Michael Schumacher, Monaco, 2000

Coulthard triumphs as Schumacher’s luck deserts him in Monaco

2000 Monaco Grand Prix flashback

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Two weeks on from Michael Schumacher’s home win at the Nurburgring, the field headed to the Cote D’Azure for the Monaco Grand Prix.

Then as now, this was viewed by some as the blue riband event of the season, while others regarded it an overhyped snoozefest. Either way the visceral thrill of watching the cars hurtle between the barrier at dazzling speeds remained.

Schumacher’s fourth win from the first six races had put his title campaign back on track. The McLaren pairing of Mika Hakkinen and David Coulthard shared a win apiece, Jordan, Benetton and Williams had all featured on the podium, but hadn’t come close to challenging for a victory, handicapped by variable car performance.

Benetton, who had won the race with Schumacher five years earlier, suffered a serious disruption in their preparation for the race. Giancarlo Fisichella was fortunate to emerge with little more than bruising from a monster accident in Valencia during a test.

2000 Monaco Grand Prix qualifying

McLaren led the way in practice, which began as usual on Thursday instead of Friday, with local resident Hakkinen quickest. Coulthard led the way on Saturday morning but Schumacher’s Ferrari remained threateningly close, setting the scene for what promised to be a lively qualifying hour.

Eddie Irvine’s Jaguar was frequently found towards the top of the time sheets until he crashed at the swimming pool on Saturday morning, following in the wheel tracks (and repair bill) of Alexander Wurz who’d done the same earlier in the weekend.

Ferrari, Monaco, 2000
The old Monaco pits remained a cramped place to work
In perfect conditions, Schumacher lopped well over a second off Hakkinen’s 1999 pole position time to lead the field. No one had won a race from pole since the previous year’s Hungarian Grand Prix, but surely that would change in the overtaking-free zone which is Monaco.

Remarkably he shared the front row of the grid not with one of the McLarens or even his team mate, but Jarno Trulli in his day-glo yellow Jordan. Trulli was already beginning to mark himself out as a Monaco specialist, setting a time just two-tenths off the Ferrari.

All this meant bad news for the McLarens with Coulthard in third and Hakkinen only fifth. Both would have a lot to do when the race got underway. The second Jordan of Heinz-Harald Frentzen split Woking’s finest, fuming at being baulked by a very slow Irvine in the tunnel.

Rubens Barrichello lined up five places behind his team mate in sixth. Jean Alesi punched way above Prost’s weight with a superb effort for seventh place – he hadn’t started higher than 15th all year.

Fisichella’s Benetton, Schumacher’s Williams and Irvine’s Jaguar completed the top 10. On his Monaco debut, Jenson Button put his Williams 14th, travelling only slightly quicker than he had on his way to the circuit, when he copped a 4,000 Franc fine after being clocked at 227kph (141mph) in his BMW 330 turbo.

Everyone made the 107% cut off time (never guaranteed at Monaco) but both Minardis crashed during the session marooning them on the back of the grid.

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1Michael SchumacherFerrari1’19.475
2Jarno TrulliJordan1’19.746
3David CoulthardMcLaren1’19.888
4Heinz-Harald FrentzenJordan1’19.961
5Mika HakkinenMcLaren1’20.241
6Rubens BarrichelloFerrari1’20.416
7Jean AlesiProst1’20.494
8Giancarlo FisichellaBenetton1’20.703
9Ralf SchumacherWilliams1’20.742
10Eddie IrvineJaguar1’20.743
11Johnny HerbertJaguar1’20.792
12Alexander WurzBenetton1’20.871
13Mika SaloSauber1’21.561
14Jenson ButtonWilliams1’21.605
15Jos VerstappenArrows1’21.738
16Pedro de la RosaArrows1’21.832
17Jacques VilleneuveBAR1’21.848
18Nick HeidfeldProst1’22.017
19Pedro DinizSauber1’22.136
20Ricardo ZontaBAR1’22.324
21Marc GeneMinardi1’23.721
22Gaston MazzacaneMinardi1’23.794

2000 Monaco Grand Prix

Perfect conditions greeted the drivers on Sunday. Some celebrities may have been present but I doubt you’re any more interested in them than I am, so we’ll move directly to the race.

The initial start was fraught. Pedro Diniz failed to get away on the warm-up lap, forcing him to the back of the pack. But he regained his grid place when an engine problem for Wurz led to an aborted start.

Nonetheless the field shot into the first corner, unaware proceedings were to be halted. Schumacher led into Sainte Devote ahead of Trulli, but halfway around the opening lap the track became blocked. Pedro de la Rosa and Button collided at the hairpin, the perpendicular Arrows caused the traditional pile up and traffic jam, prompting the red flags. Everyone except de la Rosa had a spare car available and took the restart.

Take three went more smoothly – Schumacher led away the top five in grid formation (Trulli, Coulthard, Frentzen and Hakkinen). Ralf Schumacher somehow shimmied his Williams up from ninth to sixth, as Barrichello slipped down the order.

The opening stages were fairly settled as Schumacher built a steady lead over Trulli, Hakkinen started to press Frentzen with little success. Lap 11 saw the first passing move as Wurz moved clear of Mazzacane. Wurz’s joy proved short-lived as he hit the barriers at Ste Devote on lap 19 and was out. Three laps later both Minardis were gone, Gene with mechanical problems, and Mazzacane redesigning his M02 against a barrier.

While Schumacher continued to edge clear in his Ferrari, both Jordans were preoccupied by the McLarens in their mirrors. Trulli was now busy fending off Coulthard, whilst team-mate Frentzen doing the same with Hakkinen.

Ferrari boss Jean Todt saw victory slip away from the team
The pace began to take its toll on the hardware. A succession of problems hit drivers the length of the field.

A brake pedal blockage (caused by a data transmitter) forced Hakkinen in for an unscheduled pit stop on lap 36, putting him down to ninth place with a lot of traffic to clear. Trulli’s fine weekend came to a premature end when the usual Jordan gearbox problems forced him out.

Then Ralf Schumacher crashed at Sainte Devote – an incident which looked innocuous enough, but left him with a deep cut in one leg, forcing a trip to hospital for stitches.

The scheduled pit stops did little to alter the order, though with Trulli gone Schumacher now had Coulthard edging into his lead. Frentzen was next along from Barrichello and Fisichella.

But Schumacher’s apparently serene run to victory was dramatically halted with 22 laps. A broken exhaust directed hot air onto his rear suspension which failed, forcing him into his first retirement of the year. This elevated Coulthard into a comfortable lead.

It also elevated Frentzen to second place, but a day with so much promise for Jordan turned completely sour when he clipped the Sainte Devote barrier eight laps from home. That elevated Barrichello into second, and promoted Fisichella up onto the rostrum for his second podium of the season.

Coulthard’s second victory of the season was the first for a British driver in Monaco since Jackie Stewart in 1973. Barrichello and Fisichella completed the podium, while Irvine, Salo and Hakkinen rounding out the points – the reigning world champion suffering the ignominy of being lapped by his team mate.

With Schumacher non-finishing and Hakkinen faltering, Coulthard moved to second in the standings, taking a big bite out of Schumacher’s advantage into the bargain.

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2000 Monaco Grand Prix result

PositionDriverTeamLapsTime / laps / reason
1David CoulthardMcLaren781:49’28.213
2Rubens BarrichelloFerrari78+15.889
3Giancarlo FisichellaBenetton78+18.522
4Eddie IrvineJaguar78+5.924
5Mika SaloSauber78+20.775
6Mika HakkinenMcLaren77+1 lap
7Jacques VilleneuveBAR77+1 lap
8Nick HeidfeldProst77+1 lap
9Johnny HerbertJaguar76+2 laps
10Heinz-Harald FrentzenJordan70Accident
11Jos VerstappenArrows60Accident
12Michael SchumacherFerrari55Suspension
13Ricardo ZontaBAR48Accident
14Ralf SchumacherWilliams37Accident
15Jarno TrulliJordan36Gearbox
16Pedro DinizSauber30Accident
17Jean AlesiProst29Transmission
18Gaston MazzacaneMinardi22Accident
19Marc GeneMinardi21Gearbox
20Alexander WurzBenetton18Accident
21Jenson ButtonWilliams16Engine
22Pedro de la RosaArrows0Did not start

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2000 Monaco Grand Prix championship standings

Author information

Ben Evans
Motorsport commentator Ben is RaceFans' resident bookworm. Look out for his verdict on the latest motor racing publications on Sundays....

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7 comments on “Coulthard triumphs as Schumacher’s luck deserts him in Monaco”

  1. Not mentioned here was the hilarious F1 driver race on lap 1 as the retired drivers ran back to the pits from Loews Hairpin to get in their spare cars – all while still in their helmets. Button then went on to try to recreate the even after he won the 2009 race. So that is twice that we have seen Button run around the Monaco circuit in his overalls and helmet. Weird.

    If my memory serves me correctly this was the first appearance of Schumacher’s famous all red helmet – replacing the blue and white bits seen up until that point. Didn’t bring him much luck in this race.

  2. The Tommy Hilfiger-logo was on the Ferrari team-shirts at the time. I’ve never noticed that before.

    1. You will have seen it on early 90’s Lotuses too…Lawrence Stroll has been around F1 for a very long time.

  3. Couple of things. Strangely enough the race was stopped due to some glitch in the timing system before the pile-up but drivers were not aware of that at the time. A kind of similar thing happened just under a year earlier when stalled cars caused red flag in Silverstone and then Michael Schumacher had his accident.

    McLaren managed to fuel the car during the early pit stop of Häkkinen and then he had fuel to the end, so the net loss was smaller. Of course big enough so he could not do better than sixth in the race.

  4. Jose Lopes da Silva
    5th June 2020, 9:20

    4 Eddie Irvine Jaguar 78 +5.924
    5 Mika Salo Sauber 78 +20.775
    6 Mika Hakkinen McLaren 77 +1 lap

    The same trio, in the same order, that crashed between Lowes and Portier in the final laps on the 1996 race, after Irvine decided to get back on track without further notice. What’s that corner name, really?

    1. Mirabeau Bas. (lower mirabeau)

  5. Sad race this one, remember watching it, due to schumacher’s problem, would’ve likely been a grand chelem otherwise, considering he was the fastest driver on track as long as the car worked properly, and I think the margin on coulthard was such that schumacher stopped before him for the last pit stop and came out still in front.

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