Taking advantage Schumacher wins French Grand Prix
Jun 28, 1998 10:40 a.m. ET
By SALVATORE ZANCA
MAGNY COURS, France (AP) - Michael Schumacher took advantage of a
re-start to win the French
Grand Prix Sunday and close within six points of Mika Hakkinen with
half the season remaining.
Schumacher's Ferrari teammate, Eddie Irvine, acting as a buffer
between Schumacher and Hakkinen for
most of the race, came in second, 19.5 seconds behind.
A frustrated Hakkinen in a McLaren-Mercedes was third, barely
behind Irvine after trying to pass him for
the last 15 laps of the race.
Jacques Villeneuve, last year's Formula One champion, was fourth in
beat Schumacher for the title in the last race of the 1997 season
after a dramatic collision forced
Schumacher out of the race.
Alexander Wurz of Austria was in fifth with a Benetton-Playlife
followed by David Coulthard, plagued
by problems fueling in the pits, in sixth with a McLaren-Mercedes.
Hakkinen still leads the drivers standings with 50 points but
Schumacher moved up to 44.
It was Schumacher's 30th career victory and third this season. He
also has won four of the last five
French Grand Prixs. He missed out in 1996 when he car's engine
failed on the warm-up lap after leading
The race had to begin twice. The first time, Jos Verstappen, who
had replaced Jan Magnussen at
Stewart-Ford this week, stalled out just before the start as the
rest of the field roared away. Hakkinen had
the lead but the race was stopped.
On the re-start, Schumacher and Irvine pulled ahead of Hakkinen on
the first turn, a perfect start for the
Schumacher pulled away from Irvine, who forced the McLarens to lap
about a second slower than
Schumacher in the early stages.
Schumacher's lead was up to 11 seconds by the end of 10 laps and
leveled to about 13 seconds after 15.
The race was the eighth of the Formula One series and began a
hectic period with three more races over
the next five weeks.
The next race is the British Grand Prix July 12.
Give me back my bullets, put 'em back where they belong. ...Lynard Skynard
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