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banner Sunday, 29 April, 2001, 14:31 GMT 15:31 UK
Hakkinen left to curse his luck
David Coulthard gives his team-mate, Mika Hakkinen, a lift back to the pits
Coulthard gives Hakkinen a lift back to the pits
World champion Michael Schumacher offered his sympathy to Mika Hakkinen at the end of the Spanish Grand Prix.

The McLaren driver cruised to a standstill on the final lap after a clutch problem and Schumacher came through to take the win.

"It's not the way you like to win a race but it happens," Schumacher said.

"I'm simply sorry - we had both had a very good race and it was entertaining, but that's the way it goes," he added.


Until you get over the line it is not finished. I couldn't believe it but you take it when it comes - it was our lucky day
  Ferrari's Ross Brawn
"He had done everything right but to retire on the last lap with five corners to go is shocking."

The Finn had opened up a 38 second advantage before fate intervened on the final lap.

"I'm super disappointed - goddamn it, you know, Jesus," Hakkinen spluttered. "It could have been a fantastic finish for me - it was going so easy.

"I didn't even have to push. I was just more or less cruising but it just didn't work out this time for me."

Hakkinen had won the previous three races in Spain and looked certain to win again and in the process become the most successful driver in the history of the race.

Like Hakkinen, McLaren chief Ron Dennis was disappointed after his team had outmanouvred Ferrari to work Hakkinen into first place after the second round of pit stops.

"The pain will come tomorrow but when you have been in the sport for so many years you know it's never won until it's won," he said.

Dennis also added that it was not one of McLaren's "greatest days" and criticised David Coulthard for having "brain fade" on the starting grid.

Coulthard had to start from the back of the grid after he stalled his engine before the parade lap.

He in turn suggested that Dennis must have been suffering from "brain fade" to have made such a comment before talking with either the Scot or his mechanics.

Michael Schumacher celebrates victory with Jacques Villeneuve
Old adversaries were re-united on the podium
"From being at the back I thought I had little chance at all but I pushed myself and was glad to get some points," he said after finishing fifth.

"Mika and the team deserved the victory and it could have easily been a race where we finished with a one-two," he added.

Second place was however taken by Juan Pablo Montoya who was delighted to have finished his first race of the season.

"It's really exciting. I had a really good start and just kept pushing all day.

However the Colombian added a note of caution with regard to his Williams: "It was quite tricky to drive and the Ferraris and McLarens are in a different league at the moment."

Jacques Villeneuve took the final podium place - his first top three finish for four years and the first ever for his BAR team.

"We couldn't have gone any quicker today and we were lucky a few teams dropped out.

"But everyone has worked really hard for three years and this will be a big boost for the team," the Canadian said.

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