MONTE CARLO -- A single point was world champion Mika Hakkinen's reward for determination in the face of
adversity at the Monaco Grand Prix on Sunday.
The Finn had started the race with his McLaren in an unusually low fifth position after a tough time in Saturday's qualifying session. That left him with the task of trying to get past four cars
on the notoriously narrow and winding Monaco circuit, where
overtaking is next to impossible.
Then, halfway through the race and still in fifth place, Hakkinen suffered a setback that almost left him out of the
"Let's just say I'm glad it's over," the two-time world champion said while his teammate David Coulthard, who lapped
the Finn, was celebrating his first Monaco win. "It could have been worse in the circumstances. I was
running all right in fifth, quite comfortable with that and just looking for the right moment to overtake.
"Then I went into a corner and the brake didn't work."
He made a pit stop that took him out for 53.2 seconds and rejoined the race well down the field. But he was 12th after 41 laps and showed his mettle by setting the fastest time of the race at that stage.
A gearbox problem then slowed him again on the 74th lap when he had made it back into the points and he had to settle for
sixth behind compatriot and big rival Mika Salo, who steered his Sauber to fifth place.
Coulthard had started from third on the grid and took the
lead after Ferrari's Michael Schumacher limped back to the pits
with his suspension broken after 55 laps. It was McLaren's 11th victory on the streets of Monte Carlo,
reinforcing their dominant record in the streets of the
The result meant that Coulthard overtook Hakkinen in the drivers championship with 34 points to the Finn's 29, still
trailing Schumacher on 46. Ferrari stayed ahead in the constructors' competition, with
Rubens Barichello's second place taking their score to 68 ahead of McLaren on 63.
McLaren chief Ron Dennis said he was reasonably happy with the result however.
"It edges us closer to having a crack at the world championship. It closes the gap on Michael and it closes the gap
on the constructors. And with 10 races to go anything can happen," he said.
Dennis said he was disappointed with the mechanical problems that plagued Hakkinen during the race.
"At least we got a point," Dennis said. "Of course we try to have 100 percent reliability but he certainly didn't with his car. We
were lucky to get him out again at all."
Coulthard captures Monaco GP with Schumacher out