1998 Argentine
Grand Prix
Buenos Aires
2.65 miles

April 12th 1998

Qualifying - Race - Analysis

Qualifying : Sunny and humid

Coulthard on pole

1997 Pole: Jacques Villeneuve (Williams) 1m 24.473s

The Starting Grid

David Coulthard McLaren-Mercedes BS 1m 25.852s
Michael Schumacher Ferrari GY 1m 26.251s
Mika Hakkinen McLaren-Mercedes BS 1m 26.632s
Eddie Irvine Ferrari GY 1m 26.780s
Ralf Schumacher Jordan-Mugen Honda GY 1m 26.827s
Heinz-Harald Frentzen Williams-Mecachrome GY 1m 26.876s
Jacques Villeneuve Williams-Mecachrome GY 1m 26.941s
Alexander Wurz Benetton-Playlife BS 1m 27.198s
Damon Hill Jordan-Mugen Honda GY 1m 27.483s
Giancarlo Fisichella Benetton-Playlife BS 1m 27.836s
Jean Alesi Sauber-Petronas BS 1m 27.839s
Johnny Herbert Sauber-Petronas GY 1m 28.016s
Tora Takagi Tyrrell-Ford GY 1m 28.811s
Rubens Barrichello Stewart-Ford BS 1m 29.249s
Olivier Panis Prost-Peugeot BS 1m 29.320s
Jarno Trulli Prost-Peugeot BS 1m 29.352s
Mika Salo TWR Arrows BS 1m 29.617s
Pedro Diniz TWR Arrows BS 1m 30.022s
Shinji Nakano Minardi-Ford BS 1m 30.054s
Esteban Tuero Minardi-Ford BS 1m 30.158s
Ricardo Rosset Tyrrell-Ford GY 1m 30.437s
Jan Magnussen Stewart-Ford BS 1m 31.178s

107 % rule time: 1m 31.861s

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Race : 72 laps, cloudy, damp

Irvine pushes past Frentzen

1997 Winner: Jacques Villeneuve (Williams) 1h 52m 01.715s

The Result

Michael Schumacher Ferrari GY 1h 48m 36.175s
Mika Hakkinen McLaren-Mercedes BS 1h 48m 59.074s
Eddie Irvine Ferrari GY 1h 49m 33.920s
Alexander Wurz Benetton-Playlife BS 1h 49m 44.309s
Jean Alesi Sauber-Petronas GY 1h 49m 54.461s
David Coulthard McLaren-Mercedes BS 1h 49m 55.926s
Giancarlo Fisichella Benetton-Playlife BS 1h 50m 04.613s
Damon Hill Jordan-Mugen Honda GY 1 lap down
Heinz-Harald Frentzen Williams-Mecachrome GY 1 lap down
Rubens Barrichello Stewart-Ford BS 2 laps down
Jarno Trulli Prost-Peugeot BS 2 laps down
Tora Takagi Tyrrell-Ford GY 2 laps down
Shinji Nakano Minardi-Ford BS 3 laps down
Ricardo Rosset Tyrrell-Ford GY 4 laps down
Olivier Panis Prost-Peugeot BS 7 laps down
Esteban Tuero Minardi-Ford BS 63 laps - spun off
Jacques Villeneuve Williams-Mecachrome GY 55 laps - collision with Coulthard
Johnny Herbert Sauber-Petronas GY 49 laps - blown tyre
Ralf Schumacher Jordan-Mugen Honda GY 22 laps - spun off
Mika Salo TWR Arrows BS 18 laps - gearbox
Jan Magnussen Stewart-Ford BS 17 laps - gearbox
Pedro Diniz TWR Arrows BS 13 laps - gearbox

Fastest Lap :
Alexander Wurz (Benetton) 1m 28.179s
Lap Record : 1997: Gerhard Berger (Benetton) 1m 28.000s

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Schumacher and Coulthard come together

Analysis :
As as we know there has never been a NASCAR race in Buenos Aires, but Formula One did it's best impression of the Alabama Gang in one of the most entertaining races in recent memory. Michael Schumacher (playing the part of Dale "The Intimidator" Earnhardt) barged his way past pole sitter David Coulthard to take a comfortable win over Mika Hakinnen, who never really got it together all weekend. Schumacher was even able to make a detour through a gravel trap in the closing laps without relinquishing the lead.
There was plenty of wheel banging going on further down the field, with Alexander Wurz having a great duel with Eddie Irvine. As the track got slick in the last few laps, Wurz made his only mistake of the race and the spin cost him third place. Coulthard meanwhile had a very eventful time, colliding with Jacques Villeneuve and taking at least two unscheduled trips through the grass.
Once again putting in a solid showing was Jean Alesi in the Sauber, the Frenchman is beginning to settle in with the Swiss team and may prove a serious threat later in the season. Damon Hill qualified in a better position but was unable to translate it into points, while teammate Ralf Schumacher was simply happy to finish the first lap!
Once again the Prost cars were in the also-ran category, the radical gearbox design proving far too fragile for competitive use, while Tora Takagi in the Tyrrell continues to surprise with solid qualifying performances. Given a little more race experience, the Japanese driver could well take some points.

Schumacher, Irvine and Todt

With the McLaren-Mercedes stragglehold broken we can look forward to a much more competitive season and no doubt more appearances on the top step for Micheal Schumacher. The coveted Constructors Championship needs two winning drivers, the question now is whether Eddie Irvine can do it too?

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Photo credits : AP / McLaren Intl