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Fast Finn's fabulous US finale

Mika magic: Despite suffering a grid position penalty for a pit lane infringement during practice, Mika Hakkinen fought his way to the front to record his 20th F1 win.

Mika Hakkinen wins the US GP in his penultimate F1 race

Mercedes-Benz logo1 Oct 2001

TWO weeks after announcing his plans to leave the sport, Mika Hakkinen has taken out the US Formula One Grand Prix at Indianapolis.

The double world champion overcame a practice crash and a penalty that knocked him off the front row of the grid, to record one of the best wins of his career.

"I am delighted, this is the highlight of my year," Hakkinen said.

"Winning the British GP is something I have always wanted to do and now it is in my book. Indianapolis was the other one. I am absolutely delighted, particularly because of the morning incidents." Hakkinen qualified second but started fourth after exiting the pits on a red light in a pre-race practice session and having his best qualifying lap cancelled as punishment. He spent much of the early part of the race in fifth position with a heavy fuel load, before moving into contention during the pit stops mid-race.

The Finn finished 11 seconds clear of Ferrari's Michael Schumacher, while his McLaren teammate David Coulthard took third.

Schumacher's teammate Ruben Barrichello had been challenging Hakkinen late into the race for the win, but blew an engine with just laps to go, robbing him of a certain rostrum finish.

Initially fourth place went to Jordan's Jarno Trulli, but he was later disqualified after it was discovered his Honda powered EJ11 had broken technical regulations - stewards declared the rear wheel of his car was in breach of a rule governing the rear skid block.

As a result of the disqualification, Eddie Irvine inherited fourth place for only his second points-scoring finish of the year.

Nick Heidfeld moved up to fifth, while Jean Alesi scored the final drivers' championship point for sixth.

The three points Trulli had secured were very important, as they elevated the Jordan team ahead of BAR in the constructors' standings with only one race to go.

Due to the disqualification, Trulli's teammate Alesi salvaged one point for the team, putting them on an equal standing with BAR with 17 points each.

Heidfeld's two points for fifth moved him ahead of Jacques Villeneuve in the drivers' championship, while Irvine's fourth place finish for Jaguar lifted the British team to equal seventh with Benetton.

Before the race, only nine points separated second, third and fourth in the driver's championship - Coulthard, Rubens Barrichello and Ralf Schumacher. After his third place finish, Coulthard is now seven points clear of Barrichello and 13 points ahead of Schumacher, which means he cannot finish the season any lower than third in the drivers' title.

For Coulthard to loose his current runner-up position, Barrichello will have to win at Suzuka with the Scot finishing lower than fourth - a fourth place finish in those circumstances will produce a tie for second.

In the constructors' championship, McLaren has sewn up second place after scoring 14 points in this round, while both Williams drivers failed to finish. With a 22-point gap now between the two British rivals, there are not enough points on offer in the final race for Williams to post a challenge.

* Just a week after clinching the Italian Formula Renault Championship, Australia's Ryan Briscoe has won a round of the category's Eurocup in Spain.

Briscoe qualified second at the Jarama circuit in Madrid, alongside his Portuguese teammate Cesar Campanico, but reversed the order in the race as championship leaders Augusto Farfus of Brazil and Marc Benz of Switzerland finished eighth and third respectively.

The latest victory by the 20-year-old from Drummoyne in Sydney increases his chances of testing a Formula One car for Toyota, as he is already contracted to the Japanese motor giant who will be entering F1 next year.

RACE RESULTS
1 Mika Hakkinen (McLaren Mercedes) 1hr32min42.840sec
2 M Schumacher (Ferrari) +11.046
3 D Coulthard (McLaren Mercedes) +12.043
4 E Irvine (Jaguar) +1:12.434
5 N Heidfeld (Sauber Petronas) +1:12.996
6 J Alesi (Jordan Honda) +1 lap
7 Giancarlo Fisichella (Benetton Renault) +1 lap
8 Jenson Button (Benetton Renault) +1 lap
9 Heinz-Harald Frentzen (Prost Acer) +1 lap
10 Olivier Panis (BAR Honda) +1 lap DRIVERS' CHAMPIONSHIP
1 M Schumacher (GER) 113
2 D Coulthard (SCO) 61
3 R Barrichello (BRA) 54
4 R Schumacher (GER) 48
5 Hakkinen (FIN) 34
6 Montoya (COL) 25
7 Heidfeld (GER) 13
8 Villeneuve (CAN) 12
=9 Trulli (ITA) 9
=9 Raikkonen (FIN) 9 CONSTRUCTORS' CHAMPIONSHIP
1 Ferrari 167
2 McLaren 95
3 Williams 73
4 Sauber 22
=5 BAR 17
=5 Jordan 17
=7 Benetton 10
=7 Jaguar 10
9 Prost 4
10 Arrows 1 Next round: Grand Prix of Japan, Suzuka, October 14.

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