Frentzen defies critics to win emotional race
|Sunday, June 27th 1999, 16:31 GMT|
Germany's Heinz-Harald Frentzen scored an emotional victory for Jordan in a dramatic French Grand Prix at Magny-Cours today which could be team-mate Damon Hill's last race.
Frentzen, who had to pass a late medical to compete following his 140mph crash in Canada a fortnight ago, repaid the faith of Eddie Jordan to clinch only the second win of his career and the second success in the Silverstone-based team's Formula One history.
The 32-year-old, who was written-off after managing just one win in two years with Williams, gambled on a one-stop strategy.
It paid-off, when in the rain-lashed race he took the lead for the first and only time just six laps from the finish to beat world champion Mika Hakkinen into second place.
'When you are racing you don't feel the pain,' said Frentzen, who is still limping from his crash in Montreal. 'Out of the car it is painful. But this is a great win for Eddie and the team who did a great job.
'I will leave it to the experts to say what has changed for me [since I was at Williams]. It was not a decision I took to do one-stop. When I went into the pits for the wet-weather tyres I noticed the guys on re-fueling were taking a long time.
'I realised then the strategy was changing and I was upset because the car was really difficult to drive with the amount of fuel. I had a real hard job keeping the car under control and I was aquaplaning.
'After the crash in Canada when we lost points I didn't want to take any risks today. That's why I let Mika through early on, but I had him in the end.'
Frentzen victory - his first since Imola in 1997 - moved him into fourth place in the drivers' championship with 23 points and consolidated Jordan's third spot in the constructors' battle.