Three times lucky for winner Hakkinen

Mika Hakkinen completed a hat-trick of victories at Barcelona as he took

Three times lucky for winner Hakkinen

his first victory of the season in the Spanish Grand Prix.
At the same time the Finn moved to second in the World Championship - two points ahead of David Coulthard, second in Barcelona.

McLaren leapt back into the title race with their second 1-2 on the trot and Hakkinen now trails Schumacher by 14 points - cutting a massive eight-point chunk out of the German's lead.

But it was almost over before it began when he was nudged from behind at the first bend.

"I was hit at the rear at the first chicane and thought the race was over for me. It was a hard hit, but luckily the car was okay," said Hakkinen.

"I said last year this race was the turning point. I said we had reliability and we understood the car much more and it was true."

"This weekend we learned a lot about the car and I feel much more confident for the rest of the season. Reliability was excellent in the race.

"I don't know if I drive better here than elsewhere, but for some reason I just seem to win here more than other places.

"I can't tell you just how good I feel to win this race. I can't put this feeling into words. I am just over the moon.

"It was a great victory today. The whole team did a brilliant job.

"We still have a massive amount to do to make the team better and get our performances to 100 per cent. It's not there yet."

The victory was Hakkinen's first since he wrapped up his second world title
in Japan six months ago.

"There's a great sense of relief at having won. It feels like I haven't won for a really long time," said the Finn.

"I've come close quite a few times so to finally run a race without any problems and receive victory is nice."

But when asked if the World Championship was still wide open, he said:"There's a long way to go before the end of the season. Anything can happen - today was a good example.

"I'm looking forward to the next test and the next race.

"The boys in my team did a fantastic job in the pits. It was just amazing. I came in with Michael and they were so quick I got out in the lead."

Hakkinen gambled on soft tyres while Schumacher had gone for the harder
compound.

"Experience from our testing suggested he would have trouble after 15 or so
laps with the hard tyres.

"And he started struggling and was all over the place in the lower speed corners. That gave me the chance to make up ground.

"Why didn't I overtake him? You just can't with these cars so I waited for the pit stops."

Hakkinen now has 22 points, Coulthard 20 and Schumacher 36.

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