Great start for Hakkinen

Mika Hakkinen saw victory slip through his fingers after one of the best starts of his career handed him the lead at the very start of the European Grand Prix

Great start for Hakkinen

Hakkinen's leapt from third to the head of the field as he out-dragged pole-holder David Coulthard and Michael Schumacher when the lights went out.

Then he led until Schumacher stole to the front in the run up to the Veedol chicane on lap 11 and although the lead changed hands in the pit stops on lap 45 Schumacher emerged with a lead he never relinquished.

"That was one of the best starts of my career. I hit the clutch perfectly. That gives you a great possibility and immediately improves your position. I was happy to do that after the disappointment of qualifying.

"It was close to the perfect start and a good feeling.

"I certainly been very close to Michael at the end without all the back markers. Overtaking him? I don't know.

"There are improvements that we could do with back markers and blue flags, and today that situation didn't help me.

"It started spitting and Michael was quicker in the mid sector. As we headed for the back straight I was very cautious not to go off or lose the back end and he was able to catch and overtake me.

"If I had been flat out he would not have had a chance to overtake me there, but I backed off."

Hakkinen is now 18 points behind Schumacher with six of the 17 rounds gone.

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