Michael Schumacher celebrated in Monaco for the third time on this day in 1997 and took the championship lead from Jacques Villeneuve while his future teammate Rubens Barrichello in Stewart and his current team-mate Eddie Irvine completed the podium.
Monaco was fifth race of the championship and Villeneuve (20 points) was leading ahead of Schumacher in Ferrari (14), Coulthard in McLaren (10), and Frentzen (10) in Williams while Williams was six points ahead of Ferrari.
Frentzen won pole position, first in his career (he will win the second in France in 1999 in Jordan Mugen Honda) and Schumacher was only 0.019 seconds slower in second place. Villeneuve was the third, Fisichella fourth and Coulthard fifth.
Warm up was held in dry conditions, but half an hour before the start rain started to fall and intensified during the warm up lap. Williams decided to start on dry tires while Schumacher set up his car for the rain and after the first round he led by astonishing 6,654 seconds ahead of Fisichella in Jordan and 8,512 seconds ahead of Ralf in second Jordan. After just five laps, Schumacher was already leading for 22 seconds.
Rubens Barrichello started 10th in Stewart, but he stormed through the field thanks to Bridgestone tyres that were better than Goodyear in wet conditions and he was already second at the end of lap 6.
The Williams drivers both retired after having to change dry tires at the beginning of the race – Villeneuve struck the wall in the lap 17 and Frentzenhit the barrier in the chicane in lap 39.
Schumacher was leading comfortably in front of Barrichello, but he made a mistake in the lap 53 in the first corner where he continued on the escape road and lost 10 seconds, but still kept the lead. The race was interrupted in the lap 62 (instead of 78) due to a two-hour limit, so Schumacher celebrated with 53.306 seconds ahead of Barrichello and 1:22.108 ahead of Irvine.
The three drivers were standing together on the podium for the first time and this happened two more times when Barrichello was driving for Ferrari and Irvine for Jaguar – in Monaco 2001 (Schumacher, Barrichello, Irvine) and Italy 2002 (Barrichello, Schumacher, Irvine).
It was a fifth race for the new Stewart team and first podium (and points), but that were only points they scored in that season which they ended in the 9th place ahead of Tyrrell in their last season.
Last year’s Monaco GP winner Olivier Panis finished fourth in Prost Mugen Honda, Mika Salo was fifth in Tyrrell Ford and sixth was Fisichella in Jordan Peugeot.
|5||19||Mika Salo||Tyrrell/Ford||61||2:00:18.245||1 Lap|
|7||23||Jan Magnussen||Stewart/Ford||61||2:01:52.517||1 Lap|
|8||18||Jos Verstappen||Tyrrell/Ford||60||2:00:20.197||2 Laps|
|9||8||Gerhard Berger||Benetton/Renault||60||2:00:44.161||2 Laps|
|10||20||Ukyo Katayama||Minardi/Hart||60||2:01:49.612||2 Laps|
|(11)||15||Shinji Nakano||Prost/Mugen-Honda||36||1:12:25.302||Spun off|
|(13)||17||Nicola Larini||Sauber/Petronas||24||52:34.058||Spun off|
|(7)||7||Jean Alesi||Benetton/Renault||16||31:58.092||Spun off|
|(3)||11||Ralf Schumacher||Jordan/Peugeot||10||19:40.756||Spun off|
|(5)||16||Johnny Herbert||Sauber/Petronas||9||17:53.876||Spun off|
|(15)||21||Jarno Trulli||Minardi/Hart||7||14:52.676||Spun off|
|(7)||10||David Coulthard||McLaren/Mercedes||1||2:11.201||Spun off|
|(13)||1||Damon Hill||Arrows/Yamaha||1||2:17.648||Spun off|
|2||Pedro Diniz||Arrows/Yamaha||0||–||Spun off|
Fastest lap: Michael Schumacher – 1:53.315 (lap 26)
RACE – Part 1
RACE – Part 2