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1999 Brazilian GP News

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Race Preview | Friday Practice | Saturday Qualifying | Race Report

Brazilian GP Preview

The wait is over and this Sunday (or Monday morning !!), the second race of the season will take place.

So who is hot and who is not !!??

The McLaren's will finish 1st and 2nd (as they did last year here) if they run trouble free otherwise they will be out (as they did in Australia). I would say that a safe bet would be that at least one will finish and that one will finish on top.

Ferrari will struggle in Brazil so don't expect Michael Schumacher or Eddie Irvine to win unless the McLaren's get into trouble, a third place for Michael is a high possibility

Stewart was the real surprise in Melbourne and expect Rubens Barrichello to shine in his homeland. If they perform as they did in Australia but without fires !! I expect them to challenge Ferrari.

Jordan also have the potential to challenge for a top position. Frentzen has finished 2nd in Australia while Hill will want to make sure that his result in Oz is not repeated.

The Supertec runners (Williams, Benetton and BAR) all have good chances to finish in the points but the underpowered Supertec will make it unlikely for any of them to finish in the top 3 unless we have retirements at the top. Expect good performances from Ralf Schumacher (Williams), Giancarlo Fisichella (Benetton) and Villeneuve (BAR) and Zonta (BAR)

Finally the Prost team might be a surprise here, testing over the past few weeks have shown that they are close to the top teams so keep an eye on Jarno Trulli and Olivier Panis.

Pole position will almost certainly be a McLaren property and Hakkinen is the driver. Unless it rains where it becomes unpredictable !!.

Enjoy the race

Brazilian GP Friday Practice

Today's 2nd practice session was under dry track conditions and Mika Hakkinen blew everyone else away. After exchanging the top time with Michael Schumacher around mid-session, he clocked in a fastest time of 1.18:881 which is only 0.3 seconds slower than the fastest time for Friday last year in Brazil. Coulthard was second fastest almost 0.5 seconds slower while Michael Schumacher was third 0.74 seconds behind Hakkinen but it seems the Ferrari have closed the gap a bit to McLaren.

Irvine was 4th very close to Michael Schumacher while Fisichella was the highest of the Supertec runners in 5th place while Barrichello made the top 6.

Improved performance from the Prost team who managed to score 7th place with Trulli and 9th Place with Prost.

Neither Damon Hill nor Jacques Villeneuve managed to complete a single lap during the 2nd practice session while Alex Zanardi continued his bad run only managing 16th fastest.

The 1st practice session was mainly wet and became dry towards the last few minutes. Ralf Schumacher was fastest followed by Fisichella and then Michael Schumacher, however final lap times were not indicative as a lot of drivers did not have flying laps on grooved tyres.

Luca Badoer will not be participating in the Brazilian GP for Minardi due to injury, Prost's newly signed test driver Stephane Sarrazin will drive for Minardi instead.

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Brazilian GP Qualifying

Mika Hakkinen grabs pole position for the Brazilian GP ahead of team-mate David Coulthard who was only 0.147 seconds slower. Rubens Barrichello managed to set third fastest and 0.737 seconds behind Hakkinen. Michael Schumacher was 4th more than 1 second behind followed by Fisichella who was the fastest of the Supertec's and Eddie Irvine was in sixth place.

Hill and Frentzen (both in Jordan's) qualified 7th and 8th while the second Benetton of Wurz was 9th followed by Herbert in a Stewart. Alex Zanardi continues his bad run qualifying 17th, 6 positions behind his team-mate Ralf Schumacher. Villeneuve was also very disappointing, he only managed 16th fastest and had trouble all through the practice session. Prost's strong performance on Friday did not materialise today, Panis and Trulli were 12th and 13th but still ahead of the Sauber pair of Alesi and Diniz who were 14th and 15th.

Stephane Sarrazin, the stand-in driver who replaced Luca Badoer for this race actually outqualified his team-mate Marc Gene and by more than 0.5 seconds. There might be a bright future for this guy.

A very interesting point is that lap times have actually dropped rather than increase. It was assumed that while Melbourne's lap times were close to last year, it was certain that in Brazil, the lap time were going to be around 2 seconds more than last year. Well Hakkinen's pole position time is actually more than 0.5 seconds faster than the pole position time last year. It seems that even with a 4th groove and a harder compound the engine/chassis development is dropping lap times faster than tyres are increasing them !!

So with the McLaren's continuing to dominate practice and qualifying sessions, will they have their reliability problems solved tomorrow and win ? Will Ruben Barrichello impress his home crowd and show the world what he is capable of ? Will Michael Schumacher get the 110% out of the Ferrari and take McLaren by surprise ? It will certainly be exciting !!

Earlier in the 2nd practice session today, there was very bad news for BAR when Ricardo Zonta crashed heavily and injured himself and missing tomorrow's race. Initial reports indicated that he had a deep cut in his left leg and will be out of action for 10 days. It is unclear at this stage if he will be driving at the San Marino GP. Hard luck Ricardo, your second race at your home track, can be any harder but you'll get back.

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Brazilian GP Results

Mika Hakkinen wins the Brazilian GP ahead of Michael Schumacher and Heinz-Harald Frentzen but the race was not all clear sailing for Hakkinen because in the very early stages of the race he had a major gearbox problem which caused him to slow down and lose 2 positions, he still managed to get back and win the race. Congratulations Mika !!

Hard luck for Rubens Barrichello who was leading the race following Hakkinen's earlier problems but he was forced to retire with engine problems. Hard luck too to David Coulthard who stalled on the start, rejoined 3-laps down but still had problems forcing him to retire.

Jacques Villeneuve was forced to start from the back of the grid due to a fuel irregularity problem but manages to get up to 6th place before retiring. Another impressive drive was from Jean Alesi  who was up to 5th place and charging at one stage of the race but he too retired.

Race Report:

David Coulthard stalls, Hakkinen leads followed by Barrichello and Schumacher. Eddie Irvine gets ahead of Fisichella.

Coulthard is pulled into the pits and his car restarted and he rejoins 3-laps down.

Hakkinen slows down due to a gearbox problem letting Barrichello and Schumacher pass but picks up the pace again.

Barrichello leads until his first stop (he was on a 2-stopper), Michael Schumacher takes the lead with Hakkinen right behind. On Lap 36, the top 6 were Michael Schumacher, Hakkinen, Barrichello, Irvine, Fisichella, Frentzen.

On lap 38, Schumacher pits (10.3 sec.) and Hakkinen takes the lead but is faced with the task of passing some backmarkers if he is to pass Michael through the pits. He does get a couple of clear laps but then Irvine pits and rejoins just ahead of Hakkinen although a lap down it was obvious that Irvine was going to make it hard for Hakkinen to pass. Hakkinen was told to pit (9.1 sec.) and rejoined the race ahead of Michael Schumacher in 1st position. Meanwhile Barrichello retires with engine problems and Irvine pits again with the mechanics clearing his radiator air intake. Race positions on lap 56 Hakkinen, Michael Schumacher, Frentzen, Ralf Schumacher, Irvine, Panis, Wurz, Takagi, Gene

The race ends is the same order with only 3 cars on the same lap. Frentzen on his last lap actually ran out of fuel but since Hakkinen had lapped 4th place Ralf Schumacher, Frentzen retained his position.

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