May 24th 1998
Qualifying - Race - Analysis
Qualifying : Cloudy, warm
1997 Pole: Heinz-Harald Frentzen (Williams) 1m 18.216s
The Starting Grid
|Mika Hakkinen||McLaren-Mercedes BS||1m 19.798s|
|David Coulthard||McLaren-Mercedes BS||1m 20.137s|
|Giancarlo Fisichella||Benetton-Playlife BS||1m 20.368s|
|Michael Schumacher||Ferrari GY||1m 20.702s|
|Heinz-Harald Frentzen||Williams-Mecachrome GY||1m 20.729s|
|Alexander Wurz||Benetton-Playlife BS||1m 20.955s|
|Eddie Irvine||Ferrari GY||1m 21.712s|
|Mika Salo||TWR Arrows BS||1m 22.144s|
|Johnny Herbert||Sauber-Petronas GY||1m 22.157s|
|Jarno Trulli||Prost-Peugeot BS||1m 22.238s|
|Jean Alesi||Sauber-Petronas BS||1m 22.257s|
|Pedro Diniz||TWR Arrows BS||1m 22.355s|
|Jacques Villeneuve||Williams-Mecachrome GY||1m 22.468s|
|Rubens Barrichello||Stewart-Ford BS||1m 22.540s|
|Damon Hill||Jordan-Mugen Honda GY||1m 23.151s|
|Ralf Schumacher||Jordan-Mugen Honda GY||1m 23.263s|
|Jan Magnussen||Stewart-Ford BS||1m 23.411s|
|Olivier Panis||Prost-Peugeot BS||1m 23.536s|
|Shinji Nakano||Minardi-Ford BS||1m 23.957s|
|Tora Takagi||Tyrrell-Ford GY||1m 24.024s|
|Esteban Tuero||Minardi-Ford BS||1m 24.031s|
|107 % rule time:||1m 25.383s|
|Ricardo Rosset||Tyrrell-Ford GY||1m 25.737s (DNQ)|
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Race : 78 laps - cloudy, warm
1997 Winner: Michael Schumacher (Ferrari) 2h 00m 05.654s wet track
|Mika Hakkinen||McLaren-Mercedes BS||1h 51m 23.595s|
|Giancarlo Fisichella||Benetton-Playlife BS||1h 51m 35.070s|
|Eddie Irvine||Ferrari GY||1h 52m 04.973s|
|Mika Salo||TWR Arrows BS||1h 52m 23.958s|
|Jacques Villeneuve||Williams-Mecachrome GY||1 lap down|
|Pedro Diniz||TWR Arrows BS||1 lap down|
|Johnny Herbert||Sauber-Petronas GY||1 lap down|
|Damon Hill||Jordan-Mugen Honda GY||2 laps down|
|Shinji Nakano||Minardi-Ford BS||2 laps down|
|Michael Schumacher||Ferrari GY||2 laps down|
|Tora Takagi||Tyrrell-Ford GY||2 laps down|
|Jean Alesi||Sauber-Petronas GY||72 laps - gearbox|
|Jarno Trulli||Prost-Peugeot BS||56 laps - gearbox|
|Olivier Panis||Prost-Peugeot BS||49 laps - wheel bearing|
|Ralf Schumacher||Jordan-Mugen Honda GY||44 laps - hit barrier|
|Alexander Wurz||Benetton-Playlife BS||42 laps - crash/suspension failure|
|Jan Magnussen||Stewart-Ford BS||30 laps - rear suspension|
|David Coulthard||McLaren-Mercedes BS||17 laps - engine failure|
|Rubens Barrichello||Stewart-Ford BS||11 laps - rear suspension|
|Heinz-Harald Frentzen||Williams-Mecachrome GY||9 laps - collision w/Irvine|
|Esteban Tuero||Minardi-Ford BS||0 laps - hit barrier|
Fastest Lap :
Mika Hakkinen (McLaren) 1m 24.275s
Lap Record : 1994: Michael Schumacher (Benetton) 1m 21.076s
To The Top!
Mika Hakinnen's only threat disappeared when McLaren teammate David Coulthard's Mercedes engine exploded after 17 laps. From there the Finn could cruise to his fourth win of the season and consolidate his lead in the championship.
Behind him the Benettons were putting on a show. Giancarlo Fisichella drove a great race (only spoiled by clipping the barriers at La Rascasse) while Alexander Wurz engaged in a titanic struggle with Michael Schumache. After going wheel to wheel and swapping positions several times in successive corners, however the pair's cars fell out from under them as a result. First Schumacher's rear suspension collapsed as he completed the lap, close enough to the pit entrance to limp in. His pit crew worked wonders and changed the trackrod getting him back on the track two laps down. Wurz was less fortunate, as he entered the tunnel the suspension gave way sending him heavily into the barriers, fortunately without injury.
With the German out of contention, Ferrari looked to Eddie Irvine, who despite a run in with Heinz-Harald Frentzen, drove a solid race to third place. Meanwhile, Tom Walkinshaw was being sent into orbit by the performance of his drivers. Up until now they had had trouble finishing half the race, but the streets of Monaco were kind as Mika Salo ran strongly all weekend on his way to 4th, while Pedro Diniz took the last point. It may not be until Hungary, however that we see the TWR cars in the points again.
Williams took a chance and loaded Jacques Villeneuve up with fuel at the start, allowing him to keep going as those in front pitted. The gamble paid off and he was rewarded with fifth - barely fitting for the reigning world champion.
Winning championships needs luck as well as skill and at this point, Hakkinen has both. It will need a swift and decisive response from Coulthard and Schumacher in the next race or two to stop the momentum from carrying the Finn further ahead, and ultimately out of reach.
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Photo credits : AP