At the start, Schumacher got away all right but Coulthard's was poor. Häkkinen had a great start and was quickly ahead of Coulthard and side by side with Schumacher. Häkkinen edged ahead and Coulthard was forced to defend from Ralf. There were no changes behind them and the field went through safely with only Mika Salo being bunched up and losing two places. The order after lap 1 was: Häkkinen, Schumacher, Coulthard, Ralf, Barrichello, Frentzen, Giancarlo Fisichella, Jenson Button, Eddie Irvine and Alexander Wurz.
Häkkinen was easing away from Schumacher on whom Coulthard could not do anything. Ralf and the others were left behind, losing a second a lap to Häkkinen. However, Ralf was clearly holding up Barrichello who was having a faster car but unable to pass. There were no changes until Fisichella spun off on lap 8 and dropped some places. Häkkinen was 4.1 seconds ahead of Schumacher, 5.8 seconds ahead of Coulthard and nearly 10 seconds ahead of Ralf and Barrichello. The race now settled down quickly with no overtaking. Häkkinen was on his own, setting fastest lap after fastest lap with Schumacher able to do nothing. Schumacher was pulling away from Coulthard who was already 10 seconds ahead of Ralf and Barrichello. By lap 25, Häkkinen was 11 seconds ahead of Schumacher, 17 seconds ahead of Coulthard and 30 seconds ahead of Ralf who had Barrichello right behind him. Frentzen was 3 seconds behind them.
Schumacher was lighter than Häkkinen and closed the gap down to 10 seconds but then he pitted on lap 27. Ralf and Barrichello soon followed and Barrichello was shortfueled and thus rejoined ahead of Ralf. Häkkinen increased his lead over Coulthard to 20 seconds and pitted on lap 31. Coulthard went in the next lap as well. The order after the stops was: Häkkinen, Schumacher, Coulthard, Barrichello, Ralf, Frentzen, Button, Irvine, Jarno Trulli and Pedro Diniz. Häkkinen lost a tenth or less than that per lap to Schumacher but he was 13 seconds ahead. Coulthard was the fastest man and was closing in the gap to Schumacher, now down to just 4.7 seconds. Barrichello was 17 seconds behind Coulthard but 2 seconds ahead of Ralf and pulling away with Frentzen a further 9 seconds behind but under pressure from Button. Coulthard slowly reduced the gap to Schumacher for the next 15 laps and was down to 1.2 seconds by lap 44. Then Coulthard lost time while lapping Gastón Mazzacane, allowing Schumacher to increase the gap to 1.9 seconds.
Coulthard reduced the gap again but on lap 48 lost further time while lapping Marc Gené and the gap was 2.3 seconds. Behind them Button dropped away from Frentzen with hydraulic trouble. Häkkinen was 9 seconds ahead of Schumacher and 11 ahead of Coulthard when the Ferrari stopped on lap 49. Häkkinen stayed for one more lap and Coulthard went on lap 51. He had gained 2 seconds but came three tenths behind Schumacher. There were no changes behind them except that Trulli was ahead of Irvine with a 1-stop strategy. Schumacher and Coulthard continued to push and started to close the 10 second gap to Häkkinen. Behind them Button had problems with his car and was passed by Trulli. Irvine soon followed Trulli through as well. Although Häkkinen's gap was reduced, he won from Schumacher who was just ahead of Coulthard. Barrichello was fourth, Ralf fifth and Frentzen sixth.
Standings after the race
- Bold text indicates who still has a theoretical chance of becoming World Champion.