The 1998 French Grand Prix was the tenth round of the 1998 FF1M Season and it was held at the Magny-Cours circuit. It was won by Ralf Schumacher, who dominated the race from start to finish.
Race Starting Grid France - Magny Cours 1998 (72 Laps) Pole 1 Ralf Schumacher 1m 11.500s 2 Rubens Barrichello Row 2 3 1m 11.994s Jacques Villeneuve 1m 12.065s 4 Michael Schumacher Row 3 5 1m 12.291s Jos Verstappen 1m 12.339s 6 Eddie Irvine Row 4 7 1m 12.376s Johnny Herbert 1m 12.429s 8 Jean Alesi Row 5 9 1m 12.499s Mika Hakkinen 1m 12.589s 10 Alexander Wurz Row 6 11 1m 12.712s Giancarlo Fisichella 1m 12.858s 12 Juan-Pablo Montoya Row 7 13 1m 12.883s Bruno Junqueira 1m 13.105s 14 Allan McNish Row 8 15 1m 13.154s Mika Salo 1m 13.169s 16 Damon Hill Row 9 17 1m 13.276s David Coulthard 1m 13.352s 18 Mark Blundell Row 10 19 1m 13.462s Jan Magnussen 1m 13.526s 20 Olivier Panis Row 11 21 1m 13.580s Marc Gene 1m 14.183s 22 Kenny Brack 1m 15.184s
Ralf Schumacher converted pole position into the lead whilst Barrichello dropped behind his teammate and the FJR of Jos Verstappen. Villeneuve then set about pressuring Ralf for the lead. But the man who was flying was Eddie Irvine, outbraking both Michael Schumacher and Johnny Herbert in one braking zone to move into 5th place.
Michael Pedersen was desperate to win his first race of the season, and Barrichello helped his cause by slipstreaming past Verstappen for 3rd place on lap 2. Meanwhile, Damon Hill, who had qualified down in 16th place didn’t help his quest for points as he collided with Allan McNish in the battle for 13th place.
Both Gui Racings then took control as Ralf began to edge away from Villeneuve and Alesi overtook Michael Schumacher for 7th place. But this was down to Michael being on a heavier fuel load and Alesi had dropped well down the field by lap 33. At this point, Michael Schumacher was running 4th and made a move on Johnny Herbert to take 3rd.
On lap 45, Kenny Brack exited the pits after making his 2nd stop, and he rejoined into the path of David Coulthard. Brack spun wildly into the barriers while Coulthard survived to finish 16th. Brack was only one of three retirements throughout the race; Blundell retired with an engine failure, whilst Montoya lost 8th place with five laps to go.
In a fairly processional race, Ralf Schumacher took the chequered flag to win his fourth race of the season and retake the championship lead back from his brother, who finished 3rd behind Villeneuve. Verstappen had a quiet race to finish 4th ahead of Irvine, Hakkinen, Herbert and Alesi.
Race Results France - Magny Cours 1998 (72 Laps) Pos Driver Time/Speed 1st Ralf Schumacher 1h 29m 14.803s Gui Racing-Ford 2nd Jacques Villeneuve +12.050s Pedersen-Mercedes 3rd Michael Schumacher +46.836s Dodgem-Ferrari 4th Jos Verstappen +1m 03.819s FJR-Mecachrome 5th Eddie Irvine +1m 04.469s VTR-Mecachrome 6th Mika Hakkinen +1m 05.007s Dodgem-Ferrari 7th Johnny Herbert +1m 12.632s VTR-Mecachrome 8th Jean Alesi -1 Lap Gui Racing-Ford 9th Alexander Wurz -1 Lap J Racing-Ford 10th Giancarlo Fisichella -1 Lap AquinoPlus-Peugeot 11th Mika Salo -1 Lap AquinoPlus-Peugeot 12th Rubens Barrichello -1 Lap Pedersen-Mercedes 13th Olivier Panis -1 Lap J Racing-Ford 14th Damon Hill -1 Lap Willow Image-Ferrari 15th Allan McNish -2 Laps FJR-Mecachrome 16th David Coulthard -2 Laps Mason Mspt-Mercedes 17th Jan Magnussen -2 Laps Dark Wolf-Mugen 18th Bruno Junqueira -2 Laps Maestro Mspt-Peugeot 19th Marc Gene -2 Laps Maestro Mspt-Peugeot 20th Juan-Pablo Montoya -5 Laps Mason Mspt-Mercedes 21st Kenny Brack Didn't Finish Willow Image-Ferrari 22nd Mark Blundell Engine Dark Wolf-Mugen
Driver Best Laps France - Magny Cours 1998 (72 Laps) Pos Driver Best Lap 1st Ralf Schumacher 1m 12.717s Gui Racing-Ford 2nd Jacques Villeneuve +0.127s Pedersen-Mercedes 3rd Rubens Barrichello +0.350s Pedersen-Mercedes 4th Alexander Wurz +0.371s J Racing-Ford 5th Eddie Irvine +0.631s VTR-Mecachrome 6th Jean Alesi +0.679s Gui Racing-Ford 7th Jos Verstappen +0.702s FJR-Mecachrome 8th Michael Schumacher +0.740s Dodgem-Ferrari 9th David Coulthard +0.926s Mason Mspt-Mercedes 10th Mika Hakkinen +0.996s Dodgem-Ferrari 11th Allan McNish +1.064s FJR-Mecachrome 12th Damon Hill +1.066s Willow Image-Ferrari 13th Johnny Herbert +1.123s VTR-Mecachrome 14th Juan-Pablo Montoya +1.322s Mason Mspt-Mercedes 15th Giancarlo Fisichella +1.330s AquinoPlus-Peugeot 16th Olivier Panis +1.652s J Racing-Ford 17th Marc Gene +1.775s Maestro Mspt-Peugeot 18th Mika Salo +1.884s AquinoPlus-Peugeot 19th Bruno Junqueira +1.896s Maestro Mspt-Peugeot 20th Jan Magnussen +2.329s Dark Wolf-Mugen 21st Kenny Brack +2.331s Willow Image-Ferrari 22nd Mark Blundell +10.485s Dark Wolf-Mugen