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Sunday, August 2, 1998 Published at 15:03 GMT 16:03 UK


Hakkinen wins in German Grand Prix

Familiar sight: Hakkinen first, Coulthard second


BBC correspondent Jonathan Legard: Hakkinen has a daunting lead
Mika Hakkinen has taken another step towards his first world championship, winning the German Grand Prix at Hockenheim.

His McLaren team-mate David Coulthard came second - just four-tenths of a second behind - as the McLaren-Mercedes duo celebrated resigning for the team with their fifth one-two finish of the season.


[ image: The dream team: Coulthard and Hakkinen]
The dream team: Coulthard and Hakkinen
For the Finn, it was his sixth victory of 1998, extending his lead in the drivers' championship table to 16 points.

Jacques Villeneuve was third in his Williams for his first podium finish of the season.

Former world champion Damon Hill scored his first points for almost a year, coming fourth in his Jordan.

The race was a disappointment for Germany's Michael Schumacher. He trailed in fifth position in his Ferrari.

After his worst qualifying performance of the season when he had only the ninth fastest time, Schumacher did well to finish in the points at all.


[ image: Damon Hill: first points of 1998]
Damon Hill: first points of 1998
Schumacher's brother and Hill's team-mate Ralf took the final point-scoring position of sixth, as Jordan more than doubled their tally for the season.

Ferrari's Eddie Irvine was eighth leaving the Italian team well behind in the race for the constructors' championship in which McLaren have a 26 points lead with five races to go.

Pit stop trouble

Hakkinen's victory was his sixth this season and only the seventh in a career of over 90 grand prix.


[ image: Champion elect? Mika Hakkinen celebrates]
Champion elect? Mika Hakkinen celebrates
Coulthard, who led for one lap, is now 34 points behind Hakkinen, and may have been denied victory when he fractionally overshot his pit during his only stop which lost him vital time.

That lap was the only one Hakkinen did not lead in a race that was something of a procession.

Afterwards the Finn revealed the only time he felt he was going to lose the race was on that pit-stop.

Coulthard said: "I made a slight mistake on my entrance to the garage and I knew then I would lose whatever advantage I had."

Schumacher's great start

Michael Schumacher blasted off from ninth position, moving up to seventh immediately.


[ image: Disappointment for Schumacher]
Disappointment for Schumacher
Indeed his brilliance prevented a potential pile-up on the grid as the Benetton of Alexander Wurz stalled directly in front of the Ferrari.

Schumacher dived across to the other side of the track to avoid hitting Wurz, with Heinz-Harald Frentzen in the Williams fortunate not to have his nose cone removed in the process.

From that point on, however, there was little for the 130,000 German crowd to cheer.

Michael Schumacher was bitterly disappointed.

He said: "We knew we had to improve the car after qualifying but as you saw it wasn't good enough. There was nothing more we could do."

Villeneuve keeps on working

Despite heading to British American Racing at the end of the season, outgoing world champion Jacques Villeneuve is still giving his all for Williams.

He was happy to be in the top three again - although a slight mechanical problem prevented any further progress.

He said: "It felt great. I was able to keep up with the two McLarens and I was trying to push hard. But then seven laps from the end something broke on my car and I had to slow down. It was a great shame."

Jordan relief

As for Hill, the 1996 world champion had struggled in the previous 10 races of this campaign, leading to constant speculation about his future with Jordan.

With a smile he said: "It was a fighting finish.

"I was well up there and I even had the possibility of getting onto the podium. But I think the team can be very satisfied and everyone is happy here."

His team boss Eddie Jordan admitted he was relieved: "Three races ago who would have thought we would have three successive races in the points, particularly culminating in this, a fourth and a sixth. It was a great drive from both drivers."

Results

1. Mika Hakkinen - McLaren - 1hr 20m 47.984sec
2. David Coulthard - McLaren @ 0.427sec
3. Jacques Villeneuve - Williams @ 2.578
4. Damon Hill - Jordan @ 7.185
5. Michael Schumacher - Ferrari @ 12.613
6. Ralf Schumacher - Jordan @ 29.739
7. Giancarlo Fisichella - Benetton @ 31.027
8. Eddie Irvine - Ferrari @ 31.650
9. Heinz-Harald Frentzen - Williams @ 32.785
10. Jean Alesi - Sauber @ 48.472
11. Alexander Wurz - Benetton @ 57.995
12. Jarno Trulli - Prost one lap behind
13. Toranosuke Takagi - Tyrrell one lap behind
14. Mika Salo - Arrows one lap behind
16. Esteban Tuero - Minardi two laps behind

Others not classified



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