German Grand Prix 1998 Home win Before the start there was drama for Fisichella, as his car sprung an oil leak. The only option was the spare car, which was set up for the lanky Wurz... Also, just prior to the start was a few spots of drizzle.
German Grand Prix 1998 Home win
Before the start there was drama for Fisichella, as his car sprung an oil leak. The only option was the spare car, which was set up for the lanky Wurz... Also, just prior to the start was a few spots of drizzle. The forecast was 80% chance of rain during the race...
At the start the rain had stopped (it never really got going at all). Hakkinen took the lead, with Coulthard second, with the Jordans of Ralf and Hill in 3rd and 4th. Schumacher made good progress from his grid position, and was up to the Villeneuve/Irvine battle for 5th. Schumachers progress was even more creditable as he had to avoid a poor starting Wurz on the grid.
Diniz was the first casualty, who retired on lap 2. At the front Ralf was pushing the McLaren twins hard for 2nd. Hill was further back, and soon it became clear the German was on a 2 stop strategy against Hills 1 stopper. Schumacher soon made short work of Irvine and set of for Villeneuve. Olivier Panis was then rewarded with a 10 second penalty for jumping the start. The stewards did this quickly and efficiently...
By lap 10 Ralf was bearing down well on the McLarens with the team putting out Push boards. It was soon to be for nothing, as Ralf pitted and was effectively out of the pack for the rest of the afternoon. Villeneuve was making excellent progress in 3rd place, pushing Coulthard hard, and he in turn was pushing Hakkinen. Was there a problem for Hakkinen?
Hill and Villeneuve pitted at the same time, but Villeneuves stop went well, and so no progress was possible for Hill. Schumacher soon pitted from 5th and rejoined in 7th. Hakkinen made his stop without drama, and the following lap Coulthard pitted as well. Coulthard had pushed hard during the lap to build a buffer, but it was all for nothing as when he pitted he overshot and valuable seconds were lost before refuelling and fitting new tyres could commence. Result? Hakkinen retook the lead.
The leaders were on the tailenders, and picking them off. For a short while this played into Villeneuves hands, but the McLarens made better work overall of the overtaking, and so they regained a small advantage. Things were not well at McLaren, with a problem for one of the cars. Initially it was thought that Coulthard hadn't got enough fuel on board, only for it turn out to be Hakkinen with the problem. A change of fuel mixture and he was settled, even if Coulthard couldn't (for whatever reason) do anything about it.
It couldn't have come at a worse time, as the Williams of Villeneuve was taking huge chunks out of their lead, up to .5 seconds a sector, with only a 3 second lead! A real battle was in place, only for traffic to intervine, preventing much more progress for the Canadian - for a while. With a couple of laps to go the Williams team were ready for a stop for Villeneuve, the Canadian reporting problems with the rear of the car. In the end he didn't stop, but backed off a little and finished a comfortable third. Schumacher, in a truly evil handling car, almost lost it at the end, but kept it together for 5th, behind Hill, but ahead of his little brother.
1.Hakkinen 2.Coulthard 3.Villeneuve 4.Hill 5.Schumacher 6.R Schumacher 7.Fisichella 8.Irvine 9.Frentzen 10.Alesi 11.Wurz 12.Trulli 13.Takagi 14.Salo 15.Panis 16.Tuero
-- 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