MONTE CARLO -- The Schumacher brothers had a bad day at Sunday's Monaco Grand Prix, with Ralf crashing and
cutting his leg and Ferrari's Michael retiring when victory seemed his for the taking.
Michael's disappointment was the greater after starting the Grand Prix on pole and leading in typically commanding fashion
for the first 55 laps. Then a sudden suspension failure forced the German former
champion in to the pits and out of the 78-lap race.
He was more than 30 seconds ahead at one point and, after making a pit stop on lap 49, was still four seconds ahead of
eventual winner David Coulthard who had yet to pit.
"Part of the suspension broke because something was wrong with the exhaust," said Schumacher, who was chasing his fifth
victory in his last seven races here.
He remained top of the standings wth 46 points, to Coulthard's 34 and Hakkinen's 29.
"The exhaust was too hot and that was why the rest went wrong. It basically cooked the suspension," Schumacher said. "I felt a few laps before that something was wrong but there was nothing I could do about it."
Schumacher took some comfort from the fact that world champion Mika Hakkinen, his McLaren rival, finished only sixth.
"I could have picked up 10 points today but the driver I consider my main rival could also have done so," he said.
Minutes before that, Ralf had slid off and banged his Williams heavily into the barriers at the Ste Devote curve. It
was his fourth failure to finish in Monte Carlo in as many races there. He was taken to hospital to have stitches in an eight
centimetre cut to his left leg but escaped without more serious injury.
"I don't actually know where this injury came from," Schumacher said afterwards. "After crashing into the barrier I jumped out and did not look at the damaged car and therefore did not realise that my leg was hurt."
"I went off the circuit when I came to the Sainte Devote
corner," he said.
"Hakkinen was coming out of the pits and I went on the left
side of the track to overtake him but the line was dirty there
and I didn't manage to brake sufficiently and finished in the
|Michael Schumacher dominated the first 55 laps in Monaco until his usually reliable Ferrari let him down.|| |
Coulthard captures Monaco GP with Schumacher out