Monaco Race Facts

Sunday 24 May 1998 Sunday race RACE FACTS _________________________________________________________________ At the start of the race the two McLaren drivers both make good starts and...

Sunday 24 May 1998 Sunday race RACE FACTS _________________________________________________________________ At the start of the race the two McLaren drivers both make good starts and they remain in grid position as the field funnels into Ste Devote corner. They are followed by Giancarlo Fisichella and Michael Schumacher. Further back Alexander Wurz makes a very good start to get ahead of Heinz-Harald Frentzen. The only accident victim on a busy first lap was Minardi's Esteban Tuero which hit the wall at Massenet. In the early laps the two McLarens pull quickly away from the field with Mika Hakkinen building up a lead of 3.2secs in the first four lap over David Coulthard although the Scotsman is able to pull away from the rest of the field which is led by Fisichella, although the Benetton driver is having to battle hard to hold on to fourth place with Schumacher trying everything to get ahead. The McLaren drivers set 12 fastest laps between them between lap four and lap 12 as they battle for supremacy. Coulthard closes the gap to get within two seconds of the leader but then Hakkinen reacts and begins to build the lead again. Behind them Fisichella finally manages to break clear of Schumacher. Further back Wurz is having a lonely race in fifth place. Behind him Frentzen runs sixth but he is under considerable pressure from Eddie Irvine. Irvine challenges at the Loews Hairpin on lap 10 and the two cars collide. Frentzen retires. By the seventeenth lap Hakkinen is 3.7secs ahead of Coulthard but on the next lap the pressure on the Finn is eased when David suffers an engine failure at the chicane. This leaves Hakkinen with a lead of nearly 20secs over Fisichella. The order remains unchanged until the pit stops begin on lap 30. The first to stop is Michael Schumacher. He is followe into the pits on lap 31 by Fisichella. This leaves Wurz in second position but under extreme pressure from Michael Schumacher, while Fisichella is back in fourth place. On lap 37 Hakkinen comes in for his scheduled pit stop and on the next lap Schumacher challenges Wurz at the Loews Hairpin. The young Austrian refuses to give way and retakes the place. As they dive into Portiers Schumacher challenges again and the two bang wheels side by side. Schumacher takes the position but the move damages his left rear suspension and he has to pit at the end of the lap. He rejoins three laps down but charges hard for the rest of the afternoon. The accident does not seem to affect Wurz. He pits for new tyres on lap 42 but on his first lap out of the pits he suffers a probable suspension failure in the tunnel and has a large accident, the car ending up hitting the tyre barriers at the chicane. Hakkinen maintains his 20sec lead over Fisichella with Irvine third half a minute behind the Benetton. Alesi has moved up to fourth with Mika Salo fifth and a lapped Jacques Villeneuve in sixth. Jean Alesi is the only major driver on a two-stop strategy and he pits again on lap 55. He rejoins behind Salo in fifth place and charges hard but retires with mechanical troubles with five laps to go. Fisichella closes to within 18secs of Hakkinen but on lap 57 he spins at Rascasse and loses another 12secs. In the closing laps Michael Schumacher unlaps himself but on the last lap he makes a mistake and collides with sixth-placed Pedro Diniz, removing his Ferrari's front wing. Both drivers are able to limp to the finishing line. Hakkinen duly wins by 11secs with Fisichella second and Irvine a distant third. Salo is the last unlapped runner, while Villeneuve and Diniz complete the points scorers. After the race Hakkinen admits that at one point he glanced the barriers at Ste Devote...

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Series Formula 1
Drivers Eddie Irvine , Giancarlo Fisichella , Michael Schumacher , Heinz-Harald Frentzen , Jean Alesi , David Coulthard , Mika Hakkinen , Jacques Villeneuve , Alexander Wurz , Mika Salo , Esteban Tuero , Pedro Diniz
Teams Ferrari , McLaren , Benetton , Minardi