In the 1998 Austrian GP at the A1 Ring, Mika Häkkinen won from David Coulthard and Michael Schumacher in a accident-filled race to claim a 5th victory of the season and an eight-point lead on the way to his first of two consecutive F1 World Championships.
The race saw an unusual grid due to wet qualifying which dried out towards the end. Giancarlo Fisichella posted his first-ever pole position for Benetton with Jean Alesi alongside him in the Sauber. At the start Häkkinen got a brilliant getaway to lead into the 1st corner but behind was carnage when several cars collided. At the second corner both Arrows drivers shunted, swiping Coulthard in the progress knocking off his wing after the Scot had qualified a lowly 14th. At the restart Häkkinen led away again with Schumacher right up behind; Schumacher attempted to overtake Häkkinen but ran wide, allowing Fisichella and almost Rubens Barrichello in the Stewart.
Schumacher’s race was already hurt with by a two-stop strategy while Häkkinen was on just one, but worse was to follow when Schumacher ran very wide, bouncing violently through the gravel trap and ripping off his front wing. “It was a stupid mistake,” he said. “I went off line and hit the dust, there was nothing I could do. There was less damage than I thought but there was enough damage.” Schumacher was able to get back to the pits and fit a new wing but when re-joining he was almost a lap behind. Michael was storming back through the field but had a lot of trouble passing his brother Ralf in the Jordan, for lap after lap Ralf refused to yield before Michael nailed him. Schumacher then started to reel in teammate Eddie Irvine, but Irvine was slowing. Irvine said after it was due to marginal brakes, although many in the paddock suspected he was asked to move over for Ferrari’s #1 driver. Classifications.