On this day in 2000, David Coulthard and Mika Hakkinen secured a McLaren 1-2 at Magny Cours after an exciting battle with Michael Schumacher who started from the pole position, but the race will be remembered by Coulthard’s middle finger to Schumacher when duo battled for the lead.
The ninth race of the 2000 season championship was the French GP on Magny Cours. After eight races, Schumacher had a credible lead in the championship (56 points), with Coulthard (34), Hakkinen (32) and teammate Barrichello (30) closest to him. Ferrari led the constructors’ championship with 80 points while McLaren had 66.
Michael Schumacher had a brilliant start of the season with three wins in the first three races, also winning at Nurburgring and Montreal. The German had five wins in the first eight races, despite retiring from the leading position in Monaco due to the overheating of the rear suspension.
Coulthard had an airplane accident on May 2nd in France when two pilots were killed while he, his fiancé and his fitness trainer, were almost untouched so he was very inspired and drove one of his best races in his F1 career in France.
Schumacher started from pole position (1:15.632) in his Ferrari F2000, which was his third pole in a row and fourth in five races. But in the race he had a fierce fight with McLaren drivers, especially with David Coulthard, who was frustrated with Schumacher’s ruthless defence, showing him middle finger in the hairpin.
The German retired in lap 59 due to engine failure, while he was third behind Coulthard and Hakkinen. Scotch celebrated in front of his teammate Mike Hakkinen and Rubens Barrichello in second Ferrari.
After France, Schumacher was still ahead with 56 points, but Coulthard and Hakkinen got closer to 12 and 18 points respectively. McLaren closed the gap to Ferrari to only six points.