Fisichella had been at the head of the midfield for most of the weekend and, despite a late charge from Heinz-Harald Frentzen's Jordan, managed to hold on to the final podium spot on Flavio Briatore's return to the team. The team kept the Italian out until lap 53 before making his pit-stop - after Schumacher had made both of his - but did enough to keep him ahead of both yellow cars on the run to the line.
Frentzen and Trulli ran different strategies in an attempt to give themselves the best chance of points, and it worked on both counts. The German drove a steady race from seventh, stopping once en route to fourth, while Trulli followed the Ferrari
model, blasting away on low tanks and stopping twice to gain early places. This eventually netted him fifth overall after a spirited opening stint.
The fight for what became sixth also entertained. The Williams
twins found themselves locked together for most of the race after Jenson Button
made a poor getaway, and engaged in a hearty battle with the Arrows of Verstappen and Pedro de la Rosa. Only fuel stops, offs, and backmarkers served to split the quartet up, but not before Button had produced possibly the move of the race to pass Verstappen.
This was enough to net him seventh place, one behind team-mate Ralf Schumacher, and another helping of praise from his fans and critics alike. Schumacher, meanwhile, resisted his early attempts to regain grid position, and drove doggedly to secure another point.
Along with the higher profile retirements, those not to make the finish included both Jaguars, both Prosts, Villeneuve, Gene and Wurz. The second Benetton barely made it away from the grid, and lasted just eight laps before pulling off, while Eddie Irvine endured a lurid slide into the Pico do Bato barriers to end his race.
Ferrari now goes to the first of its home races with a healthy lead in both drivers' and constructors' series. If they built extra grandstands at Interlagos for Rubinho-fever, there will certainly be call for more at Imola!
Race Result - Brazilian Grand Prix
- Interlagos, Sao Paulo - Sunday 26 March 2000.
1. Michael Schumacher Germany Ferrari-Ferrari 71 laps 1hr 31mins 35.271secs
2. David Coulthard
Britain McLaren-Mercedes +4.302secs
3. Giancarlo Fisichella
Italy Benetton-Playlife +39.898secs
4. Heinz-Harald Frentzen Germany Jordan-Mugen +42.268secs
5. Jarno Trulli
Italy Jordan-Mugen +1min 12.780secs
6. Ralf Schumacher Germany Williams-BMW +1 lap
7. Jenson Button
Britain Williams-BMW +1 lap
8. Jos Verstappen Holland Arrows-Supertec +1 lap
9. Pedro de la Rosa
Spain Arrows-Supertec +1 lap
10. Ricardo Zonta Brazil BAR-Honda +2 laps
11. Gaston Mazzacane Argentina Minardi-Fondmetal +2 laps
Johnny Herbert Britain Jaguar-Cosworth 51 laps completed
Marc Gene Spain Minardi-Fondmetal 31 laps completed
Mika Hakkinen Finland McLaren-Mercedes 30 laps completed
Rubens Barrichello Brazil Ferrari-Ferrari 26 laps completed
Eddie Irvine Britain Jaguar-Cosworth 19 laps completed
Jacques Villeneuve Canada BAR-Honda 15 laps completed
Jean Alesi France Prost-Peugeot 11 laps completed
Nick Heidfeld Germany Prost-Peugeot 9 laps completed
Alex Wurz Austria Benetton-Playlife 6 laps completed
Pedro Diniz Brazil Sauber-Petronas did not start
Mika Salo Finland Sauber-Petronas did not start
Fastest lap: Michael Schumacher Ferrari-Ferrari 1min 14.755secs