1998 Australian Grand Prix: Wikis

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Australia  1998 Australian Grand Prix
Race details
Race 1 of 16 in the 1998 Formula One season
Circuit Albert Park.svg
Date March 8, 1998
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 Fine
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 race held at Melbourne on March 8. The race was dominated by the McLaren-Mercedes team and won by Mika Häkkinen in controversial circumstances. The race also represented the first win for Bridgestone in Formula One.

Contents

Race Summary

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, Ferarri'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 Hakkinen 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 before the 2003 season.

Classification

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Qualifying

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

Race

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  

Standings after Grand Prix

Drivers' Championship standings
Pos Driver Points
1 Finland Mika Häkkinen 10
2 United Kingdom David Coulthard 6
3 Germany Heinz-Harald Frentzen 4
4 United Kingdom Eddie Irvine 3
5 Canada Jacques Villeneuve 2
Constructors' Championship standings
Pos Constructor Points
1 United Kingdom McLaren-Mercedes 16
2 United Kingdom Williams-Mecachrome 6
3 Italy Ferrari 3
4 Switzerland Sauber-Petronas 1
  • Note: Only the top five positions are included for both sets of standings.

Notes

  • Weather: Sunny, 30 Degrees
  • Lap Leaders: Lap 1-23 Mika Häkkinen, Lap 24 David Coulthard, Lap 25-35 Mika Häkkinen, lap 36-55 David Coulthard, Lap 56-58 Mika Häkkinen.
  • First win for Bridgestone in Formula One; first race since the 1991 Canadian Grand Prix not won by Goodyear.

References

Previous race:
1997 European Grand Prix
FIA Formula One World Championship
1998 season
Next race:
1998 Brazilian Grand Prix
Previous race:
1997 Australian Grand Prix
Australian Grand Prix Next race:
1999 Australian Grand Prix

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