#114 for Ferrari
Aires, April 12, 1998
the Bells on Easter Day
the lead after five laps
on a two-stop strategy
Easter Day is a very important
holiday in catholic Italy anyway, but this year
the local priest at Maranello even had an
additional reason to ring the bells of his
church: Michael Schumacher took the win for
Ferrari in the Argentine Grand Prix at the
Autodromo Oscar Alfredo Galvez in Buenos Aires.
Eddie Irvine came in on third position to make
this a perfect weekend for the Scuderia.
qualifying on Saturday, Schumacher had been the
only driver to break through the McLaren-Mercedes
phalanx which had dominated the two foregoing
races so clearly. In Buenos Aires, the German set
a time of 1:26,251 that gained him the 2nd
position on the grid between David Coulthard
(1:25,852) on 1st and Mika Häkkinen (1:26,623)
on 3rd. Eddie Irvine absolved his best qualifying
lap in 1:26,780 min and hence started from 4th
position. The improvement in Ferrari's
performance was probably caused by a new Goodyear
tire which now finally seems to keep up with the
quality of McLaren's Bridgestones.
Right after the start, the situation
seemed to be the same as in the foregoing races:
Coulthard had a great start, and Häkkinen passed
Schumacher very quickly. But the latter was able
to counter very soon and overtook Häkkinen after
some kilometers. The fifth lap saw one of the
race's crucial scenes: David Coulthard was a
little too late on the brakes and enabled
Schumacher to slip through in a right turn.
cars of the opponents even touched each other,
but obviously the collision did not cause any
severe damage (although some debris was left on
the track) since both Coulthard and Schumacher
were able to continue the race. From this point,
Schumacher was in front and continuously improved
his lead of Häkkinen who was in 2nd position
after Coulthard had spun following the collision
with Schumacher. The gap between Schumacher and
Häkkinen grew to 12 seconds quite quickly, and
in lap #29, Schumacher came into the pits.
excellent lap times had already indicated that he
was running on a two-stop strategy, while the
McLaren-Mercedes team had chosen a one-stop
crucial question was: Would Schumacher's lead of
Häkkinen be sufficient to make a second stop
possible without loosing his 1st position?
In lap #53, the world of motorsport
did hold its breath: Schumacher steered into the
pits for the second time. It took 8,1 seconds to
refuel the car and to change the tires, and
finally Schumacher was back on the circuit, in
lead of Häkkinen by about 100 meters.
lap #67, the spectators did hold their breath for
a second time when Schumacher lost control on the
slippery track (it had started to rain in the
meantime), but he kept cool and made his way
safely across the gravel and via a service lane
back to the track.
the same time, Eddie Irvine was too late on the
brakes and lost his 3rd position to Alexander
Wurz in the Benetton-Playlife car, but just for a
blink: Wurz spun off shortly after, and Eddie was
back on 3rd again!
Michael Schumacher drove F300 s/n
184, while Eddie Irvine piloted s/n 185.
- Final results:
- 1st Michael
- 2nd Mika Häkkinen,
- 3rd Eddie Irvine,
- 4th Aleaxander Wurz,
- 5th Jean Alesi,
- 6th David Coulthard,
- Text Gregor
Translation Andreas Birner
- Photo Rainer
to the Ferrari Team