2000 French Grand Prix: Gesture and Win
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| Heading down the run through the Golf right hand flick toward the Adelaide hairpin Coulthard had pulled alongside of Schumacher in an attempt to outbreak the German on the outside of the corner. Schumacher would match Coulthard's late braking maneuver and then would proceed to drift abnormally wide in an effort to run Coulthard off the course. But the man in the blue saltire helmet was different this day. And though he would have to back out of the throttle slightly to remain on the circuit, he would make a gesture that made it clear Schumacher would not win the battle.
Over the previous couple of seasons David Coulthard had been considered the number two driver to Mika Hakkinen. This was never more evident than when he was ordered to slow down and let Mika take the win at the 1998 Australian Grand Prix. But it wasn't his abilities that was lacking. This would clearly not be the case as his feedback in a car was usually right on the money and he could more than hang with the best drivers in the field. It was something else. And 'it' was what was leading many in the Formula One community to cite as the reason as to why Coulthard would never be World Champion. But something would happen in 2000 and it would be clearly evident at the 2000 French Grand Prix.
Mika Hakkinen had come to repeat as World Champion. While Mika would be busy scoring victories over the course of those two seasons, Coulthard would struggle with a less reliable car. And then, when he was running well, he would have the memory of team orders constantly nagging his subconscious. On top of all this, Ferrari had become resurgent under the influence of Ross Brawn and Michael Schumacher. And while Mika may have won the championship the previous couple of seasons it seemed more than clear Ferrari would have a good opportunity to earn its first Driver's Championship in over 20 years.
The 2000 season couldn't have started out any better for one team. While it would be Mika Hakkinen that would start on the pole for the first three races of the season. However, at the end of each of the races it would be Michael Schumacher that would come away the victor. In contrast, McLaren would be fitting just to make it onto the podium through the same three races.
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