1998 Spanish
Grand Prix
Circuit de Catalunya
2.94 miles

May 10th 1998

Qualifying - Race - Analysis

Qualifying : Sunny and humid

The McLaren Brains Trust

1997 Pole: Jacques Villeneuve (Williams) 1m 16.525s

The Starting Grid

Mika Hakkinen McLaren-Mercedes BS 1m 20.262s
David Coulthard McLaren-Mercedes BS 1m 20.996s
Michael Schumacher Ferrari GY 1m 21.785s
Giancarlo Fisichella Benetton-Playlife BS 1m 21.894s
Alexander Wurz Benetton-Playlife BS 1m 21.965s
Eddie Irvine Ferrari GY 1m 22.350s
Johnny Herbert Sauber-Petronas GY 1m 22.794s
Damon Hill Jordan-Mugen Honda GY 1m 22.835s
Rubens Barrichello Stewart-Ford BS 1m 22.860s
Jacques Villeneuve Williams-Mecachrome GY 1m 22.885s
Ralf Schumacher Jordan-Mugen Honda GY 1m 22.927s
Olivier Panis Prost-Peugeot BS 1m 22.963s
Heinz-Harald Frentzen Williams-Mecachrome GY 1m 23.197s
Jean Alesi Sauber-Petronas BS 1m 23.327s
Pedro Diniz TWR Arrows BS 1m 23.704s
Jarno Trulli Prost-Peugeot BS 1m 23.748s
Mika Salo TWR Arrows BS 1m 23.887s
Jan Magnussen Stewart-Ford BS 1m 24.112s
Esteban Tuero Minardi-Ford BS 1m 24.265s
Shinji Nakano Minardi-Ford BS 1m 24.538s
Tora Takagi Tyrrell-Ford GY 1m 24.722s
107 % rule time: 1m 25.880s  
Ricardo Rosset Tyrrell-Ford GY 1m 25.946s (DNQ)

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Race : 65 laps - sunny, windy

The Start

1997 Winner: Jacques Villeneuve (Williams) 1h 30m 35.890s

The Result

Mika Hakkinen McLaren-Mercedes BS 1h 33m 37.621s
David Coulthard McLaren-Mercedes BS 1h 33m 47.060s
Michael Schumacher Ferrari GY 1h 34m 24.715s
Alexander Wurz Benetton-Playlife BS 1h 34m 40.159s
Rubens Barrichello Stewart-Ford BS 1 lap down
Jacques Villeneuve Williams-Mecachrome GY 1 lap down
Johnny Herbert Sauber-Petronas GY 1 lap down
Heinz-Harald Frentzen Williams-Mecachrome GY 2 laps down
Jarno Trulli Prost-Peugeot BS 2 laps down
Jean Alesi Sauber-Petronas GY 2 laps down
Ralf Schumacher Jordan-Mugen Honda GY 2 laps down
Jan Magnussen Stewart-Ford BS 2 laps down
Tora Takagi Tyrrell-Ford GY 2 laps down
Shinji Nakano Minardi-Ford BS 2 laps down
Esteban Tuero Minardi-Ford BS 60 laps -
Olivier Panis Prost-Peugeot BS 58 laps -
Damon Hill Jordan-Mugen Honda GY 46 laps - engine
Giancarlo Fisichella Benetton-Playlife BS 28 laps - collision (w/Irvine)
Eddie Irvine Ferrari GY 28 laps - collision (w/Fisichella)
Mika Salo TWR Arrows BS 21 laps - engine
Pedro Diniz TWR Arrows BS 20 laps - engine

Fastest Lap :
Mika Hakkinen (McLaren) 1m 24.275s
Lap Record : 1997: Giancarlo Fisichella (Jordan) 1m 22.242s

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Barrichello chases Wurz

Analysis :
In a very processional race, Mika Hakinnen ran comfortably ahead of McLaren teammate David Coulthard for all but his pitstops. The Mercedes powered cars lapping all the way up to fourth place.
Michael Schumacher managed to overcome a horrendous start and a 10 second stop and go penalty for exceeding the pitlane speed limit and still take third. Once again Alexander Wurz ran well in the Benetton though he may have been topped by teammate Giancarlo Fisichella had he not fallen foul of Eddie Irvine, who once again blotted his Ferrari copybook, while trying to stop the Italian from taking third.
Despite the changes made to the rear end of the car, the Williams-Mecachromes struggled, noticably down on straight line speed, with Jacques Villeneuve barely taking sixth. Heinz-Harald Frentzen had an awful start, spinning and damaging his nose and then having to claw his way through the field to eigth.
Johnny Herbert was back on form, easily out pacing Jean Alesi, but the most pleasant surprise was Rubens Barrichello in the much maligned Stewart-Ford. With the help of new suspension parts and a new version of the Zetec engine, he kept the current World Champion behind all day. Teammate Jan Magnussen, also ran strongly despite not having the newer engine fitted to his car.
Overall there were very few mechanical failures, the notable exception being the Arrows cars which suffered the embarrassment of having their engines expire simultaneously as they came down the front straight!

Champagne shower for Mika

Hakkinen now takes the upper hand in the championship, though the next race (in Monaco) has a history of strange results. All we need is a little bit of rain and things could be wide open once again.

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Photo credits : AP