Going into this race, Michael Schumacher was 12 points ahead of David Coulthard, another 6 ahead of Mika Häkkinen and 24 ahead of Rubens Barrichello. Ferrari led the Constructors Championship, 6 points ahead of McLaren. Häkkinen, took pole position with Coulthard second, Barrichello third, Schumacher fourth, Jarno Trulli fifth and Ricardo Zonta sixth.
At the start, Coulthard went away better than Häkkinen but behind them both Barrichello and Schumacher stuttered and were battling to keep third and fourth. Häkkinen was able to just keep ahead of Coulthard but behind them Trulli and Zonta raced blindly, unable to see the Ferraris ahead braking (they were busy concentrating on taking third). Trulli hit Barrichello and both were on the gravel and at the same time Zonta hit Schumacher, tipping Schumacher into a spin and into the way of Trulli. The two collided and in the mayhem, Giancarlo Fisichella also got involved. The Safety Car was called out and the order was: Häkkinen, Coulthard, Mika Salo, Pedro de la Rosa, Jos Verstappen (who was without his front wing after hitting Trulli's car), Johnny Herbert, Jenson Button, Marc Gené, Barrichello and Heinz-Harald Frentzen.
The Safety Car went into the pits on lap 2 and Verstappen followed it in, to pit for a new nose cone (he thought that the race was stopped and did not pit before). Häkkinen was under no attack from Coulthard while Salo defended from de la Rosa and behind them Barrichello quickly charged past Gene into the first corner and Button midway through the lap. On lap 3, at the first corner, de la Rosa passed Salo and soon afterwards Barrichello (with a damaged car) passed Herbert to take fifth. Frentzen retired with an engine failure on lap 5. At the front Häkkinen was pulling away from Coulthard who was easily getting away from de la Rosa. Salo was dropping back from de la Rosa and Barrichello was closing in on him. Barrichello soon passed Salo and started to close in on de la Rosa but the Ferrari team told him to back off and chase de la Rosa after the stops. Barrichello did so and so the race settled with the order of: Häkkinen, Coulthard, de la Rosa, Barrichello, Salo, Herbert, Button, Jacques Villeneuve, Gené and Alexander Wurz.
Häkkinen was over 10 seconds ahead of Coulthard and well ahead of the rest. Soon Salo came under pressure from Herbert and Button with Jacques Villeneuve closing in on them. On lap 33, de la Rosa's gearbox failed, putting the McLarens further clear. By lap 40, Villeneuve had closed right up on the three ahead of him, that is Salo, Herbert and Button. At the front, Häkkinen was 15 seconds ahead of Coulthard and 40 seconds ahead of Barrichello and was told to back off. At the pit stops, the top three were well separated and there were no changes in the gaps as well and Barrichello had the damage on his car solved. But behind them there were changes as Salo and Herbert stopped on lap 46 and Salo stayed ahead but Button went a lap later on the 47th and got ahead of both of them. Villeneuve stayed on until lap 49 and with a quicker stop got ahead of all three of them.
After the stops, Barrichello was the fastest man on the track but Häkkinen and Coulthard were too far ahead. Behind him, Villeneuve and Button pulled away from Salo and Herbert. Button was attacking Villeneuve but he made a mistake and Villeneuve pulled away. Herbert was attacking Salo all over the place but was unable to pass. Towards the end, Häkkinen's gap to Coulthard was reduced the case was the same between that of Coulthard's gap to Barrichello. Häkkinen won the race from Coulthard, Barrichello, Villeneuve, Button and Salo who held off Herbert. However, after the race McLaren were docked 10 points because an FIA seal was missing from Häkkinen's car. Häkkinen's points did count for the championship.
- First race: Luciano Burti
- Luciano Burti replaced Eddie Irvine after Friday because of Irvine's illness.
- After the race Häkkinen's McLaren was found to have an FIA control seal missing from its electronic management system and the team were docked 10 points.
- McLaren's last 1-2 finish until the 2005 Brazilian Grand Prix.
Standings after the race Edit
- Note: Only the top five positions are included for both sets of standings.