Brazilian GP 1998

Brazilian GP, 1998

The F1 teams spent an unpleasant weekend trading blows over the legality of different electronic systems. Ferrari claimed that McLaren, Williams and Jordan were running a brake-steer system which they felt was illegal, despite the fact that the FIA Technical Department had ruled that this was acceptable. The FIA stewards finally decided that the FIA Technical Department was wrong and declared that McLaren's brake-steer system was illegal.

The brake-steer system enabled the drivers to negociate corners with only one tire being braked rather than both, thus enabling them to get round the corners much faster.

Ferrari won the political battle over brake-steer but the McLaren men dealt the Italian team another psychological blow when Mika Hakkinen (without the system) qualified a full second ahead of the nearest non-McLaren challenger which was Williams's Heinz-Harald Frentzen. Michael Schumacher was fourth fastest in his Ferrari while Alexander Wurz impressed with fifth place in his Benetton.

Ferrari's discomfort was added to in the race as the McLarens took off into the lead once again and quickly established themselves at the front of the field with a five second advantage by the end of the third lap. Hakkinen then pulled away from David Coulthard, who had little reason to chase, knowing that Hakkinen was now the team's designated winner.

Michael Schumacher had made a bad start and had to thread his way up to fourth place by lap 10 - aided by Irvine who moved out of his way. He then began to attack Frentzen's Williams. Both drivers were on two-stop strategies and, when they stopped, Schumacher managed to get ahead despite stalling in the pits. Intelligence and speedy work by the Ferrari mechanics meant that he lost almost nothing although Wurz, on a one-stop strategy, was ahead of Michael on the road.

The only runners apart from Wurz on one-stop strategies were the two McLarens and they won as they pleased - despite drops of rain in the closing laps of the race. Coulthard showed that he could keep up with Hakkinen by closing right up to his team-mate in the closing laps and crossed the line a second behind the Finn. When Wurz finally came into the pits he lost third to Schumacher and the German was able to lap fast enough to guarantee himself the position, despite having to stop again. He finished a minute behind the McLarens and seven seconds ahead of Wurz. Frentzen and Fisichella completed the top six.

Mika Hakkinen McLaren-Mercedes  72 1h37m11.747s  
David Coulthard McLaren-Mercedes  72 1h37m12.849s  
Michael Schumacher Ferrari  72 1h38m12.297s  
Alexander Wurz Benetton-Playlife  72 1h38m19.200s  
Heinz-Harald Frentzen Williams-Mecachrome  71  
Giancarlo Fisichella Benetton-Playlife  71  
Jacques Villeneuve Williams-Mecachrome  71  10 
Eddie Irvine Ferrari  71  
14 Jean Alesi Sauber-Petronas  71  15 
dq Damon Hill Jordan-Mugen Honda  70 Below Weight Limit 11 
10 19 Jan Magnussen Stewart-Ford  70  16 
11r 15 Johnny Herbert Sauber-Petronas  67 Driver 14 
11 Olivier Panis Prost-Peugeot  63 Engine 
18 Rubens Barrichello Stewart-Ford  56 Gearbox 13 
20 Toranosuke Takagi Tyrrell-Ford  52 Gearbox 21 
23 Shinji Nakano Minardi-Ford  44 Gearbox 19 
16 Pedro Diniz Arrows  26 Transmission 22 
21 Ricardo Rosset Tyrrell-Ford  19 Engine 17 
17 Mika Salo Arrows  18 Engine 20 
12 Jarno Trulli Prost-Peugeot  17 Fuel Pressure 12 
22 Esteban Tuero Minardi-Ford  Spun Off 18 
10 Ralf Schumacher Jordan-Mugen Honda  Spun Off