1998 French
Grand Prix
Circuit de Nevers
Magny Cours
2.64 miles

June 28th 1998

Qualifying - Race - Analysis

Qualifying : Overcast

Hakkinen took the pole again

1997 Pole: Michael Schumacher (Ferrari) 1m 14.548s

The Starting Grid

Mika Hakkinen McLaren-Mercedes BS 1m 14.929s
Michael Schumacher Ferrari GY 1m 15.159s
David Coulthard McLaren-Mercedes BS 1m 15.333s
Eddie Irvine Ferrari GY 1m 15.527s
Jacques Villeneuve Williams-Mecachrome GY 1m 15.630s
Ralf Schumacher Jordan-Mugen Honda GY 1m 15.925s
Damon Hill Jordan-Mugen Honda GY 1m 16.245s
Heinz-Harald Frentzen Williams-Mecachrome GY 1m 16.319s
Giancarlo Fisichella Benetton-Playlife BS 1m 16.375s
Alexander Wurz Benetton-Playlife BS 1m 16.460s
Jean Alesi Sauber-Petronas BS 1m 16.627s
Jarno Trulli Prost-Peugeot BS 1m 16.892s
Johnny Herbert Sauber-Petronas GY 1m 16.977s
Rubens Barrichello Stewart-Ford BS 1m 17.024s
Jos Verstappen Stewart-Ford BS 1m 17.604s
Olivier Panis Prost-Peugeot BS 1m 17.671s
Pedro Diniz TWR Arrows BS 1m 17.880s
Ricardo Rosset Tyrrell-Ford GY 1m 17.908s
Mika Salo TWR Arrows BS 1m 17.970s
Tora Takagi Tyrrell-Ford GY 1m 18.221s
Shinji Nakano Minardi-Ford BS 1m 18.273s
Esteban Tuero Minardi-Ford BS 1m 19.146s
107 % rule time: 1m 20.174s  

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Race : 71 laps - sunny

The 2nd Start

1997 Winner: Michael Schumacher (Ferrari) 1h 38m 50.492s (72 laps)

The Result

Michael Schumacher Ferrari GY 1h 34m 45.026s
Eddie Irvine Ferrari GY 1h 35m 04.601s
Mika Hakkinen McLaren-Mercedes BS 1h 35m 04.773s
Jacques Villeneuve Williams-Mecachrome GY 1h 35m 51.991s
Alexander Wurz Benetton-Playlife BS 1 lap down
David Coulthard McLaren-Mercedes BS 1 lap down
Jean Alesi Sauber-Petronas GY 1 lap down
Johnny Herbert Sauber-Petronas GY 1 lap down
Giancarlo Fisichella Benetton-Playlife BS 1 lap down
Rubens Barrichello Stewart-Ford BS 2 laps down
Olivier Panis Prost-Peugeot BS 2 laps down
Jos Verstappen Stewart-Ford BS 2 laps down
Mika Salo TWR Arrows BS 2 laps down
Pedro Diniz TWR Arrows BS 2 laps down
Heinz-Harald Frentzen Williams-Mecachrome GY 3 laps down
Ralf Schumacher Jordan-Mugen Honda GY 2 laps down
Shinji Nakano Minardi-Ford BS 6 laps down
Tora Takagi Tyrrell-Ford GY 60 laps - engine
Jarno Trulli Prost-Peugeot BS 55 laps -
Esteban Tuero Minardi-Ford BS 41 laps - gearbox
Damon Hill Jordan-Mugen Honda GY 19 laps - hydraulics
Ricardo Rosset Tyrrell-Ford GY 16 laps - air pressure

Fastest Lap :
David Coulthard (McLaren) 1m 17.523s
Lap Record : 1992: Nigel Mansell (Williams) 1m 17.070s

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Hakkinen saw a lot of Irvine's rear wing

Analysis :
Thanks to a sticky Stewart gearbox and an overzealous official controlling the start Michael Schumacher got a second chance and he, along with Ferrari teammate Eddie Irvine made the most of it.
After having a wonderful first start nullified, polesitter Mika Hakinnen was beaten to the first corner by both Ferrari's and could do little about them on a track infamous for its' lack of overtaking opportunites.
Once again David Coulthard's luck ran out, as a major problem with the refuelling rig caused him to lose over 2 minutes in the pits, while Jacques Villeneuve was happy just to finish on the lead lap (all be it over a minute behind Schumacher...).
After showing some early pace, both Jordan's dropped out of contention. First Damon Hill dropped out, then Ralf Schumacher spent several laps in the pits after colliding with Alexander Wurz, who continued on to fifth.
The rest of the race was pretty pedestrian, with little in the way of attrition - not counting yet another exploding Ford behind Tora Takagi. It only provided more ammunition in the fight to move the race back to Paul Ricard.

One Two at last

The first Ferrari one-two in many years and maybe not the last this season. They have closed the gap on McLaren, but now they have to overtake them.
Just like overtaking at Magny-Cours, it's easier said than done...

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Photo credits : AP/Allsport