/2000 - Michael Schumacher

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2000

ABOUT THIS SEASON

2000 1st Title With Ferrari

08 October 2000. The day and the moment that the whole season had been geared towards, the previous five years have been aiming for, the Italians had been waiting for, for 21 years.

At 15.40, up goes the lollipop in front of Michael’s Ferrari, he shoots off and aims for the pit lane exit, held back only by the speed limiter. “It’s looking good,” Ross Brawn radios him in the cockpit. “It’s looking good.” Michael can’t really believe his chief technician’s words. He thinks that the last laps have not really been good enough: lapping, light rain and worn tyres have held him back. Then the unexpected revelation: “It’s looking damn good.” 13 laps before the end of the race, Michael takes the lead from his rival for the title, Mika Häkkinen.

Big emotions

Ferrari’s first title is within reach. For the final two laps, Michael drives more slowly, more cautiously. On the dark, newly asphalted surface it is hard to tell whether it is wet or dry. At 16.30 none of this matters any more. Michael crosses the finishing line, world champion for the third time, drumming on his steering wheel. “It was a real explosion of emotion.” Until this moment he does not allow himself to think for one second of victory or the longed-for title, or allow in any excitement. “I wanted to be absolutely sure first, and have the finishing line behind me,” he says.

But afterwards he gives himself over to unrestrained joy. “I can’t describe what happened then. You just can’t put something like that into words. I was so amazingly happy. I didn’t know what to do with all this good fortune. I suddenly felt almost trapped in my car, my Ferrari. It’s as though you are about to burst. It was just such a release! Such a relief!”

On the way back to the pit he simply coasts along, his eyes full of tears and almost beside himself. In parc fermé a second celebration awaits him, from his Ferrari team – as Formula One World Champion: “Those faces! Bright eyes everywhere and everyone cheering. I would have loved to hug and kiss each and every one of them.” On the podium, it’s the same. “By now, I could hug the whole world. When you look down and you’re simply engulfed by laughing, cheering and singing – words can’t adequately describe moments like these.”

One of the best races of all time

But he has to fight for it all the harder. For almost 40 laps, he and Häkkinen achieve almost identical lap times. Michael calls it constant qualifying. “This was certainly one of the best races I have ever driven, if not the best.” But now the pressure is over, and the first Ferrari title since Jody Scheckter in 1979 has finally been brought home. Michael has tried his luck with Scuderia over five years and three times they failed. “Year after year it seemed to go on longer and longer. Of course you get angry when you fail once again, even when the opportunities were there.”

In 2000, everything finally comes together. The accident at Silverstone, the long break, his team-mate Eddie Irvine’s near title-win, all are forgotten. Rubens Barrichello is the new driver in the second F1-2000. At Melbourne, McLaren are on the front row, but victory nevertheless goes to Michael, and so it does again in the following races, in Brazil and San Marino. Three races, thirty points, the foundation stone for the first Ferrari title has been laid.

Head to head with Häkkinen

Then the first set-backs: at Silverstone and Barcelona, he only manages to come 3rd and 5th. In Monaco Michael leads the race decisively until a defect on the rear suspension costs him 10 points. But with campaign victories numbers four and five at the Nürburgring and Montreal, he leads the World Championships at half time with a 24 point lead. But it is still not a walk-over. The second half of the season begins with three incidents in a row: engine trouble in France and two accidents, at the A1 Ring and at Hockenheim, bringing Häkkinen closer once again. After two 2nd places in Hungary and Belgium, Michael even slips back into 2nd place in the World Championships rating. Spa-Francorchamp sees one of the most memorable overtaking manoeuvres in Grand Prix history ever. Michael and Häkkinen both lap Ricardo Zonta at the same time, but in the end it is the Fin who gains the better result.

The Red Era has begun

The turnaround in Michael’s fortunes comes at the Ferrari home-game in Monza. With his 41st victory he shows that he is back in the running for the title. He equals Ayrton Senna’s record of Grand Prix successes, and for the first time loses his composure during the post-race press conference. The uncertainty over the World Championships, an accident with a marshal, and thoughts of the deceased Senna, whom he admired, all get to him. “It was all too much for me”. Victory at Indianapolis follows, with engine trouble for Häkkinen and an eight point lead before the penultimate race of the season in Suzuka. And then it is all over, he has done it. But the reds’ time has only just begun…

Courtesy by motorsport-magazin.com

STATS

2000 Saison Figures

1

DRIVERS CHAMPIONSHIP

9

GRAND PRIX WINS

12

PODIUM POSITIONS

108

POINTS TOTAL

2

FASTEST LAPS

9

POLE POSITION

THE CAR

Ferrari F1-2000

F1-2000

ALL GRAND PRIX

The races of 2000

MELBOURNE

12.03.2000

MELBOURNE

Australia

PLATZIERUNG

Quali. 3

Rennen 1

SAO PAULO

26.03.2000

SAO PAULO

Brazil

PLATZIERUNG

Quali. 3

Rennen 1

IMOLA

09.04.2000

IMOLA

San Marino

PLATZIERUNG

Quali. 2

Rennen 1

SILVERSTONE

23.04.2000

SILVERSTONE

Great Britain

PLATZIERUNG

Quali. 5

Rennen 3

BARCELONA

07.05.2000

BARCELONA

Spain

PLATZIERUNG

Quali. 1

Rennen 5

NÜRBURGRING

21.05.2000

NÜRBURGRING

EUROPEAN GP

PLATZIERUNG

Quali. 2

Rennen 1

MONTE CARLO

04.06.2000

MONTE CARLO

Monaco

PLATZIERUNG

Quali. 1

Rennen DNF

MONTREAL

18.06.2000

MONTREAL

Canada

PLATZIERUNG

Quali. 1

Rennen 1

MAGNY-COURS

02.07.2000

MAGNY-COURS

France

PLATZIERUNG

Quali. 1

Rennen DNF

SPIELBERG

16.07.2000

SPIELBERG

Austria

PLATZIERUNG

Quali. 4

Rennen DNF

HOCKENHEIM

30.07.2000

HOCKENHEIM

GERMANY

PLATZIERUNG

Quali. 2

Rennen DNF

BUDAPEST

13.08.2000

BUDAPEST

Hungary

PLATZIERUNG

Quali. 1

Rennen 2

SPA-FRANCORCHAMPS

27.08.2000

SPA-FRANCORCHAMPS

Belgium

PLATZIERUNG

Quali. 4

Rennen 2

MONZA

10.09.2000

MONZA

Italy

PLATZIERUNG

Quali. 1

Rennen 1

INDIANAPOLIS

24.09.2000

INDIANAPOLIS

USA

PLATZIERUNG

Quali. 1

Rennen 1

SUZUKA

08.10.2000

SUZUKA

Japan

PLATZIERUNG

Quali. 1

Rennen 1

SEPANG

22.10.2000

SEPANG

Malaysia

PLATZIERUNG

Quali. 1

Rennen 1

X