Mika Hakkinen Wins the Hungarian GP (updated)

Another perfect start from the second row of the grid and a bold move going into the first corner won the Hungarian Grand Prix for Mika Hakkinen in the first few yards of the 77 lap race. All he had to do after that was to keep cool in the sweltering heat, avoid any mistakes and go the distance, knowing full well that Michael Schumacher would never be able to pass him on this impossibly sinuous slippery track with only one narrow racing line to overtake. In fact, the Ferrari couldn't even keep up and after pulling out a comfortable 20-second cushion before the first of two scheduled pit stops; Hakkinen maintained that lead all the way to the flag.

Mika Hakkinen Wins the Hungarian GP <font face=Verdana size=1><i>(updated)</i></font>

Another perfect start from the second row of the grid and a bold move going into the first corner won the Hungarian Grand Prix for Mika Hakkinen in the first few yards of the 77 lap race. All he had to do after that was to keep cool in the sweltering heat, avoid any mistakes and go the distance, knowing full well that Michael Schumacher would never be able to pass him on this impossibly sinuous slippery track with only one narrow racing line to overtake. In fact, the Ferrari couldn't even keep up and after pulling out a comfortable 20-second cushion before the first of two scheduled pit stops; Hakkinen maintained that lead all the way to the flag.

"I think the McLaren made a big step forward between practice e and the race and we didn't. We were just not fast enough to win this race," admitted Schumacher, who had to make do with second place. "I thought we were going to do it, but we didn't," added the disappointed German, but still happy to have scored six points after his recent run of bad luck.

All eyes had been on pole winner Schumacher at the start of the race, his Ferrari getting off the line well, but for the second race in a row, Mika Hakkinen made an incredible start from behind the Ferrari and shot down the inside as the pair headed for the first corner.

Schumacher had no choice but to give way, the McLaren getting into the first corner in the lead which he then had no trouble opening up to a couple of seconds in the first few laps.

Coulthard, who made a slow start from the front row of the grid only just managed to hold third place from Ralf Schumacher's Williams-BMW, while Barrichello and Frentzen led the rest of the pack around the first lap.

Jacques Villeneuve ran into the back of Pedro de la Rosa's Arrows on the first lap, both cars stopping in the pits. Villeneuve took on a new nose section and de la Rosa replaced a punctured rear tyre, both cars rejoining the race almost a lap down to finish the race, but well out of contention for the points.

Giancarlo Fisichella's hopes of a good race turned sour early on. Two separate off-road excursions led to an unscheduled pit stop for tyres which saw him running a lap down along with Villeneuve and de la Rosa before quarter distance, the Italian later retiring for good with handling problems. Jean Alesi's race was short lived. After two stops to investigate a handling problem he finally retired for good after just 10 laps with a rear suspension problem. He was joined by teammate Heidfeld 12 laps later when Heidfeld made a planned stop, but then could not get out of the pits again due to an electrical problem.

The first round of routine pit stops for the leaders began on lap 27 when Schumacher made a stop for fuel and tyres, the rest of the top 10 following him in the next couple of laps. The only change to the order was for Rubens Barrichello. A lightning 6.7 secs stop for the Brazilian saw him come back onto the track just ahead of Ralf Schumacher who had a long 10-second stop the previous lap.

The unstoppable Hakkinen continued to edge away into the lead after his pit stop, the Finn enjoying a comfortable 17 seconds cushion at half distance while Schumacher was more concerned with the second McLaren of Coulthard who had closed the gap to just over a second. "I knew if I kept concentrated and didn't make a mistake I could keep him behind even without racing flat out," explained Michael.

Barrichello had no trouble consolidating his fourth place over Ralf Schumacher, but was outpaced a distant 20 seconds behind Coulthard's McLaren, while Frentzen was holding on to his sixth place ahead of Jenson button in the second Williams.

The second round of pit stops saw Hakkinen retain his lead with no problem, but there was tension as Michael stopped followed a lap later by Coulthard who made a slightly quicker stop. As he left the pit lane Schumacher was speeding down the pit straight, but he swept past to retain his second place, a frustrated Coulthard condemned to follow the Ferrari all the way home to the finish line, unable to attempt a pass on this slippery, twisting circuit despite never being more than half a second behind. "It was just like Monaco. All I could do was hope that he made a mistake or got caught out by traffic," said David later.

A further 28 seconds back, Rubens Barrichello kept his fourth place over Ralf Schumacher at the second pit stops, Heinz Harald Frentzen retaining sixth place in what had become a processional event after the thrills of the German GP two weeks earlier.

That was the way it stayed to the flag, Frentzen the last driver to remain unlapped by the winning McLaren, Jenson Button dropping a lap down to a distant seventh overall when he was slowed by a broken exhaust pipe on his Williams-BMW. The Englishman finally lost out in the last two laps of the race to Jarno Trulli who took seventh from his 12th place on the grid, the Italian running a one stop strategy which paid off for him.

Hakkinen's third win of the season now puts him into the lead of the World Championship standings by just two points from Michael Schumacher who was an eventual eight seconds behind at the flag as Hakkinen cruised home the last couple of laps. McLaren also move into the lead of the Constructors Championship by just one point.

PROVISIONAL RACE RESULTS The Hungarian Grand Prix Hungaroring, Hungary; 77 laps; 306.075Kms; Weather: Sunny, hot. Classified: Pos Driver Team 1. Hakkinen McLaren Mercedes 1h45:33.869 2. M.Schumacher Ferrari + 7.900 3. Coulthard McLaren Mercedes + 8.400 4. Barrichello Ferrari + 44.100 5. R.Schumacher Williams BMW + 50.400 6. Frentzen Jordan Mugen-Honda + 1:18.000 7. Trulli Jordan Mugen-Honda + 1 Lap 8. Irvine Jaguar Cosworth + 1 Lap 9. Button Williams BMW + 1 Lap 10. Salo Sauber Petronas + 1 Lap 11. Wurz Benetton Playlife + 1 Lap 12. Villeneuve BAR Honda + 2 Laps 13. Verstappen Arrows Supertec + 2 Laps 14. Zonta BAR Honda + 2 Laps 15. Gene Minardi Fondmetal + 3 Laps 16. de la Rosa Arrows Supertec + 4 Laps Fastest Lap: M.Hakkinen, 1:20.028 Not Classified/Retirements: Driver Team On Lap Reason Mazzacane Minardi Fondmetal 68 engine Herbert Jaguar Cosworth 67 handling Diniz Sauber Petronas 62 engine Fisichella Benetton Playlife 31 handling Heidfeld Prost Peugeot 22 electrics Alesi Prost Peugeot 11 suspension World Championship Standing, Round 12: Drivers: Constructors: 1. Hakkinen 64 1. McLaren 112 2. M.Schumacher 62 2. Ferrari 111 3. Coulthard 58 3. Williams-BMW 24 4. Barrichello 49 4. Benetton-Playlife 18 5. Fisichella 18 5. BAR-Honda 12 6. R.Schumacher 16 = Jordan-Mugen Honda 12 7. Villeneuve 11 7. Sauber 6 8. Button 8 8. Arrows 4 9. Trulli 6 9. Jaguar 3 = Salo 6 = Frentzen 6 12. Irvine 3 13. Verstappen 2 = de la Rosa 2 15. Zonta 1 All timing unofficial

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