Argentine GP 1998
APRIL 12, 1998
Argentine GP, 1998
After two dominant performances from the McLaren-Mercedes team there was little hope of a different result as the Formula 1 circus gathered in Buenos Aires for the third round of the World Championship. Mika Hakkinen and David Coulthard had both taken 10 days holiday between the races while desperate rivals Ferrari, Williams and Jordan rushed back to Europe for a few days of tyre testing in Barcelona. The Goodyear tyres were an improvement but Coulthard was still on pole with Bridgestone tyres. Michael Schumacher was four-tenths behind in his Ferrari, while Hakkinen made a mess of qualifying and ended up third. Eddie Irvine in the second Ferrari was fourth, ahead of the Jordan of Ralf Schumacher and Heinz-Harald Frentzen's Williams.
Coulthard led, with Hakkinen beating Schumacher into the first corner. Schumacher had chosen a two-stop strategy and his light fuel load enabled him to keep up with and force his way past Hakkinen. He then went after Coulthard. The Scot had a slight problem downchanging and this meant that he was drifting slightly wide at one corner; Schumacher saw this and on the fifth lap went for the gap, barging Coulthard out of the way. Coulthard was spun back into sixth place.
Once in the lead Schumacher was able to build a distance thanks to his light fuel load while Hakkinen had to struggle with a heavy fuel tank. When Schumacher pitted Hakkinen took the lead but, when he himself stopped at mid-distance, Michael was back at the front. The next few laps were vital as the lightweight Ferrari had to build enough of a distance to have his second stop and remain ahead: Schumacher did it and Hakkinen settled for second place. Coulthard's comeback was disrupted when he collided with Jacques Villeneuve's Williams which meant that Irvine was able to finish third, despite a collision with Alexander Wurz's Benetton.
Rain began to fall in the closing laps and there were various adventures up and down the field. Schumacher went off and bounced across a sandtrap but since Hakkinen had not bothered to give chase he was not close enough to take advantage and the Ferrari stayed ahead to win.
|8||9||Damon Hill||Jordan-Mugen Honda||71||9|
|r||1||Jacques Villeneuve||Williams-Mecachrome||52||Collision With Coultard||7|
|r||15||Johnny Herbert||Sauber-Petronas||46||Collision With Hill/puncture||12|
|r||10||Ralf Schumacher||Jordan-Mugen Honda||22||Spun Off||5|