The race was marred by a big crash involving Olivier Panis, who broke his legs and would be unable to start the next seven grands prix. It has been argued that this crash affected Panis's performance after returning to the cockpit later that season. The race ended under red flag conditions on lap 54 due to this crash.
Michael Schumacher won ahead of Jean Alesi in the Benetton and Giancarlo Fisichella in the Jordan. David Coulthard had been leading, but was delayed for over a lap by a clutch problem during his second pit stop, shortly before Panis's crash. On lap 2,local hero Jacques Villenueve crashed into the wall on the exit of the final corner. This wall would later be known as the 'Wall of Champions', after three former World Champions, including Villenueve, crashed into it separately in 1999.
It also marked the debut of Alexander Wurz, driving for Benetton in place of his compatriot Gerhard Berger. He had been suffering from a sinus illness for some time and during his time off his father was killed in a plane crash.