F1 Rewind: 1999 Canadian Grand Prix

Whilst the Canadian Grand Prix remains postponed, let rewind back to the 1999 Canadian Grand Prix which is best remembered for the first-ever Safety Car finish. 

This race however is best remembered for the Wall of Champions claiming four victims in an eventful Grand Prix, as one Finnish drive took victory en route to a second consecutive title. 

 

Practice

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Ferrari topped both Practice sessions with Eddie Irvine topping FP1 from McLaren’s David Coulthard by 0.088s, whilst Mika Hakkinen was down in seventh and 1.374s off Irvine’s pace. 

Michael Schumacher then topped FP2 ahead of Coulthard who was just 0.025s faster than teammate, Hakkinen whilst Irvine rounded out the top four. 

 

Qualifying

Michael Schumacher (Ferrari)

Schumacher edged out title rival, Hakkinen for pole by just 0.029s whilst teammates, Irvine and Coulthard locked out the second row in third and fourth respectively. 

This race marked the first time during the 1999 season in which a driver other than Hakkinen had managed to take pole for a Grand Prix, with the Finnish star having racked up five consecutive pole positions entering this race weekend. 

Jean Alesi meanwhile produced a surprise performance to qualify eighth for Sauber after finishing fourth in FP1, whilst the Minardi cars of Luca Badoer and Marc Gene propped up the field. 

 

Race 

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Schumacher made a clean getaway at the top to aggressively cut across Hakkinen, maintaining the lead into Turn One whilst Irvine fended off Coulthard for third. 

Not everyone however made it through the first corner safely as Prost-Peugeot’s Jarno Trulli went off track trying to pass Heinz-Harald Frentzen, only to collect Alesi and Rubens Barrichello to bring out the Safety Car.

Alexander Wurz meanwhile retired with transmission problems. 

The Safety Car soon returned to the pits but was straight back out after Ricardo Zonta spun into the Wall of Champions on lap three, costing him his right rear tyre which had become detached during the accident. 

1996 world champion – Damon Hill then became the second casualty when he too crashed into the Wall of Champion, although he was able to safety retire the car without a need to deploy the Safety Car. 

Schumacher WOC

Schumacher meanwhile was comfortably leading the race until lap 30 when he entered the final corner, only to lose his rear end upon exit and slid into the Wall of Champions to end his race. 

Hakkinen quickly proceeded to seize the lead under the Safety Car as Schumacher hit his steering wheel in pure frustration, unaware that the Wall of Champions had its final victim within its grasp. 

1997 champion, Jacques Villeneuve locked up on entry ash he ran over the kerbs into the final chicane on lap 35, sending him helplessly ploughing straight into the Wall of Champions as the Safety Car came out for a third time. 

Things then settled down until lap 66 when Frentzen suffered brake failure as he approached turn three, sending him smashing into the barriers of which he escaped without injury despite taking a big hit and being winded as a result. 

The race then proceeded to finish under the Safety Car for the first-ever time in F1 history, with Hakkinen leading Benetton’s Giancarlo Fisichella and Irvine over the line to complete the podium, with Irvine claiming his first and only in race fastest lap. 

 

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