1998 British Grand Prix
|1998 British Grand Prix|
|Race 9 of 16 in the 1998 Formula One World Championship|
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|
|Course length||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 FIA Formula One World Championship. The 60-lap race 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, and his third consecutive victory having won both the preceding Canadian and French Grand Prix, but was under controversial circumstances: he avoided a stop-and-go penalty by entering the pit lane to serve it on the final lap, crossing the finish line in the pit lane to win the race before reaching his pit box, although the controversial penalty was later rescinded.
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. As Johnny Herbert (having not pitted) spun out into a gravel trap at Luffield on Lap 28, despite him getting back on track (via. Being pushed by track marshals) retired in the pits from the result of that spin.
David Coulthard driving on intermediates spun out on lap 38 whilst passing a backmarker. Jarno Trulli spun out on the same lap as Coulthard as Barrichello spun out and hit the wall at Club on lap 40. 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.
The race restarted on lap 50 and it took only two laps for Häkkinen to make another mistake, which put Schumacher in the lead. The German quickly pulled away from his rival, who was now nursing his McLaren home.
However, two laps from the finish, Schumacher was issued with a stop-and-go penalty for passing Giancarlo Fisichella under the safety car on lap 43. He had to come in to the pits within three laps to serve his penalty, which he did by entering the pit lane on the final lap of the race, but in doing so he crossed the finish line, which extends across the pit lane, before reaching his pit box, and won the race. Controversy followed, as Schumacher clearly did not serve his penalty in full before the race ended. His team argued that the penalty should have been issued within 25 minutes of the incident but instead they were informed after 31 minutes, which was six minutes after the limit had expired. They also argued that the hand-written notification was unclear as to which penalty was actually being issued: a stop-and-go, or a 10-second addition to Schumacher's race time. The stewards then decided to apply the 10-second addition, post-race. However the added time penalty can only be used to punish an infraction in the last 12 laps of a Grand Prix, and so did not apply here. The stewards eventually rescinded the penalty altogether. 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 licenses at an extraordinary meeting of the FIA World Council.
- ^ – Qualification times of Ralf Schumacher and Olivier Panis were disallowed because they failed an FIA safety drill.
Championship standings after the race
- Note: Only the top five positions are included for both sets of standings.
- Autosport.com: British Grand Prix Review
- BBC News:Schumacher wins British GP
- Lindsay, Alasdair. "Classic British Grand Prix: 1998". The Checkered Flag. Retrieved 10 July 2018.
- "Scandal at Silverstone"
- "...but the stewards get the axe"
- "1998 British Grand Prix". formula1.com. Archived from the original on 5 December 2014. Retrieved 24 December 2015.
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