Sunday 12 July 1998 Sunday race RACE FACTS At the start of the race Mika Hakkinen makes the fastest start with Michael Schumacher and David Coulthard on his tail and Jean Alesi fourth after a sensational start from eighth on the grid. The...
Sunday 12 July 1998
At the start of the race Mika Hakkinen makes the fastest start with Michael Schumacher and David Coulthard on his tail and Jean Alesi fourth after a sensational start from eighth on the grid. The two Williams completed the top six with Jacques Villeneuve ahead of Heinz-Harald Frentzen. Eddie Irvine makes a very bad start and drops to 10th place. He begins to charge back and in the early laps passes Alexander Wurz and Johnny Herbert.
On lap five Coulthard passes Schumacher at Abbey Corner to take second place. On the same lap Frentzen passes Villeneuve to take fifth place. Irvine continues his charge through the field and passes Damon Hill and Jacques Villeneuve on lap 8. He then chases after Frentzen and passes the German on lap 12. Up at the front the two McLarens are able to stay ahead of Schumacher while Alesi runs a steady race in fourth.
On lap 14 the rain intensifies and Frentzen spins off and Hill makes a mistake and also retires. Most of the field pits for new tyres but this changes little except that Irvine is able to get past Alesi during his stop. The only runner not to pit is Johnny Herbert who moves up to fourth but is passed by Irvine and then comes under pressure from Alesi.
The conditions continue to deteriorate and on lap 26 Herbert spins out. Mika Salo also retires and in the laps which follow Ricardo Rosset and Esteban Tuero also spin off. Up at the front Hakkinen and Coulthard move around 10secs ahead of Schumacher with Irvine a distant fourth. Alesi continues in fifth while Ralf Schumacher has completed a remarkable drive through the field to take sixth. Ralf has to pit again on lap 35 and drops behind the two Benettons.
Hakkinen continues to pull away and he and Coulthard have a lead of over half a minute to Schumacher's Ferrari. Conditions deteriorate just before the second pit stops and the first victim is Coulthard who spins out on lap 38. Also spinning out were Jos Verstappen and Jarno Trulli, followed by Rubens Barrichello and Olivier Panis. On lap 42 Hakkinen goes off at high-speed at Bridge Corner and damages the front wings of the car.
Two laps later the Safety Car is sent out. Schumacher is able to catch back the 40 seconds he has lost to Hakkinen. The race restarts at the end of lap 49 and Schumacher is right behind Hakkinen. The Finn tries to defend his position but goes off at Becketts and loses the lead. Schumacher pulls away at the front but in the final laps is given a time penalty (overtaking under a stationary yellow flag) by the stewards and pits on the very last lap, winning the race in the pitlane.
Hakkinen struggles home second with Irvine third, while Wurz and Fisichella give Benetton fourth and fifth places a lap down and Ralf Schumacher scores Jordan's first point of the year in sixth position.