1998 Brazilian
Grand Prix
Sao Paulo
2.69 miles

March 29th 1998

Qualifying - Race - Analysis

Qualifying : Sunny and humid

1997 Pole: Jacques Villeneuve (Williams) 1m 16.004s

The Starting Grid

Mika Hakkinen McLaren-Mercedes BS 1m 17.092s
David Coulthard McLaren-Mercedes BS 1m 17.757s
Heinz-Harald Frentzen Williams-Mecachrome GY 1m 18.109s
Michael Schumacher Ferrari GY 1m 18.250s
Alexander Wurz Benetton-Playlife BS 1m 18.261s
Eddie Irvine Ferrari GY 1m 18.449s
Giancarlo Fisichella Benetton-Playlife BS 1m 18.652s
Ralf Schumacher Jordan-Mugen Honda GY 1m 18.735s
Olivier Panis Prost-Peugeot BS 1m 18.753s
Jacques Villeneuve Williams-Mecachrome GY 1m 18.761s
Damon Hill Jordan-Mugen Honda GY 1m 18.988s
Jarno Trulli Prost-Peugeot BS 1m 19.069s
Rubens Barrichello Stewart-Ford BS 1m 19.344s
Johnny Herbert Sauber-Petronas GY 1m 19.375s
Jean Alesi Sauber-Petronas BS 1m 19.449s
Jan Magnussen Stewart-Ford BS 1m 19.644s
Tora Takagi Tyrrell-Ford GY 1m 20.203s
Shinji Nakano Minardi-Ford BS 1m 20.390s
Esteban Tuero Minardi-Ford BS 1m 20.459s
Mika Salo TWR Arrows BS 1m 20.481s
Ricardo Rosset Tyrrell-Ford GY 1m 20.748s
Pedro Diniz TWR Arrows BS 1m 20.847s

107 % rule time: 1m 22.488s

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Race : 72 laps, sunny & humid

1997 Winner: Jacques Villeneuve (Williams) 1h 36m 09.990s

The Result

Mika Hakkinen McLaren-Mercedes BS 1h 37m 11.747s
David Coulthard McLaren-Mercedes BS 1h 37m 12.849s
Michael Schumacher Ferrari GY 1h 38m 12.297s
Alexander Wurz Benetton-Playlife BS 1h 38m 19.200s
Heinz-Harald Frentzen Williams-Mecachrome GY 1 lap down
Giancarlo Fisichella Benetton-Playlife BS 1 lap down
Jacques Villeneuve Williams-Mecachrome GY 1 lap down
Eddie Irvine Ferrari GY 1 lap down
Jean Alesi Sauber-Petronas GY 1 lap down
Jan Magnussen Stewart-Ford BS 1 lap down
Johnny Herbert Sauber-Petronas GY 67 laps - driver fatigue
Olivier Panis Prost-Peugeot BS 61 laps - oil leak
Rubens Barrichello Stewart-Ford BS 56 laps - gearbox
Ricardo Rosset Tyrrell-Ford GY 52 laps - gearbox/spin
Esteban Tuero Minardi-Ford BS 44 laps - brake system
Pedro Diniz TWR Arrows BS 26 laps - engine
Tora Takagi Tyrrell-Ford GY 19 laps - engine failure
Mika Salo TWR Arrows BS 18 laps - engine
Jarno Trulli Prost-Peugeot BS 17 laps - fuel pump
Shinji Nakano Minardi-Ford BS 3 laps - spun off
Ralf Schumacher Jordan-Mugen Honda GY 0 laps - spun off
Damon Hill Jordan-Mugen Honda GY Disqualified from 10th place - car underweight

Fastest Lap :
Mika Hakkinen (McLaren) 1m 19.337s
Lap Record : 1997: Jacques Villeneuve (Williams) 1m 18.400s

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Analysis :
After having two wins handed to him, Mika Hakinnen finally showed he can win on his own merit, easily pacing McLaren teammate David Coulthard.
Although not quite as dominating as the previous race, the "Silver Arrows" were over a minute in front of Michael Schumacher and lapped up to 4th place. Of the rest of the finishers, particularly strong was the Benetton of Alexander Wurz, who drove a very maturely on his first visit to the track.
The Williams' once again struggled, with Heinz-Harald Frentzen only just holding off Giancarlo Fisichella in the second Benetton, while Jacques Villeneuve (having qualified a lowly 10th) had to fight to finish 7th.
During practice there were a couple of nasty crashes. Olivier Panis was lucky to walk away unscathed, while Johnny Herbert sprained his neck muscles enough that he was unable to finish the race.
As for the rest of the field, the engine and gearbox failures were prevelant, while Ralf Schumacher and Damon Hill gave Eddie Jordan an unwelcome 50th birthday presents. Hill by being disqualified from 10th for being 9kg underweight and the German by spinning off on the first lap. In the first two Grand Prix he has yet to complete a lap!

So the Hakkinen can truthfully say he is a Grand Prix winner. If he keeps this up he will overtake original "Flying Finn" Keke Rosberg in the winners standings before the midpoint of the season...

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Photo credits : AP / McLaren Intl / Japan Tobacco Co