The 2000 F1 season saw one of the greatest duels the sport had seen since its birth. Two double world champions, Michael Schumacher and Mika Hakkinen fought for the title until the penultimate round. The duel of the two giants of the sport gave the fans of motorsport some memorable duels that are worth remembering even today. Hakkinen began the season as the defending world champion and was either the first or second favourite, according to whom you asked, to win the title in the 2000 season also. Most anticipated that it will be a duel between Hakkinen and Michael Schumacher for the driver’s title. The two battled until the last round in the 1998 season and were continuing their fight in 1999 until a serious injury forced Schumacher to sit out several races in 1999.
Their respective teammates, David Coulthard(Hakkinen’s) and Rubens Barrichello(Schumacher’s) were considered outsider bets for the title, and most expected them to play second fiddle to their more illustrious team leaders.
Experts believed that the 2000 season will continue the pattern of 1998 and 1999. These two seasons were dominated by Mclaren and Ferrari, the two teams leading the rest of the field a long way behind.
The season began in Australia and the experts who expected the continuance of the Mclaren-Ferrari domination were proven right. The two teams were once again miles ahead of the rest of the pack.
Hakkinen clinched pole position from his teammate Coulthard, Schumacher finished third, while Barrichello fourth.
The two McLarens got away well and were running 1-2 in the opening laps, but reliability issues struck both cars and caused the team to start the season with to DNFs(did not finish). The Ferrari’s were more reliable and secured an easy 1-2 after their two rivals dropped out.
Hakkinen took another pole position in Brazil. Once again he was followed by his teammate Coulthard, Schumacher and Barrichello. Schumacher got off like a rocket in the first few laps and took the lead, but it soon became obvious he was much lighter than the Mclarens, who were running a one-stop strategy to Schumacher’s two. Schumacher dropped behind Hakkinen after his first stop and things were still hanging in the balance in lap 30 when Mika Hakkinen dropped out from the lead. Whether he would have been able to beat Schumacher is a question we will never know. Schumacher cruised to another comfortable win ahead of Coulthard, who was later disqualified and Giancarlo Fisichella.
Hakkinen took another pole position in the third round of the season at the San Marino Grand Prix. He was followed by Schumacher, Coulthard and Barrichello. Schumacher had a sluggish start but just succeeded in maintaining second. Hakkinen and Schumacher raced long battle for the win and they dropped their teammates a long way behind. In the end, Schumacher edged Hakkinen for the win. Coulthard completed the podium.
Rubens Barrichello took a surprise pole position in the fourth round of the season at Silverstone. On a drying track the Brazilian edged Heinz-Harald Frentzen, Hakkinen, Coulthard and his teammate Schumacher for the pole. Barrichello lead away from the start and held the lead until the 31st lap when Coulthard passed him. Barrichello retook the lead after the Scotsman went to the pits, but was forced to retire not much later with a hydraulic leak. Coulthard won the race from his teammate Hakkinen and Michael Schumacher.
Michael Schumacher took his first pole of the year in the next round in Barcelona. He was followed by Hakkinen, Barrichello and Coulthard. Schumacher retained his lead from Hakkinen at the start, but both Barrichello and Coulthard were passed by the younger Schumacher brother, Ralf, at the start. Schumacher and Hakkinen pulled away from Ralf and had another fierce duel for the first place. Hakkinen managed to pass his rival after his second pit stop, and a slow puncture slowed the Ferrari men considerably after his second pit stop. He was caught and passed by Coulthard, Barrichello and his brother before he went into the pits for a new set of tyres. Hakkinen won the race from his teammate Coulthard, while Barrichello completed the podium. Michael Schumacher only managed a disappointing fifth after his troubles.
Coulthard took pole position in the next round at the Nurburgring. He was followed by Schumacher, Hakkinen and Barrichello. Hakkinen got away like a rocket at the start and went from third to first. He was followed by Schumacher, Coulthard
and Barrichello. Hakkinen managed to retain his lead until it began to rain when Schumacher used his lighter car(once again Ferrari opted for an extra fuel stopover Mclaren) to overtake him. The two had another race-long battle in the rain, which was won by Schumacher in the end. Coulthard completed the podium for third.
Hakkinen's rocket start
Schumacher took pole position in Monaco. He was followed by surprise second men Jarno Trulli and Coulthard. Hakkinen only managed a lowly fifth this time around. Schumacher led away from the field at the start, and Trulli managed to retain second from Coulthard. Schumacher opened up a huge lead and was well on its way to victory before a broken exhaust forced him to retire. Coulthard inherited the lead from the German and won the race from Barrichello and Fisichella. Hakkinen had a problem-filled race and finished only a lowly 6th.
The season continued in Canada. Schumacher took another pole-position from Coulthard, Barrichello and Hakkinen. An unlucky Coulthard received a stop and go for an infringement of the start procedure which left Schumacher in a comfortable lead. Jaques Villeneuve was running in a surprise second position after a rocket start. Halfway through the race, it started to rain, but nobody really stood up to challenge Schumacher who won the race from Barrichello, Fisichella and Hakkinen.
Schumacher added another pole position to his tally in the next round in France. He was followed by Coulthard, Barrichello and Hakkinen. The Ferraris had a dream start to the race when Barrichello passed Coulthard for second. Schumacher began to pull away, but Coulthard was not giving up on the win just yet. First, he passed Barrichello, then he closed up to Schumacher. After a battle that lasted several laps, the Scot passed Schumacher and romped away to a very impressive victory. An unlucky Schumacher was forced to retire with an engine problem on lap 58. Hakkinen finished second, while Barrichello completed the top 3.
With 9 races gone Schumacher was leading the standings with 56 points. Surprisingly he was followed by Coulthard who had 44 points, while his teammate Hakkinen was only 38. The Finn looked off form in the first half of the season, and some questioned whether he still had the fire inside him to compete at the top.
Those who questioned Hakkinen were given a firm answer by the Finn who took a dominant pole position at the A1 Ring. He was followed by his teammate Coulthard, Barrichello and Schumacher. Hakkinen retained his lead at the start from Coulthard, but both Ferraris were caught up in a start accident. Barrichello dropped back, but at least was able to continue, Schumacher was not so lucky and was out of the race. Hakkinen drove away from Coulthard quite easily to win the race, while a charging Barrichello climbed up to third.
Coulthard took pole next time round in Germany. He was followed by Schumacher, Fisichella and Hakkinen. Hakkinen had another rocket start and went from fourth to first by the first corner. Schumacher was involved in yet another collision when he was hit by Fisichella and was out of the race again. Hakkinen easily retained his lead from Coulthard and Trulli, while a charging Barrichello climbed from 18th to the points. It looked like an easy victory for Hakkinen until a lunatic climbed over the fences and brought out an SC, which bunched up the field again. The McLarens were in control until it started to rain. The two McLarens went to the pits for wet tyres, while Barrichello stayed out on dries. Barrichello’s gamble paid off as Hakkinen was unable to close up to him. Barrichello won the race from Hakkinen and Coulthard.
Schumacher took pole next time round in Hungary. He was followed by Coulthard and Hakkinen. Hakkinen had yet another rocket start which launched him from third to first by the first corner. He was followed by Schumacher and Coulthard. Hakkinen was much faster than Schumacher and easily dropped the German, who had a race-long battle with Coulthard for third, which in the end he just managed to win. This win allowed Hakkinen to take the lead in the standings from Schumacher, leading his adversary 64 to 62, Coulthard closely followed the two with 58 points.
Hakkinen took a dominant pole position the next time around. He was followed by surprise quick men Trulli and Button. Schumacher managed only fourth, while Coulthard was fifth. Hakkinen retained his lead in the wet start, but a collision of Trulli and Button gifted Schumacher second position. Hakkinen made a mistake on the drying track to gift the lead to Schumacher who pulled away in the slippery conditions. Once the track fully dried up Hakkinen closed up to his rival and passed him while the two were lapping a backmarker. The move is widely considered one of the most brilliant overtakes of the history of the sport.
Hakkinen's legendary pass
The Final Rounds
Ferraris bounced back the next round with a front-row lockout in qualifying. Hakkinen followed them in third, Villeneuve was fourth, while Coulthard was only fifth. Schumacher retained his lead at the start, but Hakkinen passed Barrichello for second. Only a few corners into the race a huge crash wiped out Barrichello, Coulthard and many others. Schumacher had another battle with Hakkinen for the win, but this time around the German took a confident victory, his rival followed him home to second, while his brother Ralf completed the podium.
Schumacher took another pole in Indianapolis. He was followed by Coulthard, Hakkinen and Barrichello. Coulthard jumped the start and took the lead, but a penalty soon dropped him back through the field. Schumacher maintained his lead after the field switched from wet to dry tyres. Hakkinen was quickly closing in on his rival, but an engine failure brought an early end to their duel. Schumacher took a comfortable win after Hakkinen’s retirement from his teammate Barrichello and Frentzen. The win and Hakkinen’s retirement left Schumacher with an 8 point lead in the standings. This meant that a win would have given Schumacher the 2000 Driver’s Championship Title.
Schumacher took pole by a few thousands of a second next time around from his main rival Hakkinen. Coulthard followed them in third, while Barrichello was fourth. Hakkinen passed Schumacher at the start, and the two quickly dropped the rest of the field. Hakkinen seemingly had a slight edge on the dry, but as it started to drizzle Schumacher closed up to his rival and passed him during the second pit stop phase. Schumacher did not concede his lead from this point on and went on to win the race, which clinched him his 3rd Driver’s Championship Title.
Schumacher took another pole in the final round of the season in Malaysia. He was followed by Hakkinen, Coulthard and Barrichello. Hakkinen jumped the start to pass Schumacher, but a stop & go penalty saw him to the back of the field. Schumacher had a race-long battle with Coulthard for the win, which in the end he won. Barrichello completed the podium for third, while a recovering Hakkinen finished fourth.
Schumacher ended the season as World Champion with 108 points, to Hakkinen’s 89. Coulthard edged Barrichello for third and finished the season with 73 points.
© 2022 Andrew Szekler