Mika Hakkinen won the Spanish Grand Prix today, leading nearly all the way over McLaren-Mercedes teammate David Coulthard to close the gap in the drivers' season standings.
Michael Schumacher was third, followed by Ferrari teammate Eddie Irvine in the 65-lap race over the 2.94-mile Circuit de Catalunya north of Barcelona. Hakkinen won by 6.2 seconds over Coulthard, with Schumacher 10.8 behind the winner.
It was the second victory of the season for Hakkinen and 11th of his career.
He said it wasn't as easy as it seemed.
"When you lead, you have to have double concentration because you never know what can happen," Hakkinen said. "You have to be careful with oil and traffic all the way."
After five races, he trails Schumacher by 30-24.
Schumacher won his first race for Ferrari in Barcelona in 1996. Two weeks ago, he took the Monaco Grand Prix to become the winningest Ferrari driver with 16 victories, and had a two-race winning streak coming into Spain.
But his Ferrari was no match for the McLarens today, especially after he lost time in the first 20 laps trailing Jacques Villeneuve as well as the two McLarens.
At the start, Hakkinen and Coulthard, who started in first and third positions, respectively, on the grid, pulled away with Villeneuve, in a BAR-Supertec, slipping into third. That kept Schumacher from making a full charge.
Hakkinen and Schumacher agreed that the race was virtually decided at the start.
"The start was just like we planned," Hakkinen said.
Schumacher said: "I was blocked between Eddie and David. I couldn't go anywhere, and I had to break rather than run into them."
By 10 laps, Hakkinen had only a 3.5-second lead over Coulthard. More important, though, Hakkinen was 16.1 seconds ahead of Schumacher in fourth.
Results on Page D11