MONTE CARLO -- David Coulthard became the first Briton since Jackie Stewart in 1973 to win the Monaco Grand Prix when he drove his McLaren to victory in a race of dramatic twists on Sunday.
German Michael Schumacher, Ferrari's championship leader, dominated for 55 laps before suffering a rear suspension problem that put him out of the race. That allowed Coulthard, who had moved up to second place after Italian Jarno Trulli's Jordan went out, to take the lead and win comfortably by 15.8 seconds ahead of Brazilian Rubens Barichello in the second Ferrari.
Italian Giancarlo Fisichella was third in a Benetton.
Coulthard's win was the eighth of his career and also hoisted him up to second place in the drivers' world championship.
"Okay, I've benefited today with problems to Michael and Jarno but that's Monaco," said Coulthard. "I've had my fair share of bad luck over the years so I'm
quite happy to take this win today."
The McLaren driver, a Scot like Stewart, now has 34 points and is 12 behind Schumacher, who has 46. He also lapped his teammate and world champion Mika Hakkinen, who had to claw his way back through the field to sixth after an unscheduled pitstop.
"Michael had a big lead, but obviously that took a toll on his car," said Coulthard, who survived a fatal plane crash in southern France little more than a month ago. "You've got to have a reliable car and keep away from the
barriers. Today I was able to do that.
"It means a lot. Silverstone and the British Grand Prix is my home event, there is nothing like the Italian Grand Prix for enthusiasm for Formula One and the Monaco race is the most technically challenging of the lot for a driver."
Barrichello, sixth on the grid, said he was blocked at the start and lost time as a result.
"I was conserving the tires and fuel for much of the time. It was a good race, catching up the whole time and just proving that qualifying just went wrong."
Another Briton Eddie Irvine finished fourth to give Jaguar its first points in Formula One.
"It's really what the team desperately needed," commented Jackie Stewart, the former Jaguar team chairman. "It's a race of attrition here but you have to finish and that is what Eddie did."
Finland's Mika Salo was fifth in a Sauber, fighting off intense pressure in the closing laps from defending world champion and fellow Finn Hakkinen.
The 78-laps race was mostly a processional affair, punctuated by unexpected retirements and plenty of incidents which included one aborted start, a red-flagged first "race" and four drivers starting from the pit lane.
Both the Schumacher brothers then went out, with Ralf crashing before Michael had a suspension problem.
"We had an exhaust failure, one of the pipes broke and basically cooked the suspension," said Michael.
The two-time world champion had led from pole and,
following a pit stop, was 4.2 seconds ahead of Coulthard when
the front right side of his car lifted at the start of lap 56.
The German, winner at Monaco four times in the past six years, nursed his Ferrari around the circuit before pulling into the pits and stepping out of the car after mechanics struggled for a minute to repair the problem.
His retirement extended the jinx on the pole position to 12 races. Hakkinen, in Hungary last August, was the last driver to win a race after starting on pole.
Coulthard admitted he had felt as if he had little chance
when Schumacher pitted and then kept the lead. But Trulli retired after 38 laps and that left Coulthard with a clear run in pursuit of Schumacher.
Ralf, the younger of the two Schumachers, cut his left leg in an accident in his Williams which saw him crash out from sixth place after 38 laps. His brother Michael said Ralf needed stitches on a deep cut but had not broken anything.
|David Coulthard took advantage of other's misfortune to win his first Grand Prix of Monaco.|| |
Bad day for the Schumacher brothers
Hakkinen fights back to make his point
Fourth-place Irvine gives Jaguar first F1 points