French GP 1999
JUNE 28, 1999
French GP, 1999
After his crash at the Canadian Grand Prix Heinz-Harald Frentzen was still limping when the F1 circus arrived at Magny-Cours. His victory in the French GP was therefore a big surprise, but was conjured up by the Jordan team thanks to poor weather and clever strategy.
The entire French Grand Prix weekend was disrupted by rain and the grid was most unusual with Rubens Barrichello on pole for Stewart and local hero Jean Alesi second in his Sauber. To add to the interest for the locals Olivier Panis qualified third in his Prost-Peugeot. David Coulthard was fourth in his McLaren and Michael Schumacher was fifth in his Ferrari. Mika Hakkinen was a disastrous 14th and Eddie Irvine in the second Ferrari was 17th.
The race was a topsy-turvy affair with Barrichello leading until Coulthard caught and passed him. David then broke down. Barrichello was back in the lead but then Schumacher passed him. The Ferrari then had an electrical problem which lost him a lot of time and so Barrichello took the lead for a third time only to be overtaken by Hakkinen, who had driven a blinding race from the midfield, spun and then done it all over again.
In the closing laps both Hakkinen and Barrichello needed to pit for extra fuel again and everyone expected the third-placed Frentzen to do the same but he had saved enough fuel behind the Safety Car to get to the flag without a second stop, the team having risked giving him a full tank when he pitted. Others tried to same but spun off in the atrocious conditions.
Hakkinen's second place was a good result but without his earlier spin he might have won the race. Barrichello was content with third. In the closing laps Irvine allowed Michael Schumacher to overtake him for fifth place. It did not seem very significant but when Schumacher crashed at the British GP and broke both legs Irvine became Ferrari team leader.
|1||8||Heinz-Harald Frentzen||Jordan-Mugen Honda||72||1h58m24.343||1m40.690||5|
|10||20||Luca Badoer||Minardi-Ford||71||1 Lap||1m46.784||20|
|11||14||Toranosuke Takagi||Arrows||71||1 Lap||1m48.322||22|
|12||15||Pedro de la Rosa||Arrows||71||1 Lap||1m48.215||21|
|r||7||Damon Hill||Jordan-Mugen Honda||31||Engine||1m45.334||18|