Sunday 30th September 2001
Mika Hakkinen’s last win before he retired came in front of 170,000 spectators at the US Grand Prix. “This was one grand prix I wanted in my record book,” he said. “A wonderful win. It’s incredible and I’m very happy.” Hakkinen’s day started badly when his McLaren was demoted from second to fourth on the grid after exiting the pit lane under a red light, but after early domination by the Ferraris, a slick pit-stop strategy enabled him to go on to take the chequered flag. Coming three weeks after the 9/11 attacks, it was an emotional day. Michael Schumacher, who drove with a Stars and Stripes emblem on his helmet, had seriously been considering retirement from F1 because of the emotional trauma he found himself in after the attacks.
It was also the final race as a full-time TV commentator for Murray Walker. At the end he was presented with a rare gift: an original brick from the Indianapolis track (‘The Brickyard’).