Italian GP 1998

Italian GP, 1998

Michael Schumacher took pole position at Monza, an amazing feat given the poor performance of the Ferrari team at Hockenheim a few weeks earlier. This was put down to better Goodyear tyres. There had been a lot of rain during the practice days which meant that everyone was struggling with set-up during the qualifying session. McLaren found that it had the wrong gear ratios and that the Bridgestone tyres were not working well and this meant that Mika Hakkinen and David Coulthard were third and fourth on the grid behind Schumacher and Jacques Villeneuve, who once again found that the Williams was very good in high-speed corners. Eddie Irvine was fifth and Ralf Schumacher sixth in his Jordan.

On the day of the race Schumacher made a poor start and was overtaken by both McLarens, Irvine and Villeneuve. Hakkinen had barged Jacques out of the way and this meant that the Williams was behind Coulthard and Irvine as well. Jacques was pushed back to fifth later on the first lap as Schumacher began to charge. On the second lap Irvine let Schumacher up to third.

The McLarens had built a lead of four seconds but suddenly on lap eight Coulthard went ahead and Hakkinen began to drop backwards towards Schumacher. Further back Damon Hill, who had qualified fourteenth on the grid, was able to charge up to fifth place in the course of the first 14 laps having decided on a light fuel load.

Coulthard quickly built a lead of 10secs over Hakkinen but on lap 17 David's engine suddenly blew up. Hakkinen and Schumacher arrived at the second chicane in a cloud of oil smoke and both had to slow down. There was a scramble to get back onto the power and Schumacher managed to get ahead. Once in the lead Michael stayed ahead while Hakkinen faded badly at the end of his first stint.

All the leading cars except Hill were on one-stop strategies and, with Schumacher able to stay ahead, there was little hope for Hakkinen to retake the lead. Mika charged hard but then made a mistake and spun. He rejoined but was in trouble with his brakes. Irvine and Ralf Schumacher were both able to pass him before the finish. Villeneuve's race had by then ended with a mistake at the Lesmo Corner.

Ferrari fans celebrated the team's first 1-2 finish at Monza for 10 years and Schumacher left knowing that with two races to go he was equal on points to Hakkinen. The World Championship could go either way.

Michael Schumacher Ferrari  53 1h17m09.672  1m25.289 
Eddie Irvine Ferrari  53 37.977  1m26.159 
10 Ralf Schumacher Jordan-Mugen Honda  53 41.152  1m26.309 
Mika Hakkinen McLaren-Mercedes  53 55.671  1m25.679 
14 Jean Alesi Sauber-Petronas  53 1m01.872  1m26.637 
Damon Hill Jordan-Mugen Honda  53 1m06.688  1m27.362 14 
Heinz-Harald Frentzen Williams-Mecachrome  52 1 Lap  1m26.836 12 
Giancarlo Fisichella Benetton-Playlife  52 1 Lap  1m26.817 11 
20 Toranosuke Takagi Tyrrell-Ford  52 1 Lap  1m28.346 19 
10 18 Rubens Barrichello Stewart-Ford  52 1 Lap  1m27.247 13 
11 22 Esteban Tuero Minardi-Ford  51 2 Laps  1m29.417 22 
12 21 Ricardo Rosset Tyrrell-Ford  51 2 Laps  1m28.286 18 
13 12 Jarno Trulli Prost-Peugeot  50 3 Laps  1m26.794 10 
19 Jan Magnussen Stewart-Ford  39 Gearbox 1m28.212 17 
Jacques Villeneuve Williams-Mecachrome  37 Spin 1m25.561 
17 Mika Salo Arrows  32 Throttle 1m27.744 16 
Alexander Wurz Benetton-Playlife  24 Clutch 1m26.567 
David Coulthard McLaren-Mercedes  16 Engine 1m25.987 
11 Olivier Panis Prost-Peugeot  15 Handling 1m26.681 
23 Shinji Nakano Minardi-Ford  13 Engine 1m29.101 21 
15 Johnny Herbert Sauber-Petronas  12 Spin 1m27.510 15 
16 Pedro Diniz Arrows  10 Spin 1m28.387 20