Pedro Diniz is left on the grid at the start of the parade lap and so has to start at the back of the grid. Before the race can be started, however, Alexander Wurz suffers engine failure in his Benetton and the start has to be aborted. As the...
Pedro Diniz is left on the grid at the start of the parade lap and so has to start at the back of the grid. Before the race can be started, however, Alexander Wurz suffers engine failure in his Benetton and the start has to be aborted. As the Benetton spare car is set up for Giancarlo Fisichella, it looks as though the Austrian will not be able to start. Diniz is able to take his usual position on the grid as a result of Wurz's misfortune.
At the start Michael Schumacher gets into the lead with Jarno Trulli second but almost immediately the race is stopped because of a suspected computer error in the starting software. Red flags are not shown around the circuit, apart from at the start-finish line. As a result there is an accident at the Grand Hotel hairpin when Pedro de la Rosa tries to drive around the outside of Jenson Button and the BMW Williams driver does not have the steering lock to avoid tapping the Arrows into a spin. This creates a traffic jam with several cars stopped and others having nudged into those in front. The race is stopped.
Button, Ricardo Zonta, Nick Heidfeld, Pedro Diniz and Marc Gene have to run back for spare cars. Gaston Mazzacane and Jacques Villeneuve are able to drive back while Pedro de la Rosa had no car available after his accident in the warm-up. Zonta and Diniz are able to start from the grid as the teams take the cars out before the pitlane closes. Wurz, Button, Gene and Heidfeld have to start from the pits.
Lap 1: At the start Michael Schumacher goes ahead again with Trulli second ahead of David Coulthard, Heinz-Harald Frentzen and Mika Hakkinen. Ralf Schumacher makes a great start to grab sixth from ninth position on the grid.
Lap 5: Schumacher sets five consecutive fastest laps to build himself a lead of nearly six seconds after five laps while Coulthard remains caught behind Trulli and Hakkinen has a similar problem with Frentzen.
Lap 11: Schumacher's lead is 11 seconds while the first overtaking manoeuvre takes place at the back of the field when Wurz passes Gaston Mazzacane.
Lap 17: Button retires with an electrical problem.
Lap 19: Schumacher is 20 seconds ahead while in the midfield. Eddie Irvine passes Johnny Herbert for 10th place. At the back of the field Wurz crashed at Ste Devote.
Lap 22: Marc Gene retires his Minardi with a suspected gearbox problem. Moments later Mazzacane crashes at Ste Devote.
Lap 27: Herbert pits unexpectedly and the Jaguar crew is taken by surprise. Herbert loses considerable time and drops to the tail of the field.
Lap 30: As Schumacher takes his lead beyond the half minute mark, Alesi disappears with a mechanical problem, leaving seventh place to Rubens Barrichello.
Lap 31: Pedro Diniz hits the barrier at Ste Devote and damages his left rear wheel. He has to retire.
Lap 36: Mika Hakkinen slows with a problem and goes into the pits. The car is worked on but he loses nearly a minute and rejoins in 14th place.
Lap 37: Trulli drops out of second place with a mechanical problem.
Lap 38: Schumacher's lead goes out to 36 seconds but as Coulthard no longer has Trulli in front of him he is able to attack and begins to close the gap. Ralf Schumacher crashes heavily at Ste Devote and suffers a deep cut to his left leg. He is taken to hospital for stitches. The incidents leave Schumacher leading Coulthard, Frentzen, Barrichello, Giancarlo Fisichella and Irvine.
Lap 41: Jos Verstappen is the first man to stop.
Lap 49: Michael Schumacher is the first frontrunner to pit. He rejoins still in the lead. On the same lap Ricardo Zonta spins into the wall at Ste Devote.
Lap 51: Fisichella pits earlier than planned because of a slow puncture.
Lap 55: Coulthard is the last of the frontrunners to pit but as he rejoins Schumacher suffers a left rear suspension failure caused by a broken exhaust damaging the carbonfibre suspension. He has to complete an entire lap before pitting but the car is too badly damaged to be repaired. Coulthard takes the lead with Frentzen second but under pressure from Barrichello. Fisichella is fourth with Irvine fifth and Mika Salo sixth. Mika Hakkinen is in seventh place and catching Salo.
Lap 61: Jos Verstappen spins out of ninth place at Tabac while under pressure from Heidfeld. Hakkinen catches Salo but cannot pass him.
Lap 71: Frentzen makes a mistake at Ste Devote and hits the barrier, breaking his rear suspension. Barrichello moves into second place with Fisichella behind him. Irvine is fourth with Salo under pressure for fifth from Hakkinen.
Lap 74: Hakkinen slows with a problem but is far enough ahead of Jacques Villeneuve's BAR to keep sixth place.