Other Schumacher Wins
April 15, 2001 | 10:00 A.M. EST
He dominated the Grand Prix of San Marino, leading nearly every lap to win his first race of any kind since 1996.
Schumacher started the grand prix third, but stormed past Mika Hakkinen and polesitter David Coulthard to take the lead by the first turn.
By lap 17 he had a 2.6 second lead on Coulthard and a nearly 20 second lead on then-third place driver Jarno Trulli. Schumacher’s lead stretched to four seconds near lap 21, and by the end of the race was ahead by 6.3 seconds.
"It is a great experience and I hope it is the first of many," Schumacher said. "I've waited long enough for it and we've done a lot of work with Williams and it paid off today. One thing is for sure and that is it will be easier in the future."
Schumacher was joined on the podium by polesitter David Coulthard and Ferrari driver Rubens Barrichello. Mika Hakkinen finished fourth, his best finish of the season, and Trulli finished fifth. Heinz-Harald Frentzen earned one point with a sixth place finish. Nick Heidfeld followed up his Brazil podium finish with a seventh place finish in San Marino.
Michael Schumacher went out of on lap 25 with a punctured right tire, his first DNF since the Grand Prix of Germany last July. Coulthard’s six point, second-place finish ties him with Schumacher for the lead in the driver’s standings.
“There was a puncture and there was something else wrong which damaged the rim,” said Michael Schumacher, who started the race fourth but quickly dropped back to seventh. “As a precaution they told me to stop and I was quite happy. The start wasn't perfect and we had a problem with gear selection at one time. It wasn't a great weekend all in all.”
While his teammate soared, Juan Pablo Montoya continued to struggle. His fuel line stuck while in the pits on lap 47 and his engine then died. By the time he was able to fire the car back up he had spent over one minute in the pit and retired from the race on the next lap. He has yet to finish a Formula One grand prix.
This was the first Formula One race won by a team other than Ferrari or McLaren since the 1999 European Grand Prix, and only the fifth win in the last 53 races. This was the first win for Williams win since Jacques Villeneuve won the Grand Prix of Luxembourg in 1997, the year he won the world championship.
"It's a fantastic day for BMW and it is our first win in 21 races since linking up with Williams," said Gerhard Berger, BMW motorsport director. "We're so competitive and some of the last couple of years have been difficult. There have been two teams fighting at the front for a while now and everybody wants a third team to come through. We are close to it now and I hope from now on we can regularly disturb them."
It now brings the team to third in the Constructor’s standings with 12 points, behind Ferrari’s 40 points and McLaren’s 30. Ralf Schumacher is now fourth in the driver standings with 12 points. Barrichello is third, with 14 points.