The 1998 Belgian Grand Prix was the thirteenth round of the 1998 FF1M Season. It was won by Dodgem's Michael Schumacher after he inherited the win 4 laps from the end from FJR's Jos Verstappen, who led every lap until that point.
Race Starting Grid Belgium - Spa Francorchamps (44 Laps) 1 Pole Allan McNish 2 1m 45.599s Mika Hakkinen 1m 45.757s 3 Row 2 Michael Schumacher 4 1m 45.860s Rubens Barrichello 1m 45.898s 5 Row 3 Jos Verstappen 6 1m 46.038s Eddie Irvine 1m 46.101s 7 Row 4 Jacques Villeneuve 8 1m 46.372s Alexander Wurz 1m 46.395s 9 Row 5 Juan-Pablo Montoya 10 1m 46.481s Jean Alesi 1m 46.532s 11 Row 6 Ralf Schumacher 12 1m 46.701s Mika Salo 1m 46.776s 13 Row 7 Giancarlo Fisichella 14 1m 47.077s Johnny Herbert 1m 47.155s 15 Row 8 Damon Hill 16 1m 47.405s Bruno Junqueira 1m 47.563s 17 Row 9 Kenny Brack 18 1m 48.002s David Coulthard 1m 48.028s 19 Row 10 Mark Blundell 20 1m 48.153s Olivier Panis 1m 48.375s 21 Row 11 Marc Gene 22 1m 48.743s Jan Magnussen 1m 49.932s
thumb|300px|rightAllan McNish’s second pole of the year couldn’t be converted into the lead by the first corner as Michael Schumacher had a flying start from 3rd. McNish fought back and was side by side with Michael at the Kemmel straight. But it was McNish’s teammate Verstappen that took both drivers at Les Combes with a brilliant outbraking move to lead the race. Ralf Schumacher qualified down in 11th and needed to make up the positions. He was up to 7th at the end of the first lap.
McNish was beginning to struggle to stay with his teammate and on lap 2 was overtaken by Michael at the first corner. McNish got him back at Les Combes before being overtaken for good at Rivage.
Further down the field, Jean Alesi and Damon Hill collided at the worst possible place on the circuit, Eau Rouge. Alesi continued but Hill retired.
McNish continued to drop back as Michael Schumacher’s teammate Mika Hakkinen took the Scot into the bus stop at the end of lap 2. The FJR driver then lost another place at the beginning of the next lap to Rubens Barrichello. McNish’s saving grace was that his engine was giving him a lot of top speed and he was able to regain 4th place.
Giancarlo Fisichella was running in 12th place until he ran wide at the exit of the first bus stop chicane. With Alexander Wurz coming alongside him, Fisichella got his line completely wrong at the second bus stop chicane and smashed into outside and then the inside wall causing panic for the following drivers. Marc Gene would be the driver to pile into the back of the carnage and retire himself. Fisichella would also retire and Wurz would pit for repairs before he retired later with transmission problems.
Barrichello repeated the move Michael made on McNish the previous lap to move back into 4th place before Allan lost another two places to Irvine and Ralf Schumacher. He regained 6th place back from Ralf into Les Combes before losing it again at Rivage.
Barrichello had made his first pit stop very early and overtook his teammate who had yet to stop. Another driver recovering was Alesi who overtook the Maestro of Bruno Junqueira for 14th.
Mika Hakkinen was having problems having made two pit stops in 3 laps and losing a place to Montoya. In fact, a three stop strategy was Hakkinen’s plan for the race.
McNish may well have been at sea at the beginning of the race but by lap 21 he was running 4th. But then he threw that away with a spin at the Fagnes chicane. Moments later, Irvine spun off at the same point. Both would not rejoin.
With 4 laps left Verstappen had a very comfortable lead over Michael Schumacher and looked to be heading for FJR’s first win of the season. But then coming up to lap Junqueira, the Brazilian went straight on into the wall and ricocheted into Verstappen’s path leaving the Dutchman with a broken front wing.
The drama wasn’t over yet as coming round fast was Michael Schumacher but then he hit one of Junqueira’s errant wheels which came back to hit him again. The second impact from the tyre sent Michael spinning round and into the front wing of Verstappen. Jos went airbourne, landed with a bang and lost all his wheels. Amazingly, even though he slapped the pit wall trying to get his car back round, Michael was able to continue undamaged but FJR were gutted with the outcome and were also furious with Junqueira’s driving.
Michael’s lucky escape also resulted in a win that moves him back ahead of Ralf in the championship, although the younger Schumacher did a perfect damage limitation race with 2nd. Hakkinen’s shrewd strategy paid off with 3rd place, passing Barrichello in the dying moments. Herbert was 5th ahead of Montoya, Villeneuve and Salo, who scored his first points for AquinoPlus since Austria.
Race Results Belgium - Spa Francorchamps (44 Laps) Pos Driver Time/Speed 1st Michael Schumacher 1h 20m 24.132s Dodgem-Ferrari 2nd Ralf Schumacher +3.293s Gui Racing-Ford 3rd Mika Hakkinen +8.049s Dodgem-Ferrari 4th Rubens Barrichello +12.851s Pedersen-Mercedes 5th Johnny Herbert +36.495s VTR-Mecachrome 6th Juan-Pablo Montoya +37.950s Mason Mspt-Mercedes 7th Jacques Villeneuve +48.431s Pedersen-Mercedes 8th Mika Salo +53.207s AquinoPlus-Peugeot 9th Jean Alesi +55.036s Gui Racing-Ford 10th Olivier Panis +1m 03.035s J Racing-Ford 11th David Coulthard +1m 05.077s Mason Mspt-Mercedes 12th Jan Magnussen -1 Lap Dark Wolf-Mugen 13th Kenny Brack -1 Lap Willow Image-Ferrari 14th Jos Verstappen -3 Laps FJR-Mecachrome 15th Bruno Junqueira -5 Laps Maestro Mspt-Peugeot 16th Allan McNish Didn't Finish FJR-Mecachrome 17th Eddie Irvine Didn't Finish VTR-Mecachrome 18th Mark Blundell Suspension Dark Wolf-Mugen 19th Alexander Wurz Transmission J Racing-Ford 20th Giancarlo Fisichella Didn't Finish AquinoPlus-Peugeot 21st Marc Gene Didn't Finish Maestro Mspt-Peugeot 22nd Damon Hill Didn't Finish Willow Image-Ferrari
Driver Best Laps Belgium - Spa Francorchamps (44 Laps) Pos Driver Best Lap 1st Jos Verstappen 1m 47.137s FJR-Mecachrome 2nd Michael Schumacher +0.116s Dodgem-Ferrari 3rd Mika Hakkinen +0.117s Dodgem-Ferrari 4th Eddie Irvine +0.281s VTR-Mecachrome 5th Jacques Villeneuve +0.444s Pedersen-Mercedes 6th Ralf Schumacher +0.583s Gui Racing-Ford 7th Rubens Barrichello +0.690s Pedersen-Mercedes 8th Johnny Herbert +0.770s VTR-Mecachrome 9th Allan McNish +0.791s FJR-Mecachrome 10th Jean Alesi +0.989s Gui Racing-Ford 11th Juan-Pablo Montoya +1.246s Mason Mspt-Mercedes 12th David Coulthard +1.622s Mason Mspt-Mercedes 13th Olivier Panis +1.826s J Racing-Ford 14th Mika Salo +1.834s AquinoPlus-Peugeot 15th Alexander Wurz +1.872s J Racing-Ford 16th Mark Blundell +2.305s Dark Wolf-Mugen 17th Kenny Brack +2.348s Willow Image-Ferrari 18th Bruno Junqueira +2.417s Maestro Mspt-Peugeot 19th Jan Magnussen +2.531s Dark Wolf-Mugen 20th Damon Hill +6.305s Willow Image-Ferrari 21st Giancarlo Fisichella +7.280s AquinoPlus-Peugeot 22nd Marc Gene +10.877s Maestro Mspt-Peugeot
- Final Pole Position for Allan McNish