British Grand PrixQualifyingRaceDOTR: Didier Artzet - safe drive to secure his first podium in F1ROTR: Williams and Arrows - the top two teams collectively soiled the bed today, they should be embarrassed
The start mostly went fine, save for Voeckler the younger having a good getaway, moving up from 8th to 4th. Schumacher and Christopherson briefly tussled over 2nd place but the Brit got ahead and kept the German in his wing mirrors. At the beginning of Lap 2, Sophie Fabron spun off at Copse and crashed out. The Frenchwoman was thankfully unhurt but the incident will not serve to help enforce her shaky presence at the team.
The first part of the race saw a rather dramatic defence put on by Frederic-Maxime Voeckler, the Ferrari driver holding off his brother's McLaren and Paul Tracy's Arrows for fourth, with their pace slow enough that Gerhard Berger in the other McLaren could catch up and make it a large four-car battle. The Voeckler siblings were frequently side-by-side but the Ferrari frequently cut the McLaren off, the 1988 world champion gesticulating quite wildly at his brother to show his disapproval. Of course, he didn't let Paul Tracy have a chance of overtaking him either, and the Canadian aggressively defended against Berger behind him. None of them gave each other any chance and it was glorious.
Then, the Ferrari pitted early, once again the team choosing to run Voeckler's car light with some vain hope of gaining position, a strategy which has so far not yielded any significant results. Berger pitted at the same time and Tracy pitted 2 laps later. This meant JEV, on a one-stop strategy, could finally get some clean ait and pace himself from the others. He was helped by Berger and Tracy getting stuck by the Larrousse of Didier Artzet, also on a one-stop, after coming out of the pits and FMV being ultimately unable to hold any form of pace and ending up by the Sauber cars.
Up front, Christopherson was slowly catching Dagnall but while pushing, went off at Club. When attempting to rejoin the track, he spun the car and the left rear wheel smacked the wall, meaning the car was unable to continue. He stormed away from the car, pushing the marshals away from him while heading back to the pits in a fit of rage. Dagnall was initially unchallenged for the lead but a mere lap later, smoke started pouring out of the back of his FW15C. He had to stop the car and a dominant victory up until that point had been scuppered. However Dagnall was not too displeased, probably with the knowledge that Christopherson was unable to gain on him in the driver's championship. This put Schumacher in the lead, with a large gap to JEV in 2nd, thus the German could cruise to his third grand prix victory.
JEV pitted on Lap 27 and as suspected, came out comfortably in front of teammate Berger. Tracy spun at Luffield while attempting to challenge the Austrian and was thus considered not to be a threat to the McLarens anymore - compounded by his engine failing a lap after the spin. The race was therefore set at this point - Schumacher in front, the McLaren pairing in 2nd and 3rd.
Or was it? Fate, as it turns out, had different ideas. On Lap 60, despite being over 30 seconds out front, Schumacher's car stopped, denying him the chance of victory. This therefore meant that Jeremy-Etienne Voeckler crossed the finish line in first place for the first time in over three years. His teammate Gerhard Berger in second gave McLaren their first 1-2 finish of the year. Meanwhile there was celebration in the Larrousse camp as Didier Artzet crossed the line in third, securing his first career podium. FMV was fourth, receiving stern words from his brother after the race's conclusion in regards to his defensive driving earlier. The Saubers of Heinz-Harald Frentzen and Mika Salo crossed the line in 5th and 6th, a quietly good day for the new Swiss squad.