1998 San Marino
Grand Prix
Autodromo Enzo e Dino Ferrari
Imola, Italy
3.04 miles

April 26th 1998

Qualifying - Race - Analysis

Qualifying : Warm and Sunny

Coulthard on pole

1997 Pole: Jacques Villeneuve (Williams) 1m 23.303s

The Starting Grid

David Coulthard McLaren-Mercedes BS 1m 25.973s
Mika Hakkinen McLaren-Mercedes BS 1m 26.075s
Michael Schumacher Ferrari GY 1m 26.437s
Eddie Irvine Ferrari GY 1m 27.169s
Alexander Wurz Benetton-Playlife BS 1m 27.273s
Jacques Villeneuve Williams-Mecachrome GY 1m 27.390s
Damon Hill Jordan-Mugen Honda GY 1m 27.592s
Heinz-Harald Frentzen Williams-Mecachrome GY 1m 27.645s
Ralf Schumacher Jordan-Mugen Honda GY 1m 27.866s
Giancarlo Fisichella Benetton-Playlife BS 1m 27.937s
Johnny Herbert Sauber-Petronas GY 1m 28.111s
Jean Alesi Sauber-Petronas BS 1m 28.191s
Olivier Panis Prost-Peugeot BS 1m 28.270s
Mika Salo TWR Arrows BS 1m 28.798s
Tora Takagi Tyrrell-Ford GY 1m 29.073s
Jarno Trulli Prost-Peugeot BS 1m 29.584s
Rubens Barrichello Stewart-Ford BS 1m 29.641s
Pedro Diniz TWR Arrows BS 1m 29.932s
Esteban Tuero Minardi-Ford BS 1m 30.649s
Jan Magnussen Stewart-Ford BS 1m 31.017s
Shinji Nakano Minardi-Ford BS 1m 31.225s
Ricardo Rosset Tyrrell-Ford GY 1m 31.482s

107 % rule time: 1m 31.991s

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Race : 62 laps, sunny & bright

The start

1997 Winner: Heinz-Harald Frentzen (Williams) 1h 31m 00.673s

The Result

David Coulthard McLaren-Mercedes BS 1h 34m 24.593s
Michael Schumacher Ferrari GY 1h 34m 29.147s
Eddie Irvine Ferrari GY 1h 35m 16.369s
Jacques Villeneuve Williams-Mecachrome GY 1h 35m 19.183s
Heinz-Harald Frentzen Williams-Mecachrome GY 1h 35m 42.070s
Jean Alesi Sauber-Petronas GY 1 lap down

Ralf Schumacher Jordan-Mugen Honda GY 2 laps down
Esteban Tuero Minardi-Ford BS 2 laps down
Mika Salo TWR Arrows BS 2 laps down
Damon Hill Jordan-Mugen Honda GY 57 laps - hydraulics
Olivier Panis Prost-Peugeot BS 56 laps - engine
Ricardo Rosset Tyrrell-Ford GY 48 laps - engine
Tora Takagi Tyrrell-Ford GY 40 laps - engine
Jarno Trulli Prost-Peugeot BS 34 laps - spun off
Shinji Nakano Minardi-Ford BS 27 laps - engine
Pedro Diniz TWR Arrows BS 18 laps - gearbox
Giancarlo Fisichella Benetton-Playlife BS 17 laps - spun off
Mika Hakkinen McLaren-Mercedes BS 17 laps - gearbox
Alexander Wurz Benetton-Playlife BS 17 laps - engine
Johnny Herbert Sauber-Petronas GY 12 laps - suspension
Jan Magnussen Stewart-Ford BS 8 laps - transmission
Rubens Barrichello Stewart-Ford BS 0 laps - lost rear wing & spun off

Fastest Lap :
Michael Schumacher (Ferrari) 1m 29.345s
Lap Record : 1997: Heinz-Harald Frentzen (Williams) 1m 25.531s

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Irvine and Wurz clash

Analysis :
After the disasterous outing two weeks before David Coulthard put his stamp of authority on the weekend by taking pole position and then leading every lap of the race.
The "Silver Arrows" proved to be fallable as Mika Hakkinen succumbed to gearbox failure leaving Michael Schumacher to chase down the remaining McLaren-Mercedes, much to the joy of the Tifosi. Although he claimed fastest lap, the German could not catch Coulthard in the closing laps. The Italian faithful took further consolation from a good drive from Eddie Irvine for third.
The Williams' were closer to the pace this time with Jacques Villeneuve making a spectacular start and then hounding Irvine home. Heinz-Harald Frentzen cruised around to fifth with Jean Alesi once again collecting a point for Sauber-Petronas.
After wrapping a Porsche Boxster around a tree earlier in the week, Giancarlo Fisichella tried to repeat the maneuver with his Benetton, while teammate Alex Wurz suffered a rare Renault engine failure.
Jordan looked a little more in touch with Ralf Schumacher actually finishing the race and Damon Hill gamely running in 7th until his hydraulics let him down. Had he not lost his front wing at the start, he may have been up in the top three during most of the race.


After a couple of races it looked as if the championship would be a walkover. Now just six points separate the top three drivers, giving hope for a great fight for the rest of the year. Coulthard has shown he can beat Schumacher, while the rest of the grid knows that the McLaren's are not invincible.

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Photo credits : F1PictureNet / McLaren Intl