After a strong start to the Formula One motor racing season, Switzerland's Sauber team had to finally face some disappointment on Sunday at the Monaco Grand Prix.This content was published on May 27, 2001 - 19:14
Already well down the starting grid following the weekend's training sessions, Sauber's two drivers, Nick Heidfeld and Kimi Räikkönen, both ran into difficulties early on.
Heidfeld had not even completed the first of the race's 78 laps when a collision with Brazil's Enrique Bernoldi put the German driver out of the running.
"We made the car a little better this morning, so I was hoping for a good race," said a frustrated Heidfeld afterwards. "All I know is that one of the Arrows drivers hit me in the corner before Portier. I rode up over his wheel, quite high, and crashed into the barriers."
After pulling himself up into ninth place, Räikkönen was forced to pull into the pitlane after suffering problems with his car's traction and was only able to rejoin the race five laps down. A high attrition rate higher up the field meant that the young Finn was still able to finish in tenth (and last) place.
"It was a shame," admitted Sauber's technical director Willy Rampf, "because despite the problems of the last few days Kimi could still have got himself in the points (awarded to the top six drivers)."
While Sauber prepared to put Monaco behind them, the Ferrari team were celebrating a perfect day's racing in Monte Carlo. Michael Schumacher won the race, stretching his world championship lead to 12 points, ahead of team-mate Rubens Barrichello.
Schumacher's nearest championship rival David Coulthard had to settle for fifth place.
swissinfo with agencies
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