Scot David Coulthard won the British Grand Prix for the second successive year here Sunday
Timely 1-2 for McLaren as Coulthard wins at Silverstone

SILVERSTONE, England, April 23 (AFP) - Scot David Coulthard won the British Grand Prix for the second successive year here Sunday to give McLaren-Mercedes a belated first win of the season.

Finland's reigning world champion Mike Hakkinen made it a timely 1-2 for McLaren, 1.4sec behind, with current title leader Michael Schumacher, in a Ferrari, almost 20sec back in third.

Ralf Schumacher was fourth followed by fellow Williams BMW driver Jenson Button, with Jarno Trulli sixth in Jordan's 150th race.

Coulthard, registering his 7th career win, became the first Briton to complete back-to-back victories at Silverstone since Nigel Mansell in 1992 as he re-ignited his championship bid.

He lies second in the title hunt, 20 points behind Schumacher with 13 races left. Hakkinen is sitting third.

Coulthard said: "I feel fantastic. This is a great feeling to win your home race two years in a row.

"I developed a small gearbox problem and was beginning to prepare myself for a cry at what might happen, but fortunately the car got home.

"I thought I was going to be stuck behind Rubens until the stop, but he made a small mistake.

"I got it right and got a run on him and remembered Nigel Mansell's move on (Nelson) Piquet a few years ago and thought I'd give it a go.

"I am confident going to Barcelona. We have always gone well on that circuit. It will be close with Ferrari, but there is no reason why we can't win that race."

Schumacher reflected: "I tried the opportunity to go through grass which you can normally do here, but because of the rain I was just spinning and going nowhere.

"I lost momentum and then saw Button go past me; then Villeneuve, then Ralf. I had a good fight with him for the first few corners but I had to back off because he seemed keen to close the door and I did not want a clash with my brother.

"I ran for most of the race in eighth and was wondering how many points I could lose to the other guys, so it has worked out well finishing third. I am very happy with that."

The top three went with a one-stop strategy for the race which was essentially decided at the start when Schumacher was unable to pass the McLarens who started in the row ahead of him.

Rubens Barrichello, in the second Ferrari, had pole and Schumacher started from fifth, his worst grid position of the season.

At the start Schumacher went on the grass to try to pass the McLarens ahead of him and had to back off and dropped to eighth.

That made him lose about a second to Barrichello and the McLarens up in front. By 20 laps he was about 20 seconds behind Barrichello with the top six tightly grouped within four seconds of each other.

Coulthard passed Barrichello to take the lead at the end of the 31st lap but gave the lead back two laps later when the pits stops began.

However Barrichello's return to the lead was short-lived. On the 35th lap Barrichello had a hydraulic problem that caused him to spin out. He went into the wet grass, splashing through puddles. He came in and stalled. His race was over.

By that time Schumacher had moved up to second because of the others ahead of him pitting and he inherited the lead. He finally went in for fuel and tires at the and dropped to sixth on the 40th lap behind the two McLarens, Heinz-Harald Frentzen and the two Williams-BMWs.

However, Frentzen and the Williams-BMS had to pit again and Frentzen eventually went out of the race.

Coulthard returned to the lead by the end of the 46th lap and Hakkinen was second, 10.5 seconds behind.

Although Hakkinen cut the gap in the final 10 laps, Coulthard led the rest of the way for the victory.

Schumacher crashed here last year and broke his leg in two places and missed six races.

After days of rain, the race was done in bright sunshine.

Rain plagued the practices and qualifications and then fog came on Sunday morning. The 30-minute warm-up went off more than 90 minutes late because the safety helicopter was unable to take off.

The warm-up was scheduled earlier than usual because of the one-hour time difference between Britain and the rest of Europe.

All the other European races begin at 2 p.m. local time. The British Grand Prix started at 1 p.m. to coincide with the usual starting time of the rest of the European schedule.