British GP 1998

British GP, 1998

Having been beaten at Magny-Cours McLaren needed a win at Silverstone and Mika Hakkinen took pole position by nearly half a second. But Michael Schumacher's Ferrari was there in second place and David Coulthard was in no position to help out Hakkinen as he was down in fourth on the grid behind World Champion Jacques Villeneuve - sporting purple hair for the first time. With Heinz-Harald Frentzen only three-tenths slower Williams looked quite competitive. Damon Hill showed well in front of his home crowd and qualified seventh, and then came the two Saubers looking better than normal, with Jean Alesi ahead of Johnny Herbert.

The weather was bad on Sunday and the track was damp when the race started. Hakkinen got away well with Schumacher and Coulthard on his tail while Alesi made a sensational start to be fourth at the first corner. Irvine, on the other hand, ended up down in 10th, having qualified in fifth position. After five laps Coulthard was able to show McLaren's supremacy once again as he passed Schumacher to take second place. Further back Irvine carved his way through the field to get up to fifth place by lap 12.

The rain intensified and several drivers spun out. Most of them stopped for wet tyres and during the pits stops Irvine was able to get ahead of Alesi. The conditions continued to deteriorate but the two McLarens stayed ahead of the two Ferraris while Ralf Schumacher moved into sixth after a remarkable drive through the field in his Jordan.

The rain became worse and worse and just before the second pit stops Coulthard spun out. A few laps later Hakkinen went off at high-speed at Bridge Corner, damaging the front wings of the car. He could still drive the damaged car, but it was slower than it had been. He had a 40secs advantage so there was still hope.

At that moment a Safety Car was sent out and the whole field bunched up behind Hakkinen. At the restart Schumacher went ahead. Hakkinen went off again trying to keep the Ferrari behind him.

Schumacher pulled away and then received a signal to indicate that he had been given a penalty for overtaking under yellow flags (which prohibit such manoeuvres) during the Safety Car period. The issuing of the penalty, coming so late in the day, was bungled by the stewards and the Ferrari tacticians took advantage of this by ignoring the order and bringing Michael in on the last lap. He therefore won the race in the pit lane when he was coming in for the penalty, which could not now be carried out since the race was over. It was thus impossible for the stewards to take away the win. The stewards had to withdraw the penalty and they later handed in their licences.

Michael Schumacher Ferrari  60 1h47m02.450s  
Mika Hakkinen McLaren-Mercedes  60 1h47m24.915s  
Eddie Irvine Ferrari  60 1h47m31.649s  
Alexander Wurz Benetton-Playlife  59  12 
Giancarlo Fisichella Benetton-Playlife  59  11 
10 Ralf Schumacher Jordan-Mugen Honda  59  10 
Jacques Villeneuve Williams-Mecachrome  59  
22 Esteban Tuero Minardi-Ford  58  21 
21 Ricardo Rosset Tyrrell-Ford  56  19 
14 Jean Alesi Sauber-Petronas  53 Electrics 
16 Pedro Diniz Arrows  45 Spun Off 13 
11 Olivier Panis Prost-Peugeot  40 Spun Off 16 
18 Rubens Barrichello Stewart-Ford  39 Spun Off 18 
19 Jos Verstappen Stewart-Ford  38 Engine 17 
David Coulthard McLaren-Mercedes  37 Spun Off 
12 Jarno Trulli Prost-Peugeot  37 Spun Off 15 
20 Toranosuke Takagi Tyrrell-Ford  29 Spun Off 22 
23 Shinji Nakano Minardi-Ford  29 Spun Off 20 
15 Johnny Herbert Sauber-Petronas  27 Spun Off 
17 Mika Salo Arrows  27 Spun Off 14 
Heinz-Harald Frentzen Williams-Mecachrome  15 Spun Off 
Damon Hill Jordan-Mugen Honda  13 Spun Off