1998 Australian Grand Prix

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Australia  1998 Australian Grand Prix
Race details
Race 1 of 16 in the 1998 Formula One season
Albert Lake Park Street Circuit in Melbourne, Australia.svg
Date 8 March 1998
Official name LXIII Qantas Australian Grand Prix
Location Melbourne Grand Prix Circuit
Albert Park, Melbourne, Australia
Course Parkland street circuit
5.30 km (3.33 mi)
Distance 58 laps, 302.271 km (187.822 mi)
Weather sunny, 30 Degrees
Pole position
Driver Finland Mika Häkkinen McLaren-Mercedes
Time 1:30.010
Fastest lap
Driver Finland Mika Häkkinen McLaren-Mercedes
Time 1:31.649 on lap 39
Podium
First Finland Mika Häkkinen McLaren-Mercedes
Second United Kingdom David Coulthard McLaren-Mercedes
Third Germany Heinz-Harald Frentzen Williams-Mecachrome

The 1998 Australian Grand Prix was a Formula One motor race held at the Albert Park street circuit in inner Melbourne on 8 March. It was the 63rd race in the combined history of the Australian Grand Prix that dates back to the 100 Miles Road Race of 1928. It was the first of the sixteen races of the 1998 Formula One season and held over 58 laps of the 5.3 kilometre street circuit and the sixth to be held on the Albert Park venue first used in 1953, or the third since the new circuit first hosted the race in 1996.

The race was dominated by the McLaren-Mercedes team and won by Mika Häkkinen over his team mate David Coulthard in controversial circumstances. WilliamsF1 driver Heinz-Harald Frentzen finished third. The race also represented the first win for Japanese tyre manufacturer Bridgestone in Formula One and the first race since the 1991 Canadian Grand Prix not won by Goodyear.

Race Summary[edit]

The McLarens of Mika Häkkinen and David Coulthard made good starts from the front row of the grid, but Ferrari's Michael Schumacher, starting third, also had a good start and tried to overtake second place Coulthard. The Ferrari driver stayed with the McLarens, but retired on lap 6 when his engine failed. This handed third place to the Williams of Jacques Villeneuve, who was being chased by Benetton's Giancarlo Fisichella.

After the first round of pitstops, Villeneuve found himself behind team-mate Heinz-Harald Frentzen, Ferrari's Eddie Irvine and Fisichella. Villeneuve was lapped soon after this by the McLarens, but he still managed to finish in fifth place.

On lap 36 Häkkinen came into the pits unexpectedly, apparently having misheard a call over the radio. He drove straight through the pitlane and rejoined the race without stopping, but lost first place to team-mate Coulthard. In 2007, McLaren boss Ron Dennis claimed that someone had tapped into the team's radio system.:[1]

"We do not and have not manipulated grands prix, unless there were some exceptional circumstances, which occurred in Australia [1998], when someone had tapped into our radio and instructed Mika Häkkinen to enter the pits."

A few laps before the end of the race, Coulthard let Häkkinen past on the front straight. The two had made a pre-race agreement that between the two of them, the driver who led at the first corner would go on to win the race, should he be in the position to do so.[2] David Coulthard and the McLaren team were criticized heavily. The situation surrounding Coulthard allowing Häkkinen through would eventually go to the World Motorsport Council. The verdict was that "any future act prejudicial to the interests of competition should be severely punished in accordance with article 151c of International Sporting Code." "Team orders" continued to be controversial in Formula One and were banned following the events of the 2002 Austrian Grand Prix. Frentzen took third place for Williams.[3] The race was the first win for the tyre manufacturer Bridgestone after they entered Formula One a year earlier.[4]

After the race concluded, the Australian Grand Prix Corporation chairman, Ron Walker, lodged an official complaint to the FIA into how the actions of the McLaren team decided the race for Häkkinen.[5]

Lap leaders[edit]

Lap 1–23 Mika Häkkinen, Lap 24 David Coulthard, Lap 25–35 Mika Häkkinen, Lap 36–55 David Coulthard, Lap 56–58 Mika Häkkinen.

Classification[edit]

Qualifying[edit]

Pos No Driver Constructor Lap Time Gap
1 8 Finland Mika Häkkinen McLaren-Mercedes 1:30.010
2 7 United Kingdom David Coulthard McLaren-Mercedes 1:30.053 +0.043
3 3 Germany Michael Schumacher Ferrari 1:30.767 +0.757
4 1 Canada Jacques Villeneuve Williams-Mecachrome 1:30.919 +0.909
5 15 United Kingdom Johnny Herbert Sauber-Petronas 1:31.384 +1.374
6 2 Germany Heinz-Harald Frentzen Williams-Mecachrome 1:31.397 +1.387
7 5 Italy Giancarlo Fisichella Benetton-Playlife 1:31.733 +1.723
8 4 United Kingdom Eddie Irvine Ferrari 1:31.767 +1.757
9 10 Germany Ralf Schumacher Jordan-Mugen-Honda 1:32.392 +2.382
10 9 United Kingdom Damon Hill Jordan-Mugen-Honda 1:32.399 +2.389
11 6 Austria Alexander Wurz Benetton-Playlife 1:32.726 +2.716
12 14 France Jean Alesi Sauber-Petronas 1:33.240 +3.230
13 21 Japan Toranosuke Takagi Tyrrell-Ford 1:33.291 +3.281
14 18 Brazil Rubens Barrichello Stewart-Ford 1:33.383 +3.373
15 12 Italy Jarno Trulli Prost-Peugeot 1:33.739 +3.729
16 17 Finland Mika Salo Arrows 1:33.927 +3.917
17 23 Argentina Esteban Tuero Minardi-Ford 1:34.646 +4.636
18 19 Denmark Jan Magnussen Stewart-Ford 1:34.906 +4.896
19 20 Brazil Ricardo Rosset Tyrrell-Ford 1:35.119 +5.109
20 16 Brazil Pedro Diniz Arrows 1:35.140 +5.130
21 11 France Olivier Panis Prost-Peugeot 1:35.215 +5.205
22 22 Japan Shinji Nakano Minardi-Ford 1:35.301 +5.291

Race[edit]

Pos No Driver Constructor Laps Time/Retired Grid Points
1 8 Finland Mika Häkkinen McLaren-Mercedes 58 1:31:46.0 1 10
2 7 United Kingdom David Coulthard McLaren-Mercedes 58 +0.702 2 6
3 2 Germany Heinz-Harald Frentzen Williams-Mecachrome 57 +1 Lap 6 4
4 4 United Kingdom Eddie Irvine Ferrari 57 +1 Lap 8 3
5 1 Canada Jacques Villeneuve Williams-Mecachrome 57 +1 Lap 4 2
6 15 United Kingdom Johnny Herbert Sauber-Petronas 57 +1 Lap 5 1
7 6 Austria Alexander Wurz Benetton-Playlife 57 +1 Lap 11  
8 9 United Kingdom Damon Hill Jordan-Mugen-Honda 57 +1 Lap 10  
9 11 France Olivier Panis Prost-Peugeot 57 +1 Lap 21  
Ret 5 Italy Giancarlo Fisichella Benetton-Playlife 43 Broken Wing 7  
Ret 14 France Jean Alesi Sauber-Petronas 41 Engine 12  
Ret 12 Italy Jarno Trulli Prost-Peugeot 26 Gearbox 11  
Ret 20 Brazil Ricardo Rosset Tyrrell-Ford 25 Gearbox 19  
Ret 17 Finland Mika Salo Arrows 23 Gearbox 16  
Ret 23 Argentina Esteban Tuero Minardi-Ford 22 Engine 17  
Ret 22 Japan Shinji Nakano Minardi-Ford 8 Halfshaft 22  
Ret 3 Germany Michael Schumacher Ferrari 5 Engine 3  
Ret 16 Brazil Pedro Diniz Arrows 2 Gearbox 20  
Ret 10 Germany Ralf Schumacher Jordan-Mugen-Honda 1 Collision 9  
Ret 19 Denmark Jan Magnussen Stewart-Ford 1 Collision 18  
Ret 21 Japan Toranosuke Takagi Tyrrell-Ford 1 Spun off 13  
Ret 18 Brazil Rubens Barrichello Stewart-Ford 0 Gearbox 14  
  • Pedro Diniz's car caught fire on the way to the grid.

Standings after Grand Prix[edit]

  • Note: Only the top five positions are included for both sets of standings.

References[edit]

  1. ^ The Telegraph (29 May 2007). "FIA inquiry into McLaren order". The Daily Telegraph (London). Retrieved 21 April 2010. 
  2. ^ Associated Press. Hakkinen wins Australian Grand Prix decided by pre-race agreement. 
  3. ^ "Hakkinen wins Grand Prix". Gadsden Times. 8 March 1998. p. D6. 
  4. ^ Tremayne, David (9 March 1998). "Coulthard's selfless act of honour". London: The Independent. Retrieved 9 March 1998. 
  5. ^ "Protest lodged over Hakkinen win". BBC News. 9 March 1998. Retrieved 9 March 1998. 


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1997 European Grand Prix
FIA Formula One World Championship
1998 season
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1998 Brazilian Grand Prix
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1999 Australian Grand Prix