McLaren celebrates 700 GPs - the 600th race
|2006 European GP - Nurburgring, May 7 2006|
||Michael Schumacher||Ferrari||60 laps in 1hr 35m58.765s||(Grid: 2)|
||Fernando Alonso||Renault||+ 3.751s||(1)|
||Felipe Massa||Ferrari||+ 4.447s||(3)|
||Kimi Raikkonen||McLaren-Mercedes||+ 4.879s||(5)|
||Rubens Barrichello||Honda||+ 1m 12.586s||(4)|
||Giancarlo Fisichella||Renault||+ 1m 14. 116s||(11)|
||Nico Rosberg||Williams-Cosworth||+ 1m 14.565s||(22)|
||Jacques Villeneuve||BMW Sauber||+ 1m 29.364s||(9)|
|DNF||Juan Pablo Montoya||McLaren-Mercedes||52 laps||(8)|
We finished runner-up in the Constructors’ Championship three times between 2000 and 2006 as Ferrari became the dominant force in Formula 1. Having won four grands prix in 2000 and finishing second in the Drivers’ Championship, Mika Hakkinen won two grands prix in 2001 before announcing his retirement. He remains our third most successful driver of all time, winning 20 races and two drivers’ titles.
David Coulthard won in Brazil and Austria in 2001. New rules which mandated that the front wings be raised by 50mm had an unexpected effect; in the early races of the year we discovered a lack of correlation between the results of our wind tunnel research and the behaviour of the MP4-16 on track. Detail changes to the front wing came on stream early in the season, helping Mika and David to six fastest laps and two pole positions as well as the four wins. David was the runner-up in the Drivers’ Championship.
Kimi Raikkonen joined us for the 2002, driving the MP4-17 – the first product of our new wind tunnel at the McLaren Technology Centre, which had come on stream while the rest of the building was still under construction. Kimi finished on the podium in his first race, and was leading the French Grand Prix when he was the first driver to encounter oil spilled by another car, which caused him to spin off. David won at Monaco while Kimi set the fastest lap at Melbourne, Monaco and the Nürburgring.
After nine podium finishes in 2002 there were high hopes for 2003, when the technically ambitious MP4-18 was due to make its debut. We elected to race the MP4-17 in D-spec until the new car was ready, and David won the first race of the year. Kimi duly followed, taking his maiden victory at Sepang. Kimi was on electric form at the Nürburgring, starting from pole position and setting fastest lap before suffering an engine failure. Both drivers continued to race the MP4-17D throughout the year while the team worked to resolve cooling issues that afflicted the aggressively packaged MP4-18 in testing.
Having incorporated the lesson of the MP4-18 into the MP4-19 for 2004, we were disappointed with the car’s performance. Kimi won from 10th on the grid in Belgium and set the fastest lap, but that was our only victory of the year.
Juan Pablo Montoya joined us in 2005, winning three grands prix, starting from pole twice and posting two fastest laps. Kimi set 10 fastest laps and seven grands prix, starting from pole five times, and finished second in the Drivers’ Championship to Fernando Alonso.
F1 entered a new era in 2006 with a mandatory change to 2.4-litre V8 engines. Kimi suffered a suspension failure in qualifying for the opening race at Bahrain but raced through from 22nd to third. Eight more podium finishes followed during the year, but as we started our 600th race we had yet to add to our tally of 148 grand prix victories.
Elsewhere in 2006
Fear of a global avian influenza pandemic spreads as the highly pathogenic H5N1 strain is found in multiple bird species across the world. Humans are diagnosed with the illness, with fatalities in China, India, Indonesia, Turkey and Egypt.
Warren Buffett and Bill Gates, two of the world’s wealthiest individuals, hit the news when Buffett announces that he will be transferring much of his fortune – estimated at $40billion – to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, a philanthropic organisation set up by Gates after leaving Microsoft.
Pluto is reclassified as a dwarf planet and NASA’s Stardust mission becomes the first to return dust from a passing comet. Having intercepted the comet Wild 2 in 2004, Stardust passes Earth and successfully releases its sample capsule, which lands in Utah.
Apple announces the one billionth download from iTunes. MySpace, acquired by News Corp for $580million in 2005, attracts over 100 million members.
The Human Genome Project publishes the last chromosome sequence in Nature magazine.
The World Cup final between Italy and France goes into extra time after the two sides finish the first 90 minutes level on 1-1. Italy prevail 5-3 on penalties after David Trezeguet, France’s hero against Italy in Euro 2000, hits the crossbar.
Floyd Landis wins the Tour de France but his performance on the Gap-Alpe d’Huez stage in the Alps attracts suspicion. Having tested positive for synthetic testosterone he is stripped of the victory, which falls instead to Oscar Pereiro. 21-year-old Mark Cavendish wins the points classification in the Tour of Britain, earning a professional contract for 2007.
R’n’B dominates the US Billboard Hot 100. Money Maker by Ludacris featuring Pharrell, London Bridge by Fergie and SOS by Rihanna all hit the top. In the UK Shakira stays at number one for four weeks with Hips Don’t Lie, as do the Scissor Sisters with I Don’t Feel Like Dancin’. Take That perform a reunion tour a decade after splitting up and release an album of new material, which includes the number one single Patience.
X-Factor winner Leona Lewis takes the Christmas number one spot with A Moment Like This.
Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest grosses $1,066,179,725 worldwide, followed by The Da Vinci Code on $758,239,851. Six of the top 10 highest grossing films are either sequels (Ice Age: The Meltdown, X-Men: The Last Stand, Mission: Impossible III) or ‘reboots’ (Superman Returns, Casino Royale). Martin Scorsese’s The Departed takes Best Screenplay, Best Film and Best Director at the Oscars.
Dexter, Ugly Betty and 30 Rock make their US TV debut. The second series of Lost reaches a dramatic climax as Locke and Desmond decide to allow the mysterious countdown to run down to zero.
The BBC announces that its flagship sports programme Grandstand is to be phased out. Actress Wendy Richards, the last original cast member, leaves EastEnders at Christmas. BSkyB launches a high-definition TV service.