At the start of the race, it was Hakkinen that got away well. Frentzen didn't get away as well, whilst Mika Salo made a storming start and was up to 2nd place by the first corner. By the first corner the race was over for Diniz and Villeneuve.
At the start of the race, it was Hakkinen that got away well. Frentzen didn't get away as well, whilst Mika Salo made a storming start and was up to 2nd place by the first corner. By the first corner the race was over for Diniz and Villeneuve. Someone touched the rear of Villeneuve, punting him into Diniz and both collected the wall. Coulthard, meanwhile, was up to 3rd, whilst Frentzen was down to fourth, with Irvine behind, only to see Barrichello get by and drop back to 6th. Trulli retired, whilst Jean Alesi made an unscheduled stop.
Hakkinen continued to lead from Salo, and keep a second or so over him, but didn't do much in the way of opening a gap. Coulthard, meanwhile, was all over the back of Salo. Marc Gene had a leery off, but managed to rejoin the track behind Luca Badoer. On lap 3, the order was Hakkinen, Salo, Coulthard, Frentzen, Barrichello and Irvine, with Schumacher jr, Wurz, Fisichella, Hill and Trulli following. Herbert had already made up several places and was running in 12th from 17th on the grid.
Coulthard continued to push Salo hard, whilst he was to soon have a new problem on his hands, with Barrichello getting by Frentzen and was soon up to the Scot. Fisichella pitted very early at the end of lap 3. Whilst the top 4 battled hard, Eddie Irvine was not making much progress and was actually dropping back from the front runners. Barrichello's progress too was soon hindered when he started to slow down, and pulled into the pits to retire. He later reported that he lost a gear, then the hydraulics and throttle. He coasted back to the pits on minimum tickover revs. Further down the pack, Hill was battling with Johnny Herbert, and almost collected Panis in the drama. Fisichella retired from the running very early in the race.
Suddenly, Irvine woke up and got a spurt of speed, as he started to catch the Jordan of Frentzen. Zonta and Zanardi were having a little battle of their own, Zonta took Zanardi only for Zanardi to take the place back again. Coulthard's battle with Salo, meanwhile, took a turn for the worse, as the Scot clipped the rear of Salo and removed the left end plate and winglet from the McLaren. Coulthard was soon into the pits for a new nose, he was turned around in 15 seconds, and rejoined the race in 11th, just ahead of Zonta. Jarno Trulli had a bad day, and pulled off the track with a blown Peugeot.
On lap 13, Hill managed to outbrake himself and went off the track, but kept it together long enough to rejoin in his efforts to get by Wurz. Hill soon pitted and the team were not ready for him. He retired from the race, and later said that the new material the brakes were made of didn't suit him. Eddie Irvine was now fully awake and all over the back of Frentzen. On lap 14, Ricardo Zonta made a very early stop and was turned around in 23 seconds. Meanwhile, Wurz took Herbert, whilst Coulthard had a very lurid moment taking Panis over the curbs. Tora Takagi's Arrows blew up and the Japanese drive pulled off to retire. Sauber was the first driver to stop with a planned incident free 2 stop strategy, and was turned around in 7.7 seconds.
By lap 18, Coulthard was all over the back of Herbert, whilst the Prost of Panis (which was close behind) pealed into the pits on a 2 stop strategy. Johnny Herbert, meanwhile, took Wurz, whilst Coulthard found himself stuck behind Wurz and Herbert. A rare sight was now visible on the track, with de la Rosa taking the Williams of Zanardi, only for Badoer to take Zanardi was well. The Minardi of Gene didn't do the same, and pulled into the pits for a stop. Frentzen took a calculated gamble and came in for an early 1 stopper and rejoined the race in 5th place. Ricardo Zonta, meanwhile, continued BARs bad luck with a seized rear end, punting the car off at right angles to the track. The Williams of Zanardi retired, hopefully reducing the embarrassment to the team of seeing their cars being overtook by Arrows and Minardi...
The Ferrari of Irvine pitted and was turned around in 9.4 seconds, and managed to rejoin ahead of Frentzen, whilst Salo pitted on lap 24 and rejoined ahead of Irvine. Herbert pitted and was turned around in 11.3s, and rejoined with Wurz following in the pits. Hakkinen then pitted from the lead, with only 11 seconds over Salo. The fuel nozzle for Hakkinen's car, however, did not want to play ball, and the team hurriedly had to get Coulthard's equipment, resulting in a 24 second stop and Mika Salo getting the lead, and Hakkinen back in 4th place.
To compound McLaren's misery Coulthard was awarded a 10 second stop-go penalty. Hakkinen, meanwhile, was now down to business and crawling all over the back of Frentzen and finally took him in a beautifully executed move. Somewhere, Irvine took Salo, unseen by all cameras it appears. Whilst everyone was wondering how it all happened, suddenly Hakkinen was off the track and into the wall at turn 1. All that was visible was bits of carbon fibre spewing out the back and Hakkinen coming at the camera... Initially it looked like rear wing failure, though it later became apparent that it was a tyre failure which in turn destroyed the rear wing.
Alesi and Panis made their 2nd stops, and when Panis rejoined he made a beautiful move around the outside of Wurz. On lap 35, the order was Irvine, Salo, Frentzen, Schumacher jr, Coulthard, Herbert, Panis, Wurz and Alesi. Pedro de la Rosa was now out of the race, going off at T1 when he outbraked himself. Coulthard had to make a late splash-and-dash and rejoined behind Panis, but ahead of Wurz. Wurz tried to retake him, and from the pit exit to Ostkurve the pair were side by side all the way! This was a spectacular sight, and finally David just got the place, and made his way to 5th by the end of the race. After an impressive race, where Herbert had moved from 17th to 5th, he kept up his record by retiring. The Jordan of Frentzen, meanwhile, was eating chunks out of the Ferrari's, and looked to be a real threat all the way to the end of the race. In the end, it was Irvine that won from Salo, with Frentzen just behind.
1.Irvine 2.Salo 3.Frentzen 4.Ralf Schumacher 5.Coulthard 6.Panis