The 2000 German Grand Prix was held on 30 July 2000, at the Hockenheimring circuit, in Germany, and was the eleventh round of the season. Scuderia Ferrari was leading the Constructors’ Championship standings before the event, while Michael Schumacher had an eight-point advantage over his McLaren-Mercedes rival, Mika Hakkinen, but this time it was the Germain’s teammate, Rubens Barrichello, who became the driver of the day.
On his 123rd Grand Prix, Rubens Barrichello managed an impressive victory, his first ever victory in Formula 1, which was even more astonishing considering that the Brazilian driver had to start the race from 18th on the grid, due to oil-leak issues before the qualifying session on Saturday. As a result, Barrichello was forced to use Schumacher’s car during qualifying, a session which was even more complicated by the wet weather conditions, as he qualified only 18th, 3.847 seconds off David Coulthard’s pole position time.
Given the starting order, most of Scuderia Ferrari’s hopes were directly linked to Michael Schumacher, but the German driver collided with Giancarlo Fisichella from Benetton-Playlife immediately after the start, and thus had to retire the car from the very first lap. It soon looked like an easy Sunday afternoon for the McLaren-Mercedes duo, but both Mika Hakkinen and David Coulthard did not anticipate Barrichello’s amazing recovery. The Brazilian made by far the best start in the field, moving up from 18th to tenth position at the end of the first lap.
The safety car came out more than one time and the weather conditions were constantly changing, which created the ideal context for Rubens to gradually make up ground. As the track started to get wet, most drivers opted for the safe solution and changed to intermediate tyres, but the rubber compound slightly softer than slick tyres turned out not to be the best approach. Barrichello continued the race on dry tyres, a decision which in the end paid off, as the Brazilian driver won the German Grand Prix, with more than sevens seconds ahead of Mika Hakkinen and over 20 seconds in front of David Coulthard, who finished third. The race in Hockenheim, Germany, represented the first time the Brazilian national anthem was heard on the podium since Senna’s final victory in the Australian GP of 1993 and Rubens was inevitably very emotional and overcome with joy.
Barrichello dedicated his triumph to fellow Brazilian and three-time Formula 1 World Champion Ayrton Senna who had helped him during the early stages of his racing career. The Scuderia Ferrari driver also confirmed that it was his call to continue the race on the dry tyres, while most of the drivers changed to Intermediates, arguing that it this way he could benefit on the straights and the chicanes.
The 2000 German Grand Prix brought about the first Formula 1 victory for Rubens Barrichello, who was definitely one of the most consistent drivers of his time. But most importantly, the Brazilian always proved to be a true and dedicated team player, helping Scuderia Ferrari achieve great success during 2000 and 2005.
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