David Coulthard clinched his first victory for 1998 and is now only 3 points behind his McLaren teammate Mika Hakkinen, who retired from the race on lap 16 with gearbox problems. Coulthard, who started the San Marino Grand Prix from pole, led throughout the 62 laps, with Michael Schumacher second after Hakkinen's retirement. However, towards the latter part of the race, it seemed that Coulthard's car might be overheating, giving way for Schumacher to cut down the gap from 25 seconds to 4.5 at the end.
Schumacher's teammate, Eddie Irvine, finished a distant third to the pleasure of the Ferrari tifosi. Both Williams cars finished in the points too, with Jacques Villeneuve making a brilliant start to fourth position, then losing a place in the pits to Irvine and finishing 4th ahead of Heinz-Harald Frentzen. Last in the points was Jean Alesi in the Sauber.
Only 9 cars finished the San Marino Grand Prix, which saw little action but retirements. Immediately on race start, Damon Hill in the Jordan tried to overtake Alex Wurz and hit his front wing in the back of the Benetton Playlife car. Both cars had to pit for quite a while, and rejoined in the last positions, a lap down on Giancarlo Fisichella who was then 6th and pushing hard on Frentzen in the front. Lap 16 saw both Benetton drivers retire, with Fisichella losing control and crashing the back suspension quite hard onto the safety barrier, and Wurz blowing up his engine. Then, with some overtaking and a row of retirements - including Johnny Herbert in the Sauber (broken front suspension) and Olivier Panis in the Prost (engine failure) - Hill found himself in a promising 7th position, only to retire with 4 laps to go, apparently because of brake problem. Nevertheless, Hill's teammate, Ralf Schumacher, managed to finally finish a full race distance without any significant spins or shunts. He finished 7th, with Esteban Tuero and Mika Salo in 8th and 9th respectively.
Below are the unofficial results for the San Marino Grand Prix.
|4||Villeneuve||Williams Mecachrome||+ 0:54.590||62|
|5||Frentzen||Williams Mecachrome||+ 1:17.477||62|
|6||Alesi||Sauber Petronas||+ 1 lap||61|
|7||R. Schumacher||Jordan Mugen-Honda||+ 1 lap||61|
|8||Tuero||Minardi Ford||+ 2 laps||60|
|9||Salo||Arrows TWR||+ 2 laps||60|
|Barrichello||Stewart Ford||Rear Wing/Spin||1|
(credit: Biranit Goren)