing a line of cars behind Montoya.

The incident between Juan Pablo Montoya and Michael Schumacher during the 2001 Austrian GP.

The incident between Juan Pablo Montoya and Michael Schumacher during the 2001 Austrian GP. All rights reserved to LAT.

Montoya tried to hold them all off but then Michael Schumacher made his move on the outside of the tight second corner. Montoya outbraked himself and this resulted in both drivers running off the track, leaving Barrichello in the lead. Both Montoya and Schumacher went back on the track but were down the field now. Verstappen meanwhile pitted soon after with a much lighter fuel load.

David Coulthard leads the latter stages of the 2001 Austrian GP ahead of Michael Schumacher

David Coulthard leads the latter stages of the 2001 Austrian GP ahead of Michael Schumacher

Schumacher fought his way back up to third, while Montoya was able to get up to fourth before retiring with hydraulic fauliure. At the sole round of pit stops, Coulthard jumped Rubens Barrichello to lead the race, but appeared to be struggling during the closing stages, allowing both Ferraris to close right up to the McLaren.

On Lap 54, Schumacher made a mistake and went out on the grass, as he had done already immediately after his pit stop, managed to recover and stayed in the race, but lost precious time and the hope to win the GP. While his team mate Barrichello, meanwhile was making life difficult for Coulthard who seemed not to be as fast as before on his new set of tyres.

Jenson Button retires from the 2001 Austrian GP a few laps from the end.

Jenson Button retires from the 2001 Austrian GP a few laps from the end. All rights reserved to Getty Images.

With a few laps to go, Button finished his very non-descript race by spinning out to the side with flames gashing out of the back of his Benetton. Button had been almost constantly at the back of the pack throughout the weekend and his poor performance reflected that of the Benetton team as a whole, which appears not to be anywhere near finding a way out of the crisis that hit them.

Michael Schumacher passes his team mate Rubens Barrichello on the final lap of the 2001 Austria Grand Prix

Michael Schumacher passes his team mate Rubens Barrichello on the final lap of the 2001 Austria Grand Prix

 

Fisichella performed slightly better than the young Briton, but he was noticeable mainly by his absence from any action that took place. But during the last lap, Barrichello was ordered by the Ferrari team to cede second position to Schumacher, so that he could gain points to defend the driver’s title. Barrichello did not comply until the final corner of the last lap.

David Coulthard wins the 2001 Austrian GP ahead of second place driver Michael Schumacher and third place driver Rubens Barrichello.

David Coulthard wins the 2001 Austrian GP ahead of second place driver Michael Schumacher and third place driver Rubens Barrichello. All rights reserved to Reuters.

But it was David Coulthard finished first, just ahead of both Ferraris of Schumacher and Barrichello, with a fourth place for Kimi Räikkönen in his Sauber and Olivier Panis who finished fifth in his BAR-Honda 003.

The 2001 Austrian Grand Prix will be remembered as Coulthard’s second win of the 2001 season after winning the Brazilian Grand Prix. This race will also be remembered with the incident between Michael Schumacher and Juan Pablo Montoya that is still about and debated by many fans and pundits today.

But Coulthard’s victory lifted spirits a bit at McLaren, who were grieving for the death of Paul Morgan who passed away at the weekend of the race itself. As a mark of respect to Morgan, the race winner did not open his champagne to spray it around which was a pleasant gesture from Coulthard. This race also saw Coulthard close the gap down to Schumacher to four points and keeping himself in contention for the title.

In regards to the incident between Michael Schumacher and Rubens Barrichello, an identical situation happened at the race the following year and the ensuing podium procedure in which Schumacher ushered Barrichello to the top step resulted in a heavy fine for the Ferrari team, Schumacher and Barrichello, as well as the FIA later banning “team orders” altogether.

And as the 2001 World Championship continued to the next around in Monaco, Schumacher lead the championship still by 42 points ahead of Coulthard four points behind with 38 points and Rubens Barrichello in third with 18 points.

Coulthard wins ROC ahead of Wehrlein

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Yesterday, David Coulthard put all his racing experience to good use to beat youngster Pascal Wehrlein in the final of the Race of Champions in Barbados.

However, on Saturday Coulthard and Williams test driver Susie Wolff fell short in the Nations Cup with Team Nordic duo Tom Kristensen and Petter Solberg taking the honours.

Having beaten Barbados 2-1 in the semi-final, Scottish pair Coulthard and Wolff fell by the same margin to Kristensen and Solberg, who beat French pair Romain Grosjean and Ocon earlier in the day.

Coulthard reached the final on the back of victory over six-time V8 Supercar champion Jamie Whincup while Wehrlein saw off the challenge of Lotus junior driver Esteban Ocon.

But yesterday, the former F1 driver saw off the Mercedes reserve driver Wehrlein 2-0 in the best-of-three final at Bushy Park on Sunday to take the title.

Thirteen-time grand prix winner Coulthard won the first race by 2.5s in his RoC Buggy and then claimed a 2.7s victory in the Ariel Atom in the second race. In an interview with the media after the event, Coulthard has had a great week and has nothing but thanks for everyone who came out to watch the event. Coulthard stated the following:-

‘We’ve had a fantastic week, never mind a fantastic race weekend, so huge thanks to all the wonderful people of Barbados for coming out – and of course to Fredrik Johnsson and his team at RoC.

‘I’m retired so it’s lovely to get another trophy, but I think everyone can see that, in Pascal, we have a star for the future. He’s already signed up with Mercedes in F1 as a reserve driver and winning races in the DTM, so motorsport’s in good health with great young drivers like this.

‘I’m pleasantly very surprised but I’m slightly embarrassed because there’s such great talent out there. Maybe not racing for two years is the secret! Of course I don’t race any more but, at this event, I had the advantage because being 23 years older than Pascal I’m used to changing gear whereas he was looking for the semi-automatic shift! I think a small rum punch is in order…’

For him to publically thank everyone who has helped him achieve this victory is nice to see alongside his praise for Wehrelin who gave him a run for his money and it appears that the event has been very successful and Coulthard knows it is down to the fans and spectators who came out to support it.

Overall, it is clear for all to see that Coulthard is delighted to have won the Race of Champions ahead of a promising star like Wehrelin who believes has the talent and the speed to make into Formula One in the near future. Coulthard may not be racing in motorsport anymore, but he has shown that he hasn’t lost any of the speed and talent that got him into Formula One in the first place.

Even though Coulthard believes that the future of Formula One with young drivers going through the junior formulae such as Wehrelin is getting stronger and stronger, his victory yesterday showed that he can still take on the younger generation and come out on top and he deserves all the credit for what he has achieved this weekend.

Classic #jonesonF1: 2000 French Grand Prix

The most iconic image from the 2000 French Grand Prix

The most iconic image from the 2000 French Grand Prix

The French Grand Prix: Round 9 of 17 in the 2000 Formula One World Championship. Heading into the race, Ferrari driver Michael Schumacher lead the Drivers’ Championship with 56 points, ahead of McLaren driver David Coulthard on 34 points, with McLaren driver Mika Hakkinen in third on 32 points, Ferrari driver Rubens Barrichello in fourth on 28 points and Giancarlo Fisichella was fifth on 18 points.

In Qualifying, Michael Schumacher had taken Pole Position for the third consecutive race of the season with Coulthard qualifying in second place and Barrichello qualifying in third place after changing his set up earlier on in the session. Mika Hakkinen managed to qualify fourth, Ralf Schumacher managed to qualify in fifth place after grabbing fifth from Eddie Irvine in the final moment of the session and pushing Irvine down to sixth place.

Jacques Villeneuve qualified seventh on the grid which was a good result for hi and the BAR- Honda team after bringing a new aerodynamic package on the car for the race. Heinz-Harald Frenzten and Jarno Trulli qualified in eighth and ninth places and Jenson Button qualified in tenth place.

On race day, Coulthard was quicker than Schumacher at the start but Schumacher moved across the track to stay ahead as in the previous race in Canada. But then Coulthard had to switch sides and this allowed Barrichello to get the momentum on him.

Coulthard was forced to concede second to Barrichello and behind them Häkkinen kept out of the action as Villeneuve and Frenzten  were able to get ahead of Ralf Schumacher. The grid at the end of the first lap: Schumacher, Barrichello, Coulthard, Häkkinen, Villeneuve, Frentzen, Ralf Schumacher, Trulli, Salo and Irvine.

The race settled down with Schumacher slowly pulling away from Barrichello about whom neither Coulthard nor Häkkinen could do much about it. Villeneuve was on his own in fifth while Frentzen, Ralf Schumacher and Trulli were running together. On lap 12, Button passed Irvine and followed up by passing Salo next lap. He started to close in on the trail led by Frentzen.

At the front of the grid, Coulthard was 4 seconds behind Schumacher and he was starting to close in on Barrichello as the fuel load began to go down. He made a move on lap 21 but Barrichello was able to see to it and defended. Coulthard tried again on lap 22 and this time he got it on the inside of the Adelaide hairpin.

In the next few laps before the stops, Schumacher increased his lead to 5 seconds. Barrichello’s stop was slow and this allowed Häkkinen to sneak ahead of him. Behind them, Ralf Schumacher got Frentzen on the stops as well. The order after the pit stops was: Schumacher, Coulthard, Häkkinen, Barrichello, Villeneuve, Ralf, Frentzen, Trulli, Button and Salo.

Schumacher’s tyres had been blistered and Coulthard came charging in toward him. Schumacher could do nothing and in 8 laps, his 4 second lead was gone. Behind them, Häkkinen was slowly pulling away from Barrichello. At the front, Coulthard was now right with Schumacher and Häkkinen closing in on both of them as well.

The famous hand gesture made by Coulthard towards Schumacher while trying to pass him

The famous hand gesture made by Coulthard towards Schumacher while trying to pass him at the Adelaide hairpin on Lap 35. 

Coulthard went around the outside of Schumacher at the Adelaide hairpin but Schumacher moved on him and kept the lead. This allowed Häkkinen to be right with them and Barrichello was starting to close in on all three of them. There were no changes behind them. Coulthard made an irate gesture on Schumacher at the same corner on lap 35.

Coulthard making his move on Schumacher for the lead of the race

Coulthard making his move on Schumacher for the lead of the race

With Barrichello getting closer and closer to the three up front, Coulthard made his move on Schumacher on lap 36. He made it stick and pulled away from Schumacher. Häkkinen immediately tried to attack Schumacher but he defended from him. Schumacher was under pressure from Häkkinen who was in turn under pressure from Barrichello but none of them tried an overtaking maneuver as Coulthard’s lead continued to increase in the meantime.

There were no changes at the front after the second stops but Barrichello had a slow one and dropped 10 seconds because of a wheel nut problem and was left out of the battle for second place. Behind them, Trulli got past Frentzen in the stops and Ralf was right with Villeneuve and was having a quicker car. The order after the second round of pit stops was: Coulthard, Schumacher, Häkkinen, Barrichello, Villeneuve, Ralf Schumacher, Trulli, Frentzen, Button and Giancarlo Fisichella.

Schumacher had taken on a new set of tyres and was under no pressure from Häkkinen in third, keeping the gap from 1.2-1.5 seconds although he lost a tenth or two to Coulthard who was 10 seconds ahead. Barrichello was dropping away from Häkkinen who was over 13 seconds behind. Behind them Villeneuve resisted Ralf’s attacks on Laps 56 and 57.

Coulthard wins the 2000 French Grand Prix ahead of his team mate Hakkinen in second place and Barrichello in third place.

Coulthard wins the 2000 French Grand Prix ahead of his team mate Hakkinen in second place and Barrichello in third place.

There was one more twist as Schumacher went out with an engine failure on lap 59, promoting everyone behind him. Button attacked Frentzen on lap 65 but Frentzen defended and Button then dropped away like Ralf who was dropping away from Villeneuve. Coulthard won the race ahead of Häkkinen, Barrichello, Villeneuve, Ralf Schumacher and Trulli.

The 2000 French Grand Prix will also be remembered as the race where Coulthard out of sheer frustration and in a faster car made a hand gesture to Schumacher that at the time shocked many pundits and fans but also delighted quite a few of them too.

This race saw McLaren take their third 1-2 finish of the season and it was a race result that many did not expect especially after their performances in the Practice session (mainly Hakkinen who appeared to struggle with his car). This race also marked Coulthard’s third win of the season too.

Coulthard showed throughout the race with some determination and great driving to gain the lead of the race when the opportunity arose and he was rewarded with a cracking race win for his hard work. And what a Grand Prix victory to have won and it’s a Grand Prix that many fans still enjoy watching and reliving today.

Let us not forget that the 2000 French Grand Prix also marked the debut of James Allen as a commentator for ITV. Allen stood in for the legendary Murray Walker who had a hip injury and sadly could not cover the event. As a result of this, Allen went on to take the role of Walker full time starting from the 2001 Japanese Grand Prix until the end of the 2009 season.

And as the 2000 World Championship leaded towards the next round in Austria at the A1 Ring in Spielberg, Schumacher was still leading the Driver’s Championship by 56 points ahead of Coulthard twelve points behind with 44 points and Hakkinen in third with 38 points.

 

Classic #jonesonF1: 2001 Brazilian Grand Prix

The most iconic moment of the 2001 Brazilian Grand Prix: David Coulthard passing Michael Schumacher for the lead on Lap ___.

The most iconic moment of the 2001 Brazilian Grand Prix: David Coulthard passing Michael Schumacher for the lead on Lap 49.

The Brazilian Grand Prix: Round 3 of 19 in the 2001 Formula One World Championship. Heading into the race, Ferrari driver Michael Schumacher lead the Drivers’ Championship with 20 points, ahead of his team-mate Rubens Barrichello on 10 points, McLaren driver David Coulthard also on 10 points with Heinz-Harald Frentzen in fourth with 5 points while Nick Heidfeld was fifth on 3 points.

In Qualifying, the star of the show was Michael Schumacher. Schumacher was never threatened during the session. He grabbed provisional pole in the 24th minute with a stunning lap time and kept it right until the end. The lap time from Schumacher was enough to grab Pole Position for the race on Sunday ahead of his brother Ralf Schumacher. Mika Hakkinen was 3rd ahead of fourth place qualifier Juan Pablo Montoya and David Coulthard who qualified in fifth place.

Rubens Barrichello ended up in a disappointing sixth place. The Jordan pair of Jarno Trulli and Heinz-Harald Frentzen were 7th and 8th followed by the Sauber pair of Nick Heidfeld and Kimi Raikkonen. Olivier Panis and Jacques Villeneuve from BAR were 11th and 12th while Eddie Irvine and Luciano Burti were 13th and 14th!

Hakkinen and Schumacher were the only drivers who came close to challenging Schumacher within Qualifying but couldn’t do it. In the end, Michael set a time that was 0.3 seconds faster than anyone else. Montoya failed to capitalise on the fast time he set in practice. He went into his first flying lap in qualifying looking good but lost it, spun and crashed the car into a tyre barrier. Given that he qualified 4th in the spare, he must be reasonably satisfied.

Coulthard proved that the time he put in yesterday was with less fuel as he failed to make an impression finishing 5th while the biggest disappointment at least from a Brazilian point of view was Barrichello qualifying in 6th place. The top 6 though are very close with only 0.1 second separating 2nd and 6th.

A gap of over 0.4 seconds to 7th place driver Trulli who qualified just 0.003 seconds ahead of his team-mate. The Jordan Honda team once again showing that they are better in qualifying that the BAR Honda team who only managed a disappointing 11th and 12th over 1.2 seconds off the pace and even behind the 2 Saubers.

Barrichello’s car stopped on the track on its way to form on the grid. He had to get back into the spare and just managed to leave the pits seconds before it closed. Then at the start, Hakkinen fails to start the race but too late for aborting the start and very lucky no one crashed into the back of him.

Meanwhile, Michael Schumacher gets a good start while his brother doesn’t. Montoya moves from 4th to second and Coulthard from 5th to 3rd. Ralf drops to 5th. The safety car goes out on the track because of Hakkinen’s car. The safety car pits a lap later once Hakkinen’s car has been cleared by the track marshals.

Through the ‘Senna S’ section of the circuit Montoya manages to squeeze past Schumacher on the pit straight with an absolutely fantastic and brave overtaking manoeuvre that brought out goose pimples all over my skin. Both the drivers bang wheels on the exit of Turn 1 but Montoya keeps the lead ahead of Schumacher. [You can watch the move by clicking the YouTube link below].  

On track, there was more drama for Barrichello. He hits the back of Ralf Schumacher and retires his Ferrari from his home race. Schumacher manages to crawl back to the pits and the mechanics repair his car and rejoins 4 laps later. This is the second incident involving Barrichello and Schumacher this season. It is also the second where a driver as also hit the back of Schumacher.

So with just 2 laps gone, 3 top drivers are out of contention while Montoya is making his mark leading the race ahead of Schumacher and Coulthard with both Jordan’s behind him. Villeneuve made up a few places at the start and benefiting from other retirements he is in 6th place but is forced to pit due to a puncture as he rejoined without delay in the pits.

The situation remains the same for the top 3 until lap 25 when Schumacher makes his first pit stop while Montoya and Coulthard stay out on the track. The real surprise is Montoya being on a heavier fuel load and was still able to pass and stay ahead of Schumacher.

Everything appeared going well for Montoya who was on a single stop until lap 38 when Jos Verstappen moves over to let Montoya lap him but once he moves back behind him he crashes into Montoya forcing both to retire. This was a disappointing end to a great performance and drive from Montoya as he had an excellent chance to win a Grand Prix from his third attempt. In any case, he no doubt made his mark in Formula 1 and the grid will be taking an interest into how his career will develop.

Coulthard takes the lead while Schumacher is in 2nd place as it starts to rain heavily. Most teams pit for intermediates however Coulthard and McLaren chose to stay out for an additional lap which seemingly was a costly mistake as he rejoins the race in 2nd place behind Schumacher.

With the rain falling heavily now and Schumacher leading by more than 10 seconds, the race appeared to be in the bag for Michael as memories of Malaysia struck. It was not to be as Michael spun after making a mistake but managed to keep going. He kept the lead but lost the gap and Coulthard was just 2 seconds behind him.

In an absolutely astonishing move, Coulthard made a move on Schumacher using the backmarker of Minardi driver Tarso Marques and the slipstream from his car (just like his team-mate Hakkinen did with former BAR driver Ricardo Zonta at the Belgium Grand Prix the previous year) and passed him in the wet and taking the lead on Lap 49 [You can watch the move from Coulthard by clicking on the YouTube link below]. 

Schumacher continues to struggle as he went off into the gravel but kept going. He lost more time to Coulthard and it started to look like Coulthard is set for the win.
Behind the 2 leaders, Frentzen was a distant third while Trulli who went on wet tyres started to struggle as the track started to dry and lost 4th place to Heidfeld. Panis managed to get into the points passing Alesi and eventually Trulli. Giancarlo Fisichella manages to also pass Alesi and moves into 7th place.

Podium celebrations at the end of the 2001 Brazilian Grand Prix

Podium celebrations at the end of the 2001 Brazilian Grand Prix

At the front of the field, Coulthard maintains his lead of Schumacher and finish in that order. Hard luck for Frentzen who retires from third on lap 63 giving third place to Heidfeld while Panis finishes in 4th ahead of Trulli and Fisichella bring a smile to the struggling Benetton team by finishing in 6th just ahead of Jacques Villeneuve.

The 2001 Brazilian Grand Prix has to be one of the most exciting races that I have seen and one of Coulthard’s best Grand Prix wins of his career. Coulthard showed throughout the race how great of a driver he really was and why he was a great racing driver. Even though he went through many problems throughout the race, Coulthard never gave up.

With some determination and great driving, Coulthard managed to fight his way back to the lead and he was rewarded with a cracking race win for his hard work. The mistake that allowed him to take the victory away from Schumacher is still remembered by most fans of the sport and showed what skill Coulthard had throughout his career in the sport.

I should also point out that for the first time since 1993 that the winner of the Brazilian Grand Prix was not the World Champion of the sport at the end of the season. But this Grand Prix will be fondly remembered by me and many fans of the sport for the two outstanding overtaking moves from Montoya and Coulthard on Schumacher.

It will also be remembered as the race that stopped Schumacher’s winning streak of six consecutive Grand Prix wins. And as the 2001 World Championship leaded towards the next round in San Marino at the Imola Circuit, Schumacher was still leading the Driver’s Championship by 26 points ahead of Coulthard six points behind and Barrichello sixteen points behind.

Coulthard: Button “needs a big 2014 season”

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Yesterday in an interview with the British newspaper Metro, David Coulthard believes that Jenson Button will have to perform during the 2014 season if he wants to finish ahead of new team-mate Kevin Magnussen. Coulthard who is a former McLaren driver himself has stated he believes that rookie driver Magnussen looks like the “real deal”.

In his interview with Metro, Coulthard said the following when asked how the British drivers on the grid would perform this year:-

‘The UK is well represented at the present with Lewis [Hamilton] and Jenson. They are two different personalities and Lewis looks to have the brightest future at the moment. Jenson is more experienced but may need a big year just to stay ahead of the challenge from exciting young Danish driver Kevin Magnussen at McLaren. He looks the real deal.’

Coulthard does have a valid point to an extent. I do believe that from I have seen from Magnussen so far from the pre-season test has been positive. I have been impressed by the form and performances that he has put in and he may surprise a few people with his form this year.

In terms of his views on Button and Hamilton, as much as it pains to me to write this, Coulthard may have a point. Hamilton might have a bright future in the sport, but I do believe that Button could also still stay in the sport until 2016 if McLaren would like him to stay driving with the team.

Let us not forget that Button is the most experienced driver on the grid and has been racing in Formula One since his debut with Williams in 2000. Button has achieved what many drivers have not been able to and has won a World Championship in 2009 with the Brawn GP and achieved 15 Grand Prix wins so far in his career.

When Button is given the right resources and everything comes together in a Grand Prix weekend, for me, he is one of the best drivers out there. Button quite simply is a born racing driver. His driving style and pace is consistent, reliable and competitive just like drivers such as Hamilton and Vettel.

He has proved time and time again when he has the car underneath him that he can deliver.  There is no question at this current stage of the season; the signs are looking positive for McLaren so far. They have so far consistently challenged in the top five in the timesheets during the pre-season tests and have managed to gain valuable track mileage when others teams such as Red Bull and Toro Rosso are struggling.

In my view, I personally feel that 2014 will be an important year for Button without question. McLaren have with the partnership of Button and Magnussen currently I believe have the perfect mix and balance; experience and new racing talent. Button will no doubt impart his experience gained in his career towards Magnussen and Magnussen will also provide the same to Button.

I will admit that the future of Button may not be as secure as it would have been a few seasons ago. With the McLaren team announcing earlier this year that they have signed Stefan Van Doorne as a new addition to the McLaren Young Driver Programme will have been noticed by Button.

I believe 2014 will be an important year for Button. Despite all the personal hardship that Button and his family are going through at this difficult time, I believe that this will only spur him on to make sure that his 2014 season has the best start he can possibly can.

In my view if McLaren build on the promising foundations that they have managed to achieve so far, there is no question that not only will Magnussen will perform but also Button too. McLaren have two talented drivers within their team who will not only work together for the team but will also be competitive and try to out-perform each other as well.

Do I think Button will perform in 2014? I believe that he can to the best of his ability. Will he manage to keep his McLaren seat for 2015? I really, really hope so as Button in my eyes fully deserves to keep his seat for 2015.