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BBC motor racing correspondent Jonathan Legard
"No Ferrari driver has ever started the season so completely"
 real 28k

Jaguar team owner Neil Ressler
"I'm relieved to get both cars through"
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McLaren team principal Ron Dennis
"We had an electric fault"
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Sunday, 9 April, 2000, 16:40 GMT 17:40 UK
Schumacher nets the hat-trick

Schumacher (left) blocked Coulthard at the start
Michael Schumacher has won his third Grand Prix of the year to take a dominant early season position in the race for the drivers' world title.

The German delighted the massed Ferrari fans by winning the San Marino Grand Prix at Imola - the Italian team's home track.


Top six
1. Schumacher
2. Hakkinen
3. Coulthard
4. Barrichello
5. Villeneuve
6. Salo
The former double world title winner now has a 24-point advantage over defending champion Mika Hakkinen, who came in second to win his first points of the season.

The race was a tactical victory for Ferrari over Hakkinen's McLaren team.

The Finn led from the start until lap 44 when he made his final pit stop of two.



Hakkinen: First points of season but a disappointing result
But Schumacher had enough fuel to stay out for four more charging laps before requiring a shorter stop.

He came out two seconds ahead of Hakkinen, and held on to the advantage until the end.

Hakkinen's British team-mate David Coulthard was third ahead of Schumacher's fellow Ferrari driver Rubens Barrichello.

Coulthard's inability to make an impact on the leaders was down to an unfortunate start.



It was one of my worst starts - like Suzuka last year. I will have to find out what happened because I had massive wheel-spin and was lucky nobody went by

Michael Schumacher
Hakkinen got away cleanly from pole position but Schumacher span his wheels and slewed to the left in front of Coulthard.

The German's sluggishness certainly worked to Ferrari's advantage as fourth-placed Barrichello stole third from the Scot around the first chicane.

Hakkinen immediately pulled away with Schumacher chasing, but Barrichello's pace hindered Coulthard's progress.



Hakkinen clear of Schumacher, who is andwiched by Barrichello and Coulthard
After five laps Schumacher was just a second behind the leader but the two men's team-mates were well off the pace and almost 10 seconds adrift.

Retirements in the first 10 laps included Heinz-Harald Frentzen, whose Jordan was jammed in sixth gear, and Jenson Button whose BMW engine appeared to blow.

Although the young Briton locked up and drove off the circuit, oil left by the car still caused Minardi's Marc Gene to spin off.

At the front Hakkinen steadily began to pull out his lead over Schumacher, with the gap widening to over four seconds by lap 23.



I had two situations in the race which cost me a lot of time. After the first stop I hit something on the track and destroyed the floor of the car and lost a lot of aerodynamics

Mika Hakkinen
Meanwhile Barrichello was still frustrating Coulthard's efforts to get back with the leaders, and the pair continued to lose around a second a lap on Hakkinen.

Coulthard pitted at the end of lap 25 and held onto fourth place, with Hakkinen and Schumacher coming in two laps later.

The German spent slightly longer with his stop suggesting he might be taking on more fuel for his second stint.



Barrichello held up Coulthard for three-quarters of the race
Barrichello pitted soon afterwards, and held track position ahead of Coulthard to leave the top four unchanged for the middle portion of the race.

Hakkinen made his second stop at the end of the 44th tour around the circuit, leaving the German's final pit move as the decisive moment of the race.

Before that happened Coulthard followed Barrichello into the pits, and pulled just ahead of him in a thrilling and dangerous moment which decided third place.



I knew I was quicker and caught him up. We both stopped on the same lap and I had to hope my guys got me out quicker which they did

David Coulthard

The Scot pulled away from the Brazilian by almost two seconds a lap after 46 frustratiing trips around Imola for the McLaren driver.

Then followed the crucial moment for the thousands of Ferrari fans at Imola, as Schumacher delivered a searing 48th lap before stopping at the end of it.



Those four laps were crucial. I apologised to the tifosi yesterday and I said I would put it straight

Michael Schumacher
He pulled out of the pits well clear of the Finn in a triumph of strategy for the Italian team.

Because Schumacher had taken on more fuel for the second stint, he enjoyed the advantage of needing four laps less for the final charge to the chequered flag.

The difference between pair was still less than three seconds, but Hakkinen was unable to close the gap.

And Schumacher took the chequered flag to a roar of approval from the grandstands packed with Ferrari's tifosi.

Results

1. Michael Schumacher (Germany) Ferrari 1 hour 31 minutes 39.776 seconds (average speed 200.043 kph)
2. Mika Hakkinen (Finland) McLaren 1.168 seconds behind
3. David Coulthard (Britain) McLaren 51.008
4. Rubens Barrichello (Brazil) Ferrari 89.276
5. Jacques Villeneuve (Canada) BAR 1 lap
6. Mika Salo (Finland) Sauber 1 lap
7. Eddie Irvine (Britain) Jaguar 1 lap
8. Pedro Diniz (Brazil) Sauber 1 lap
9. Alexander Wurz (Austria) Benetton 1 lap
10. Johnny Herbert (Britain) Jaguar 1 lap
11. Giancarlo Fisichella (Italy) Benetton 1 lap
12. Ricardo Zonta (Brazil) BAR 1 lap
13. Gaston Mazzacane (Argentina) Minardi 2 laps
14. Jos Verstappen (Netherlands) Arrows 3 laps

Did not finish:

15. Jarno Trulli (Italy) Jordan 58 laps completed 16. Pedro de la Rosa (Spain) Arrows 49 laps
17. Ralf Schumacher (Germany) Williams 45 laps
18. Jean Alesi (France) Prost 25 laps
19. Nick Heidfeld (German) Prost 22 laps
20. Jenson Button (Britain) Williams 5 laps
21. Heinz-Harald Frentzen (Germany) Jordan 5 laps
22. Marc Gene (Spain) Minardi 4 laps

Fastest lap: Hakkinen, lap 60, 1:26.523

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See also:

09 Mar 00 | Motorsport
San Marino GP circuit guide
10 Mar 00 | Motorsport
F1 2000: Driver by driver
10 Mar 00 | Motorsport
F1 2000: Circuit by circuit
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Hakkinen steals Imola pole
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Schumacher sets pace at Imola
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F1 2000 championship tables
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Mosley reveals F1 team cheated
04 Apr 00 | Motorsport
Coulthard loses F1 appeal
08 Apr 00 | Motorsport
Ferrari fans demand Imola glory
05 Apr 00 | Motorsport
I'll be back - Coulthard
04 Apr 00 | Motorsport
McLaren's battle of the millimetres
Links to other Motorsport stories are at the foot of the page.