1998 British Grand Prix
|Race 9 of 16 in the 1998 Formula One season|
Silverstone Circuit in its 1998 configuration
|Date||12 July 1998|
|Official name||LI RAC British Grand Prix|
|Location||Silverstone Circuit, Silverstone, Northamptonshire and Buckinghamshire, England|
|Course||Permanent racing facility
5.140 km (3.194 mi)
|Distance||60 laps, 308.400 km (191.631 mi)|
|Weather||Rain, Wet Track|
|Time||1:35.704 on lap 12|
The 1998 British Grand Prix (formally the LI RAC British Grand Prix) was a Formula One motor race held at the Silverstone Circuit, England on 12 July 1998. It was the ninth race of the 1998 Formula One season. The race, contested over 60 laps, was won by Michael Schumacher driving a Ferrari car after starting from second position. Mika Häkkinen, who started from pole position, finished second with Eddie Irvine third in the other Ferrari. Schumacher's victory was his fourth of the season, his third consecutive victory having won both the preceding Canadian and French Grand Prix but Schumacher's victory in Britain was under controversial circumstances.
Mika Häkkinen took pole position by nearly half a second from championship rival Michael Schumacher. Jacques Villeneuve took third position whilst Häkkinen's team-mate David Coulthard qualified in fourth. Ralf Schumacher and Olivier Panis had their qualifying times deleted as they were not able to get out of their cars quick enough during an FIA safety drill, to practice evacuating the cockpit in case of fire. Ralf Schumacher had spun and stalled his engine early in qualifying and qualified in the spare car, which was set up for team-mate Damon Hill.
Heavy rain fell during the morning prior to the race. Although the rain stopped before the start, there was a mixture of wet and dry parts on the circuit and as a result all but two cars started on intermediate compound tyres. The two Stewart-Fords decided to start on dry weather tyres. The first retirement came after 13 laps, when Damon Hill lost control on the damp track whilst battling with Villeneuve for 7th place. After 16 laps, it began to rain again, and many drivers switched to a full wet weather tyre.
David Coulthard driving on intermediates spun out on lap 38 whilst passing a backmarker. His McLaren-Mercedes team-mate Mika Häkkinen had built up a lead of 49 seconds over second place driver Michael Schumacher when four laps later he went off the track, did a complete 360 degrees turn before continuing. The incident damaged the front wing of his car and cost him 10 seconds of his lead but following numerous other spins caused by the worsening conditions the safety car was deployed which slowed the cars down, and removed Häkkinen's advantage over Schumacher altogether.
Whilst behind the safety car, Schumacher's team-mate Eddie Irvine was in third place and Jean Alesi was fourth. Fisichella was in fifth although he had already been lapped by Häkkinen. At the restart Schumacher lapped sixth place Alexander Wurz before crossing the start/finish line to move him behind Häkkinen on track. Häkkinen then made a mistake two laps later and lost the lead to Schumacher.
Two laps from the finish, Schumacher was issued with a stop-and-go penalty, meaning he had to drive through the pit lane obeying the speed limit, stop at his pit box and remain stationary for ten seconds before leaving the pits and continuing with the race. The penalty was given for passing Wurz under the safety car, as the safety car regulations continue to apply until the start/finish line is crossed. The penalty should have been issued within 25 minutes but Ferrari were informed 6 minutes after the limit had expired. The handwritten notification was also unclear as to which penalty was actually being issued: a 10s stop/go, or 10 seconds added to Schumacher's race time (a penalty which could only be used to punish an infraction in the last 12 laps). However on the final lap of the race, Schumacher came in to serve the penalty and in doing so crossed the finish line (which extends across the pit lane) before reaching his pit box and before Mika Häkkinen crossed the finish line on the race track. However, because the stewards had incorrectly issued the penalty Schumacher escaped punishment as the stewards later rescinded the penalty. A protest was lodged by McLaren-Mercedes who felt Ferrari cheated by not having Schumacher serve the penalty, but this was rejected by the FIA. As a result the three stewards involved handed in their licences at an extraordinary meeting of the FIA World Council.
- 1.^ -Qualification times of Ralf Schumacher and Olivier Panis were disallowed because they failed an FIA safety drill.
Standings after Grand Prix
- Note: Only the top five positions are included for both sets of standings.
1998 French Grand Prix
|FIA Formula One World Championship
1998 Austrian Grand Prix
1997 British Grand Prix
|British Grand Prix||Next race:
1999 British Grand Prix