Formula One
 Tuesday, July 25
Hakkinen dominates Austrian GP news services

SPIELBERG, Austria -- Mika Hakkinen revived his hopes for a third Formula One title on Sunday when he won the Austrian Grand Prix and championship leader Michael Schumacher dropped out after a crash.

Michael Schumacher
Michael Schumacher spins out after being bumped by Ricardo Zonta at the start.

The Finnish driver won for the second time this season. He led virtually from start to finish to beat fellow McLaren-Mercedes driver David Coulthard, giving the team its second straight 1-2 finish and fourth of the season.

"I am extremely, extremely happy," said Hakkinen, who had been on a midseason vacation after winning only one previous race this season. "I am happy that the team solved the problems with the car and that I am back in the spirit where I was."

Coulthard won two weeks ago in France, where Hakkinen was second.

The result left the title race wide open again after Schumacher started the season with three straight wins. The German has 56 points, Coulthard 50 and world champion Hakkinen 48.

Hakkinen's result left him far more confident of a third successive title after a slow start to the year.

"We have all the reasons to be confident," Hakkinen said. "I am delighted that after working with the team we were able to get back up to the speed that I have been used to. I am definitely optimistic about the rest of the season, and the fight for the title is not over yet.

"There are seven races to go and there is no point getting stressed about what is going to happen, but from now on it is going to get tougher for each driver."

Rubens Barrichello was third in a Ferrari and former world champion Jacques Villeneuve of Canada in a BAR-Honda was fourth. Fifth place went to Jenson Button in a BMW-Williams and Mika Salo in a Sauber was sixth.

McLaren forged six points clear of Ferrari in the constructors' standings despite Brazilian Rubens Barrichello, who was also hit during the first lap incident, finishing third for the Italian team.

Both McLaren drivers got away cleanly at the start and led into the first corner but Schumacher was tapped from the rear by BAR's late-braking Brazilian driver Ricardo Zonta.

The German spun around and was then hit by Italian Jarno Trulli in a Jordan. They and Italian Giancarlo Fisichella, who was also involved in his Benetton, retired.

The incident brought out the safety car for one lap and, when racing resumed, Hakkinen immediately pulled clear from Coulthard until his pit-stop at the start of lap 38.

"When I was heading for turn two I saw the yellow flags and I was a bit surprised," said Hakkinen. "Next lap I saw a lot of cars in the gravel so I realised what happened."

Hakkinen's stop handed the lead to Coulthard until the Briton's pit visit three laps later. Hakkinen was then instructed by his team not to push the car too much and he finished 12.5 seconds ahead.

"I was quite happy with the outcome of the first lap," declared Coulthard. "I could have turned what was an easy six points into maybe nothing if we were really battling hard on the track. I was quite comfortable today to accept the six points.

"After 10 laps the race was long over because that was when I decided there was no point in risking anything."

Barrichello said he had been lucky to remain in the race after the first corner.

"I went on the gravel and I was lucky to survive then and really I am lucky to finish third. The car was almost undriveable until we came to the pitstop and we made a few adjustments."

It was the third time in the last four races Schumacher failed to finish. Schumacher had hoped the race would be stopped after he crashed out but "the marshalls did a very good job unfortunately in cleaning the circuit."

"It hurts obviously if you feel that the race could be stopped, then you could just jump in the other car and you have a second go. But that's the way it goes."

Schumacher said Zonta had "over-estimated his ability" and he would be seeking a "quiet word" with him.


McLaren stripped of points earned from Hakkinen win

Austrian Grand Prix results

Notebook: Button shines after Williams 'reassurance'