Andretti takes sixth Molson Indy

Posted: Monday, July 17, 2000

TORONTO -- It was just like old times for Michael Andretti on Sunday at the Toronto Molson Indy.

Six years after winning his fifth race in the streets of this Canadian city, Andretti used some patience and a great pit stop to take the lead, then pulled away for his 40th career victory.

''I love Toronto,'' Andretti said. ''Maybe it's something in the water.''

As befitting a former CART FedEx Series champion and the leading race winner in CART history, his victory lap on the 1.755-mile, 11-turn temporary course was calm and measured.

The 37-year-old driver waved calmly to the crowd, a marked contrast to the emotional outburst by first-time winner Roberto Moreno two weeks earlier in Cleveland.

Combined with Moreno's 13th-place finish, one position out of the points, Andretti cut the Brazilian's series lead from 22 to two points after 10 of 20 races this season.

Austrian Grand Prix

SPIELBERG, Austria -- Michael Schumacher packed his bags, waved to the fans and left. He did not wait around to see Mika Hakkinen win the Austrian Grand Prix on Sunday.

But he understood all too well what the outcome meant.

''Unfortunately, this Grand Prix could play a decisive role in the battle for the world championship,'' Schumacher said.

The German never completed a lap. He dropped out after being bumped by Ricardo Zonta after the start.

Hakkinen, refreshed after an unusual midseason vacation, won for the second time this season and put himself back in the race for the championship. The Finn started from the pole and never relinquished the lead, except during his pit stop.

McLaren-Mercedes teammate David Coulthard finished second and also gained ground on Schumacher.

More than three hours after the race, Formula One officials confiscated Hakkinen's ''black box,'' which records the car's electronics because one of the official seals was missing. The box will be examined in London, and a ruling was not expected immediately.

Schumacher has won five races this season but has failed to finish three of the last four. His championship lead has been reduced to six points.

With seven events left in the 17-race season, Schumacher has 56 points, Coulthard 50 and Hakkinen 48. A victory is worth 10 points, second place six.

''It's not over yet, just look at what happened the last years,'' said Hakkinen, who won his two titles in the final races of the last two seasons.

Hakkinen now has 16 career Grand Prix wins. He covered the 191 miles in 1 hour, 28 minutes, 15.818 seconds, averaging 130 mph for the 71 laps. He was 12.5 seconds ahead of Coulthard and 30.7 seconds ahead of Rubens Barrichello.

Sunday's race was a few seconds old when Schumacher's title hopes received a major blow.

His Ferrari, on the second row, was bumped by Zonta's BAR-Honda. As he spun across the track, he was rammed by the Jordan of Jarno Trulli. That took both of them out of the race, plus Giancarlo Fisichella's Benetton.

Schumacher blamed the accident on the Brazilian, who received a 10-second penalty.

''Ricardo overestimated his own abilities and underestimated his speed, but I am sure there was nothing intentional about his actions,'' Schumacher said. ''I have made mistakes in the past and I am sure he will admit it was his fault.''

Schumacher is trying to become the first Ferrari driver to win the title since Jody Scheckter in 1979. Schumacher has won it twice before with another team.

Hakkinen had a frustrating first half of the season, winning only once and struggling with his car.

''I am extremely happy, together with the team, to have solved the problems and to get back to the speed I used to have,'' he said. ''I am definitely optimistic about the future.''

Coulthard, who has won three races this season, never tried to catch Hakkinen.

''There is no point in battling hard and turning six points into zero,'' the Briton said. ''I was quite comfortable to accept the six points.''

Barrichello was also bumped in the first-curve mayhem.

''I was hit by someone, went onto the gravel and was just trying to survive,'' he said. ''The car was very loose until the first pit stop and I am lucky to finish third.''

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