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Sunday, 30 July, 2000, 14:07 GMT 15:07 UK
Irvine spins out of German Grand Prix
Eddie Irvine
Eddie Irvine fails in his first race after illness
Eddie Irvine made a dismal return to Formula One after illness when he spun off at the German Grand Prix.

This was Irvine's first race since he withdrew from the Austrian Grand Prix after complaining of abdominal pains.

The German Grand Prix was eventually won by Rubens Barrichello who claimed his first ever Formula One victory.

The Brazilian overcame the early departure of Ferrari team-mate Michael Schumacher to hold off the dual McLaren challenge of Mika Hakkinen and David Coulthard, who had to settle for second and third place respectively.

Barrichello proved himself a master of the rain, as he came home first in wet conditions on the gruelling circuit.

It was his first win in 123 starts and he reacted in emotional fashion, with floods of tears on the winners' podium.

Schumacher was more delighted than most with the outcome as Barrichello's victory keeps the German at the top of the drivers championship standings.

The race was plagued by the regular appearance of the safety car, as a series of collisions - and the bizarre sight of a supporter straying onto the track - halted proceedings.

A cloud-burst towards the end of the race ensured a thrilling finish, with Barrichello's decision to stick with 'slick' tyres paying off.

He took the lead with 10 laps to go and whereas Hakkinen and Coulthard lost time by changing to wet-weather tyres, Barrichello chose not to - and hung on for victory.

Hakkinen and Coulthard changed to

Early exit

Schumacher exchanges words with Fisichella after they crash out
Schumacher exchanges words with Fisichella after they crash out
Schumacher, who was desperate for a home victory to keep himself in charge of the title chase, was out of the race before the first corner - thanks to an aggressive start from both McLarens.

Hakkinen, in fourth place on the grid, produced a sensational start, charging through the middle to take the lead.

With Coulthard - involved in a war of words all week over Schumacher's driving style - also veering across the track from pole, the double manoeuvre seemed to unsettle the Ferrari driver.

Schumacher tried to counterattack around the outside, but instead he drifted into the line of Giancarlo Fisichella's Bennetton and both cars went spinning off the track.

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