The 2001 French Grand Prix, officially advertised as the LXXXVII Mobil 1 Grand Prix de France, was the tenth round of the 2001 FIA Formula One World Championship, staged at the Circuit de Nevers Magny-Cours in Magny-Cours, France, on 1 July 2001. The race would see Michael Schumacher secure his 50th Grand Prix victory, in a race that would otherwise have gone down as a footnote in F1 history.
Qualifying had suggested that there would be another tight battle for victory, as Ralf Schumacher out-paced his brother to claim pole position from Michael. David Coulthard was next ahead of his McLaren-Mercedes teammate Mika Häkkinen, with less than a second covering the entire top eight.
Unfortunately hopes of a battle-royale for victory were weakened before the start, with Häkkinen stalling on the formation lap and duly retiring with a gearbox failure. Ralf Schumacher then aced his start to grab an early lead, while even a small glitch in Michael Schumacher's launch was not enough to let Coulthard challenge for second.
Indeed, it was an out-of-place Rubens Barrichello who was the man to watch on the opening lap, charging from eighth to fifth after a poor run in qualifying. Kimi Räikkönen was another man on the march, barging into the top ten, while Juan Pablo Montoya passed Jarno Trulli to claim fourth moments before Barrichello's flying Ferrari caught him.
Montoya and Barrichello engaged in a low-key duel for fourth, allowing the top three of Schumacher, Schumacher and Coulthard to establish a small gap. Yet, there would be no attempts to overtake from either the scarlet Ferrari nor the silver-black McLaren, meaning it was a stalemate at the head of the field throughout the early stages.
The pitstop window would finally shake-up the order out front, with a poor stop for Ralf Schumacher, caused by him engaging first gear too soon, dropped him back behind his brother. That, however, was the only change, until Coulthard was handed a ten second stop-go penalty for speeding in the pitlane, dumping him down to fifth behind Montoya and Barrichello.
As the race wore on Ralf Schumacher began to complain about balance issues with his car, resulting in him dropping back from Michael and instead into the grips of teammate Montoya. The Williams-BMW squad duly decided to swap the pair around, although a radio issue meant that the German racer had to be called in for his stop earlier than planned to get the swap made.
That, however, proved academic, for just three laps after making his second stop, Montoya's race came to an end with smoke pouring out of his exhausts. Ralf Schumacher was hence put back into second, while behind Coulthard had begun to close onto the back of Barrichello, only to waste his best chance at passing the Ferrari late-on when he dived the wrong side of a lapped Jean Alesi.
With that the race was over, with Michael Schumacher cruising across the line to claim his landmark win ahead of his brother. Barrichello duly fended off Coulthard to complete the podium, while Trulli and Nick Heidfeld claimed the remaining points.
Victory moved Michael Schumacher a huge 24 points clear of his closest challenger in the Drivers Championship, passing the halfway point with 68 points to his name. David Coulthard therefore had some serious work to do in the second half of the campaign, although he had solidified his grip on second, moving eighteen clear of Rubens Barrichello. Behind, Ralf Schumacher had inched closer to the Brazilian in fourth, while Juan Pablo Montoya broke into the top five for the first time.
In the Constructors Championship it had been another strong day for Ferrari, leaving Germany just six points shy of the 100 point mark. That also resulted in a 41 point lead over second placed McLaren-Mercedes, while Williams-BMW had inched closer to their compatriots in third once again, ending the weekend sixteen behind. Otherwise, there had been little change after the European Grand Prix, with the top three having been the only scorers.
The full entry list for the 2001 French Grand Prix is outlined below:
The full qualifying results for the 2001 French Grand Prix are outlined below:
|1||5||Ralf Schumacher||Williams-BMW||1:12.989||—||209.621 km/h|
|2||1||Michael Schumacher||Ferrari||1:12.999||+0.010s||209.592 km/h|
|3||4||David Coulthard||McLaren-Mercedes||1:13.186||+0.197s||209.056 km/h|
|4||3||Mika Häkkinen||McLaren-Mercedes||1:13.268||+0.279s||208.822 km/h|
|5||12||Jarno Trulli||Jordan-Honda||1:13.310||+0.321s||208.703 km/h|
|6||6||Juan Pablo Montoya||Williams-BMW||1:13.625||+0.636s||207.810 km/h|
|7||11||Heinz-Harald Frentzen||Jordan-Honda||1:13.815||+0.826s||207.275 km/h|
|8||2||Rubens Barrichello||Ferrari||1:13.867||+0.878s||207.129 km/h|
|9||16||Nick Heidfeld||Sauber-Petronas||1:14.095||+1.106s||206.492 km/h|
|10||10||Jacques Villeneuve||BAR-Honda||1:14.096||+1.107s||206.489 km/h|
|11||9||Olivier Panis||BAR-Honda||1:14.181||+1.192s||206.252 km/h|
|12||18||Eddie Irvine||Jaguar-Ford Cosworth||1:14.441||+1.452s||205.532 km/h|
|13||17||Kimi Räikkönen||Sauber-Petronas||1:14.536||+1.547s||205.270 km/h|
|14||19||Pedro de la Rosa||Jaguar-Ford Cosworth||1:15.020||+2.031s||203.946 km/h|
|15||23||Luciano Burti||Prost-Acer||1:15.072||+2.083s||203.804 km/h|
|16||7||Giancarlo Fisichella||Benetton-Renault||1:15.220||+2.231s||203.403 km/h|
|17||8||Jenson Button||Benetton-Renault||1:15.420||+2.431s||202.864 km/h|
|18||14||Jos Verstappen||Arrows-Asiatech||1:15.707||+2.718s||202.095 km/h|
|19||22||Jean Alesi||Prost-Acer||1:15.774||+2.785s||201.916 km/h|
|20||15||Enrique Bernoldi||Arrows-Asiatech||1:15.828||+2.839s||201.772 km/h|
|21||21||Fernando Alonso||Minardi-European||1:16.039||+3.050s||201.213 km/h|
|22||20||Tarso Marques||Minardi-European||1:16.500||+3.511s||200.000 km/h|
|107% Time: 1:18.098|
- T Indicates a driver used their test/spare car to set their best time in that session.
- Bold indicates a driver's best/qualifying time.
|Juan Pablo Montoya||______________|
- * Häkkinen was unable to start the race due to a gearbox failure.
- † de la Rosa started from the pitlane.
Carlo Cantoni Ferrari team joined on the podium to receive the winning manufacturer’s award.
The full results for the 2001 French Grand Prix are outlined below:
- T Indicates a driver used their test/spare car.
- * Button and Alonso were still classified despite retiring as they had completed 90% of the race distance.
- † Häkkinen was unable to start the race due to a gearbox failure.
- 400th Grand Prix start for Williams as a constructor.
- Maiden pole position for Ralf Schumacher.
- Michael Schumacher claimed his 50th Grand Prix victory.
- 141st win for Ferrari as a constructor.
Michael Schumacher moved ever closer to his fourth World Championship crown with victory in France, leaving Magny-Cours with a daunting 29 point lead. David Coulthard was still the closest thing to a threat to the German ace, although the Scot would likely need a drastic reversal of form in the final seven rounds to hope of challenging for the crown. Behind, Ralf Schumacher had overtaken Rubens Barrichello to claim third, while Juan Pablo Montoya retained his spot in the top five.
It was a similar story in the Constructors Championship, with Ferrari once again increasing their lead, ending the afternoon on 108 points. That meant they had almost double the number of McLaren-Mercedes in second, with the Anglo-German alliance slowly being caught by third placed Williams-BMW, the latter moving just thirteen behind after the battle of France. Behind, Sauber-Petronas had retained fourth ahead of Jordan-Honda, while Minardi-European had once again failed to register a points finish.
Only point scoring drivers and constructors are shown.
Images and Videos:
- 'French GP, 2001', grandprix.com, (Inside F1 Inc., 2014), https://www.grandprix.com/gpe/rr673.html, (Accessed 07/11/2019)
- 'France 2001: Entrants', statsf1.com, (Stats F1, 2015), https://www.statsf1.com/en/2001/france/engages.aspx, (Accessed 07/11/2019)
- 'France 2001: Qualifications', statsf1.com, (Stats F1, 2014), https://www.statsf1.com/en/2001/france/qualification.aspx, (Accessed 07/11/2019)
- 'Mobil 1 Grand Prix de France 2001 - QUALIFYING', formula1.com, (Formula One World Championship Ltd., 2019), https://www.formula1.com/en/results.html/2001/races/712/france/qualifying-0.html, (Accessed 07/11/2019)
- 'France 2001: Result', statsf1.com, (Stats F1, 2016), https://www.statsf1.com/en/2001/france/classement.aspx, (Accessed 07/11/2019)
- '10. France 2001', statsf1.com, (Stats F1, 2014), https://www.statsf1.com/en/2001/france.aspx, (Accessed 07/11/2019)
- '2001 French GP', chicanef1.com, (Chicane F1, 2014), http://www.chicanef1.com/racetit.pl?year=2001&gp=French%20GP&r=1, (Accessed 07/11/2019)
|V T E||French Grand Prix|
|Circuits||Reims (1950–1951, 1953–1954, 1956, 1958–1961, 1963, 1966)
Rouen-Les-Essarts (1952, 1957, 1962, 1964, 1968)
Charade Circuit (1965, 1969–1970, 1972)
Bugatti Circuit (1967)
Circuit Paul Ricard (1971, 1973, 1975–1976, 1978, 1980, 1982–1983, 1985–1990, 2018–2019)
Dijon-Prenois (1974, 1977, 1979, 1981, 1984)
Circuit de Nevers Magny-Cours (1991–2008)
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