Silverstone Classics:1998

Michael Schumacher took a very controversial win at the British Grand Prix in 1998,taking victory from championship rival Mika Hakkinen who had led for almost the entire race.

While both Villeneuve and Eddie Irvine had bad starts, Jean Alesi had a super getaway,he moved up to 4th place from 8th on the grid,behind Coulthard.

Hakkinen had the lead,Michael 2nd,Coulthard 3rd and Alesi 4th

Over the next 10 laps Irvine,after his bad start,started chragingg back through the field, passing Herbert,Hill,Villeneuve and Frentzen by lap 15.Damon Hill retired after spinning out trying to pass Villeneuve on Lap 13.

Coulthard meanwhile was putting pressure on Schumacher in the battle for second place and eventually went past the German at Vale corner and started to chase down Hakkinen.

When the first round of pitstops came, Hakkinen decided to put on the full wets, while Coulthard stuck with the inters. At first it worked out well for Coulthard,he quickly closed in on Hakkinen until the heavens opened again.

As the rain started to get very very heavy,Coulthard started to lose grip on his inters and Hakkinen pulled away with ease,Michael was sitting in 3rd,well back from the 2 Mclarens,Irvine had moved up to 4th after leapfrogging Alesi during the first round of pitstops.Ralf Schumacher who started at the back of the field made a great charge and before the halfway stage he had moved up into the points.

Then on Lap 38 there was a dramatic development,Coulthard running in 2nd place,spun out at Abbey while trying to pass backmarker Takagi.

On Lap 42,more drama,Hakkinen with nearly a 50 second lead over Schumacher,had a big off at bridge corner and lost about 10 seconds there.The Safety Car then came out due to the track been so wet with cars aquaplaning off the road,the order was,Hakkinen,Schumacher,Irvine,Alesi and Fisichella.

The Safety Car came in on Lap 49,Schumacher quickly lapped Fisichella and was right behind Hakkinen when Mika ran wide on Lap 51 at Becketts and gifted Schumacher the lead.

Schumacher then pulled away from Mika and Irvine,then even more drama,with 2 laps to go,Schumacher got a stop and go penalty for passing Fisichella before the start-finish line after the Safety Car pulled in.

However Schumi didn’t take it until the final lap and came into the pits and had crossed the line so incredibly he would hang on to his win despite an appeal from Mclaren,Hakkinen finished 2nd,Irvine 3rd,Wurz 4th,Fisichella 5th,Ralf 6th.

An extraordinary race


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