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Monday, August 30, 1999 Published at 14:46 GMT 15:46 UK

Coulthard wins at Spa

David Coulthard celebrates victory as Heinz-Harald Frentzen looks on

BBC Motor Racing Correspondent Jonathan Legard: "Ferrari will press for a comeback"
David Coulthard stormed to victory in the Belgian Grand Prix at Spa with a superb drive to finish ahead of his McLaren team-mate Mika Hakkinen.

The Finn's second place takes him one point above Eddie Irvine to the top of the championship standings.

David Coulthard: "He made a not very good start, I made a better start"
But Coulthard, now just 14 points behind Hakkinen, also has an outside chance of taking the driver's crown.

Despite Hakkinen's dominant position within McLaren this season, there were no team orders going into the race and the team's cars were involved in a determined head-to-head for victory.

First turn fireworks

Championship leader Mika Hakinnen: "I understand he was fourth, that makes the situation interesting"
The race was virtually decided at the start, as Coulthard and Hakkinen seemed to make contact at the first corner.

Hakkinen had pole position but he hesitated, allowing Coulthard to grab the lead heading into the hairpin first turn.

With Coulthard crowding Hakkinen, who was on the inside, the scene was almost a reversal of the start of the Austrian Grand Prix when Coulthard bumped his team-mate off the track.

[ image: Coulthard's McLaren (right) edges ahead of Hakkinen during an explosive start]
Coulthard's McLaren (right) edges ahead of Hakkinen during an explosive start
But this time, with both braking hard, they did not have eliminate each other.

The Scot soon pulled away and finally won by more than 10 seconds.

Heinz-Harald Frentzen took third place in a Jordan, with British drivers claiming two of the remaining top six places.

Irvine finished fourth in his Ferrari to keep his world title hopes alive.

And last year's winner Damon Hill ended the race in sixth place.

Favourite circuit

Coulthard said: "This has always been my favourite track and I'm delighted to win here.

"Obviously the start was important. When the red lights went out, Mika moved and I then made the better start.

[ image: Eddie Irvine settles for fourth place]
Eddie Irvine settles for fourth place
"He came over to defend and I realised it was going to be close. There was a little bit of contact, we did touch, but fortunately there was no damage.

"But I'm not thinking about the title. I'm only thinking about the next race (the Italian Grand Prix in Italy in two weeks' time)."

Hakkinen looked disgruntled with the start, however, as he said: "It was an experience again. I'm not very pleased and I don't wish to comment any further.

"I admit I did have a clutch problem. But I still think I made a reasonable start and you don't expect somebody to overtake you there."

Spa prospects stubbed out

Earlier Formula One supremo Bernie Ecclestone announced he had decided to take the Belgian Grand Prix off next year's calendar.

His declaration follows the move by Belgian authorities to ban tobacco advertising during the race.

Serge Kubla, the Minister of the Economy of Belgium's French-speaking region, confirmed the news after a two-hour meeting with Ecclestone.

Most Formula One teams are heavily backed by numerous sponsors from the tobacco industry.

Belgian Grand Prix result:
1. D Coulthard (GB) McLaren 1hr 25min 43.057sec (average 214.595kph)
2. M Hakkinen (Fin) McLaren at 10.4sec
3. H-H Frentzen (Ger) Jordan 33.4
4. E Irvine (GB) Ferrari 44.9
5. R Schumacher (Ger) Williams 48.0
6. D Hill (GB) Jordan 54.9
7. M Salo (Fin) Ferrari 56.2
8. A Zanardi (Ita) Williams 1:07.0
9. J Alesi (Fra) Sauber 1:13.8
10. R Barrichello (Bra) Stewart 1:20.7
11. G Fisichella (Ita) Benetton 1:32.1
12. J Trulli (Ita) Prost 1:36.1
13. O Panis (Fra) Prost 1:41.5
14. A Wurz (Aut) Benetton 1:57.7
15. J Villeneuve (Can) BAR one lap
16. M Gene (Spa) Minardi one lap

Drivers championship standings
1. M Hakkinen (Fin) McLaren 60 pts
2. E Irvine (GB) Ferrari 59
3. D Coulthard (GB) McLaren 46
4. H-H Frentzen (Ger) Jordan 40
5. M Schumacher (Ger) Ferrari 32
6. R Schumacher (Ger) Williams 24
7. G Fisichella (Ita) Benetton 13
8. R Barrichello (Brz) Stewart 12
9. D Hill (GB) Jordan 7
10. M Salo (Fin) Ferrari 6
11. P Diniz (Brz) Sauber 3
11. A Wurz (Aut) Benetton 3
13. J Herbert (GB) Stewart 2
13. O Panis (Fr) Prost 2
15. P de la Rosa (Sp) Arrows 1
15. J Alesi (Fr) Sauber 1
15. J Trulli (It) Prost 1

Constructors standings:
1. McLaren 106 points
2. Ferrari 97
3. Jordan 47
4. Williams 24
5. Benetton 16
6. Stewart 14
7. Sauber 4
8. Prost 3
9. Arrows 1

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