Schumacher clinches championship at Hungarian GP
There was no doubt that Michael Schumacher was going to make it his fourth World Driver Championship (WDC) title at the Hongaroring. He had a brilliant drive throughout the race leading from start to finish apart from pitstops. Not only did he clinch the WDC, but also teammate Rubens Barrichello ensured himself a second finish to tie-up the World Constructor's Championship (WCC) for Ferrari.
At the start it was Michael that got away clean with Barrichello sliding past David Coulthard. Apart from the swap between Coulthard and Barrichello, the top six stayed exactly as they qualified. Barrichello drove a tactical race, allowing Michael to pull away while a frustrated David Coulthard was tucked up behind him. Coulthard's chance to overtake Barrichello would come during his first of two pitstops that put him out in front of Barrichello. Coulthard appeared to pull away quickly, but his eagerness resulted in the McLaren's tyres wearing down too quickly. Barrichello soon covered the distance Coulthard put between them while Michael increased his lead.
The kitty litter was quite a popular venue with some drivers. Eddie Irvine's race was over even before it began. The Ulsterman ran out of space at turn two, which left him with no other option, but to spin off into the gravel. Juan Pablo Montoya ran wide off onto the grass before rejoining the track, while minutes before Lucianon Burti ran off and found himself in the kitty litter. Enrique Bernoldi snuck out of the race unnoticed while Jenson Button over committed and spun off into the gravel. It wasn't a good afternoon for Button at all, because he also had a ten second stop/go penalty for jumping the start. Heinz-Herald Frentzen joined the ranks of retirees while Jean Alesi made it to the end. Another driver who had a nightmarish afternoon was Jarno Trulli. Trulli looked set to get a world championship point, but that soon got dashed when the fuel nozzle gave problems during his pitstop. A few laps later Trulli's Jordan ran out of power and he was forced to retire. Fernando Alonso found himself down in 15th position until he spun out and put an end to what would have been a good afternoon for him.
The greatest upset of the day was undoubtedly the pitstop of Coulthard. It appeared that Coulthard had a slim chance of salvaging the championship, but that was not to be. All appeared to go well, but then disaster struck as the fuel man struggled to disengage the fuel hose while precious seconds ticked away. Barrichello rounded the final corner as Coulthard made his way down the pitlane. Barrichello emerged the victor and slowly pulled away from what must have been a dejected Coulthard.
Elsewhere on track Ralf Schumacher and Mika Hakkinen had an exciting scrap for fourth position. Ralf managed to hold on while Hakkinen attacked best he could to overtake the German. Fans were robbed of this battle when Hakkinen pulled into the pitlane to be topped up after it became clear that the team short fueled him.
Three weeks ago it was Montoya who fell pray to a faulty fuel nozzle. This week the rubber snake reared his head again having far reaching consequences for a hopeful DC.
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