The 2000 German Grand Prix was the penultimate race to use the old Hockenheim layout. It produced a popular maiden F1 winner and featured an unexpected and unwelcome visitor too.
David Coulthard qualified on pole position for the event, with Michael Schumacher, Giancarlo Fisichella, Mika Hakkinen and Pedro de la Rosa next up.
None of the top three had strong starts, with ‘Flying Finn’ Hakkinen living up to his nickname and stormed from fourth to first on the run to turn one. Schumacher moved to the left to take the first corner, but Fisichella’s Benetton was also going for that spot and the two collided.
Both cars veered off track and into the barrier, with the two drivers blaming each other for the accident. Rubens Barrichello lined up on the grid down in 18th but had a fantastic first lap to advance up to 10th place.
By lap 11 the Brazilian had moved up to fifth, with Heinz-Harald Frentzen also charging through the field. Barrichello swiftly passed de la Rosa and Jarno Trulli, closing in on the leading McLaren drivers before pitting and dropping to sixth on lap 17.
As dark clouds loomed in the distance, Barrichello set about moving his way back through the pack. However, his charge was put on hold on lap 25 after an angry former Mercedes employee managed to sneak onto the track waving banners.
Despite the marshals swiftly tackling him and removing him from the circuit, the safety car was deployed. It was released onto the track after the two leaders had passed the pit entry, so those behind dived straight into the pit lane.
McLaren decided that it could not pit both cars, so Hakkinen came in first before Coulthard followed on the next lap and dropped to the back of the field. The race resumed on lap 29 with the leader – Hakkinen – getting a good jump on the chasing pack.
Barrichello was third at the restart and started to close in on Trulli, only for the safety car to be deployed again after a huge crash for Jean Alesi, following contact with Pedro Diniz. Lap 34 saw the race resume once again, with Coulthard moving up to sixth. The two BAR drivers collided but both were able to continue.
The rain started to fall shortly after, but only on certain parts of the circuit (as the old layout was so long). As the majority of the field pitted, several drivers gambled and stayed out on track on dry tyres, including Barrichello. He took the lead, tentatively negotiating the wet parts of the circuit and pulling away in the drier corners.
The Brazilian eventually took the chequered flag seven seconds clear of Hakkinen to score his maiden F1 victory. It was an emotional win for Barrichello, with Coulthard completing the podium. Jenson Button finished in a strong fourth place. Mika Salo and de la Rosa rounded out the points finishers.