Italian GP Report

Italian Grand Prix 1998 At the start Schumacher was expected to take the lead. That wasn't to happen. Hakkinen and Coulthard stormed through into first and second, Irvine got ahead of Schumacher as well. After a little while, Schumacher took...

Italian Grand Prix 1998

At the start Schumacher was expected to take the lead. That wasn't to happen. Hakkinen and Coulthard stormed through into first and second, Irvine got ahead of Schumacher as well. After a little while, Schumacher took care of Irvine. After a little while later, Coulthard took Hakkinen, presumably as he was on a different pit stop strategy.

The retirements started, notably Nakano having a major engine blow, and a fire. Herbert also retired, with a spanner in cockpit getting stuck under a peddle... Hill made good progress, and moved from 14th to 7th in just a few laps. When he pitted he rejoined in 10th. About the same time, Coulthard had a major drama when his engine let go. Hakkinen was now in the lead, but the scene was set for the Grand Prix. A few seconds later, Schumacher took Hakkinen for the lead. The McLaren's were not having a good weekend - at this a circuit they were expected to be invincible.

By lap 25 the order was Schumacher, Hakkinen, Irvine, Villeneuve, Ralf and Alesi. Behind them were Wurz, Fisichella, Frentzen, Hill, Salo and Verstappen.

Irvine had a few moments, including a brief excursion across the curbs. Damon Hill, meanwhile, was having a few moments. Schumacher soon pitted, and rejoined ahead of Irvine. Irvine soon pitted also. Hill was in determined mood, and tried to make a move on Frentzen. It didn't pay off. The German stuck to his line, whilst Hill had a brief off. A promising start for the future team mates!

On lap 35, Hakkinen pitted, and made a good stop. Schumacher now had the lead again. Villeneuve, meanwhile, was having a torrid time, after a promising qualifying. He span off the track and was out in what looked like a driver error. Hakkinen was now pushing Schumacher hard, and was in determined mood. It wasn't to pay off, the Finn span off the circuit backwards big time, but managed to recover and keep going. The car was now looking in terrible shape - though later McLaren were to say that the car was broken before the spin - and handled oddly from corner to corner. Irvine was also closing in fast, and made rapid progress on the Finn. He soon got by. Surely Hakkinen would keep 3rd? It wasn't to be, as Ralf Schumacher made progress and also made short work of him.

Not exactly the most thrilling of Grand Prixs, but the championship is now blown wide open, with Hakkinen and Schumacher on equal points...

1.Schumacher 2.Irvine 3.R Schumacher 4.Hakkinen 5.Alesi 6.Hill

by Stephen M Baines

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About this article
Series Formula 1
Drivers Damon Hill
Teams McLaren