Canadian Grand Prix 1998 Wacky Races revisited In the wake of the ongoing discussion as to whether F1 is just too boring this race was something of a tonic. BCE must have been pleased with this! At the start Coulthard got away in the lead,...
Canadian Grand Prix 1998 Wacky Races revisited
In the wake of the ongoing discussion as to whether F1 is just too boring this race was something of a tonic. BCE must have been pleased with this!
At the start Coulthard got away in the lead, with Schumacher taking Hakkinen for 2nd. Schumacher then started on Coulthard. It all proved academic, as behind Ralf had stalled on the grid, whilst Wurz, Trulli and both Saubers found themselves in a tremendous heap. Wurz had gone over the curb after being a little too daring, collecting Alesi, with Trulli and Herbert also becoming involved. Out went the red flag. Initially it looked like Herbert would be the only one not to start again, as the others had the spare set up for them, whilst Sauber only had one spare. Thankfully Herbert's car was fixed and he was able to take the restart.
Come the second start Coulthard again went into the lead, with Fisichella up to 2nd, whilst Ralf Schumacher had a spin, with Alesi, Trulli and a Benetton collided. Hakkinen was also in trouble, with his car massively slowing. The safety car came out, and the field gathered behind. Hakkinen was back in the pits, whilst Ronzo was hoping for a red flag, but global television waits for no man. Irvine was now into the pits with a shredded left rear tyre. It was reported that Hakkinen had lost his gears, and from the on car camera it was seen that Hakkinen was trying to get gears that clearly were not wanting to be in place.
The race restarted on Lap 5, with Coulthard flying and trying to pull away from Schumacher, who had sensed blood. Barrichelo was one of the revelations of the race taking Frentzen in a blinding move. The McLaren-Ferrari pair were at it hammer and tongs at the front and Coulthard was under big pressure. Barrichelo continued to make progress, taking Villeneuve for 4th, whilst the sister car of Magnussen was in 8th and fighting Hill for 7th, whilst Hill was catching Frentzen
Schumacher at this stage was looking a little ragged, but soon recovered. Then came one of the most bizarre incidents ever. Diniz had a minor spin, but collected enough turf in his front splitter to do a front garden. Fair enough, but then he started to lay it all over the island. Out came the safety car...
The race restarted on lap 17, and Coulthard and Schumacher were pulling away from the pack at some 4 seconds a lap. Then suddenly Coulthard slowed massively and pulled to the pits. On the track Salo and Herbert collided spreading rubbish all over the track again. Would there be a safety car again? Does night follow day...
Schumacher took advantage of the situation and pitted, on his way out the Wacky Races restarted. Schumacher was making a rather bold move on a safety car slowed field, and pushed Frentzen out of the way and out of the race. Eventually the race restarted with Fisichella leading the race from Villeneuve. Villeneuve sensed glory, and went for a move on Fisi, went straight over the track, into the gravel and almost collided with a Minardi. The Tuero's Minardi went off and was badly damaged. By the time Villeneuve made it back to the pits he was minus a rear wing, and having a new front fitted as well.
The order was now Fisichella, Schumacher, Hill, Magnussen, Panis, Nakano, Wurz, Irvine, Barrichelo, Rosset, Tuero and Diniz. At this stage it was thought that Villeneuve had retired, but many laps later he rejoined the race. Panis was racing hard with Magnussen, and went rather wide at the chicane. Then it was announced that Schumacher had been awarded a stop-go penalty for his move on Frentzen. In he came, and Hill was up to 2nd. Schumacher rejoined the race in 3rd, with Diniz (a lap down) ahead of him.
Schumacher then made his job to get past Hill, and tracked him down, and made a rather bold move at the pits chicane, and went over it. It looked like he faced another penalty, but somehow escaped... Hill then made his routine stop, whilst Panis retired apparantly from a car breakage and span off. Hill rejoined the track, and then slowed massively, he managed to get back to the pits. The team suspected an electrics problem, and tried to reset them. Unfortunately it didn't work, and Hill soon retired out on the track.
Rosset was now being lapped by Fisichella, and he wasn't exactly generous with the space he offered. Fisichella made a very late one stop race, at lap 44 of a 69 lap race, with Schumacher still to make another. It looked like it may just work out for him. However, Schumacher pulled out a commanding string of fastest laps, so when he pitted he just rejoined ahead of him. The dead was done, and Fisichella couldn't keep up with the newly shod Ferrari, and so onto the finish, where Schumacher took a victory.
It had to be said that the majority of drivers didn't exactly do the image of the sport any favours this weekend, and whilst highly entertaining it all looked rather foolish. Only a few drivers escaped with their dignity intact, of which Oliver Gavin deserved the most praise.
1.Michael Schumacher 2.Fisichella 3.Irvine 4.Wurz 5.Barrichello 6.Magnussen 7.Nakano 8.Rosset 9.Diniz 10.Villeneuve -- Stephen M Baines
"[The Autosport sticker] started to peel off in the middle of Eau Rouge and it distracted me. In fact it was the first thing to hit the barrier" Tiff Needell - Jaguar XJR-15 Challenge - Interview with Autosport
-------------------------- NetAxis -------------------------- NetAxis is MNI's ISP of choice at the Canadian Grand Prix '98 ---- Montreal -- Toronto -- 514-482-8989 -- 888-482-8989 ---- ----------------- http://www.netaxis.ca/ --------------------