On today’s day in 1999, Eddie Irvine won his second race of the season after David Coulthard spun his teammate Mika Hakkinen in the second corner of the first lap.
Austria was the ninth of the 16 races of the championship while at the previous race at Silverstone Michael Schumacher had an accident in the first lap when his rear brakes failed, after which he hit the tyre wall at Stowe and broke his leg.
Schumacher was replaced by the Finn Mika Salo, and in qualifying, the McLarens were second ahead of the third placed Irvine in Ferrari and everyone was expecting a dominant win for the silver cars.
That was not the idea of David Coulthard, who in the second corner went too fast on braking and touched and spun Hakkinen who was last after the accident.
Irvine won with three tenths in front of Coulthard while Hakkinen was third after recovering from his first lap accident with his team mate.
Irvine was only two points behind Hakkinen in the overall standings after Austria, while Ferrari had two more points than McLaren.
“I knew qualifying did not represent our real performance and for that I managed to win the real strategy,” Irvine commented after the race.
“I’ve proved that I can do my job. In the early stages of the race I had to save fuel, but then I made up for it before entering the pits.”
“The smoke from my car before the end of the race was probably coming from my brain because I had to think about so many things, fuel, brakes, tyres, it was not just a ride.”
“Last week on Monza testing we made a big step forward on high speed tracks, so I’m confident ahead of Hockenheim.”