Mika Hakkinen won his first World Championship title in 1998 after celebrating in the last race of the championship in Japan, defeating Michael Schumacher who stalled his Ferrari from pole position.

In 1998, Hakkinen led the championship from the first race of the season in Australia where he led 1-2 for McLaren in front of his teammate Coulthard who let him by before the finish line due to ‘gentleman’s agreement’ in which the driver who passes the first corner in the first lap has the advantage. Finn kept his lead until the end of the season despite being tied with Schumacher on points after Monza.

Hakkinen won the first two races of the season in Australia and Brazil, finished second in Argentina and after retiring in Imola thanks to gearbox failure, he again celebrated in the next two races in Spain and Monaco.

Hakkinen McLaren MP4-13 Monaco GP F1 1998 FOto McLAren
Hakkinen celebrated in Monaco from pole position

At that moment, after the first six races of the season, Hakkinen led with 17 points ahead of Schumacher, but the German was back with three consecutive victories in Canada, France and the United Kingdom which reduced Hakkinen’s advantage to just two points.

Hakkinen than responded with two consecutive victories in Austria and Germany before Schumacher’s brilliant victory in Hungary with three stops when he returned to seven points gap behind Hakkinen.

The controversial moment happened in Belgium where Schumacher stormed into Coulthard in the heavy rain, after which he suspected that Coulthard had deliberately slowed down to help his teammate, and after a 1-2 victory for Ferrari in Monza, Schumacher and Hakkinen were tied ahead of the last two races of the season with 80 points.

Hakkinen leads Schumacher Austrian GP F1 1998 Photo McLaren
Hakkinen leads Schumacher in 1998 Austrian GP

Hakkinen then won the next race at Nurburgring after pitstop battle with Schumacher and after Schumacher stalled on the grid from pole position in Japan, Hakkinen had no trouble securing the title with eight wins and 100 points.

“This is a very special day for me, it took a while for me to win the Formula 1 World Championship, but now it happened and I am very happy,” Hakkinen said after the race.

“The team as a whole achieved a lot this season and this is the perfect result for us. The two wrong starts meant I had to stay focused despite the disruptions and I must say that the team did a great job and kept the car in the optimum condition.”

“Of course the fact that Michael started from the start relieved the pressure a little bit, but I knew he would be quick and carve his way through the field. The team informed me about what was going on well and I could concentrate on the car, keep my head and stay cool.”

“Great day for the whole team, thank you!”

Hakkinen won eight times in 1998 (Schumacher six), won nine positions (Schumacher three), 11 podiums (like Schumacher) and set the six fastest laps (like Schumacher).

From 1015 laps in the 1998 F1 season, Hakkinen led at the end of 576 laps (56.75%) and Schumacher was second with 268 laps. Interestingly, Hakkinen did not end a single lap outside of the top six – he lad at the end of 576 laps, in 173 he was second, in 87 third, 12 in fourth, in one fifth and in seven laps he was sixth.

hakkinen mclaren mercedes japanese gp 1998 suzuka victory
Mika Hakkinen wins his first F1 World Championship title after beating Michael Schumacher who stalled on pole position (November 1, 1998) Photo: McLaren

STARTING GRID

1 3 M.Schumacher Ferrari 1:36.293
2 8 Mika Häkkinen McLaren/Mercedes 1:36.471 0.178
3 7 David Coulthard McLaren/Mercedes 1:37.496 1.203
4 4 Eddie Irvine Ferrari 1:38.197 1.904
5 2 H-H.Frentzen Williams/Mecachrome 1:38.272 1.979
6 1 J.Villeneuve Williams/Mecachrome 1:38.448 2.155
7 10 Ralf Schumacher Jordan/Mugen-Honda 1:38.461 2.168
8 9 Damon Hill Jordan/Mugen-Honda 1:38.603 2.310
9 6 Alexander Wurz Benetton/Playlife 1:38.959 2.666
10 5 G.Fisichella Benetton/Playlife 1:39.080 2.787
11 15 Johnny Herbert Sauber/Petronas 1:39.234 2.941
12 14 Jean Alesi Sauber/Petronas 1:39.448 3.155
13 11 Olivier Panis Prost/Peugeot 1:40.037 3.744
14 12 Jarno Trulli Prost/Peugeot 1:40.111 3.818
15 17 Mika Salo Arrows 1:40.387 4.094
16 18 R.Barrichello Stewart/Ford 1:40.502 4.209
17 21 T.Takagi Tyrrell/Ford 1:40.619 4.326
18 16 Pedro Diniz Arrows 1:40.687 4.394
19 19 Jos Verstappen Stewart/Ford 1:40.943 4.650
20 22 Shinji Nakano Minardi/Ford 1:41.315 5.022
21 23 Esteban Tuero Minardi/Ford 1:42.358 6.065

RACE RESULTS

1 8 Mika Häkkinen McLaren/Mercedes 51 1:27:22.535
2 4 Eddie Irvine Ferrari 51 1:27:29.026 6.491
3 7 David Coulthard McLaren/Mercedes 51 1:27:50.197 27.662
4 9 Damon Hill Jordan/Mugen-Honda 51 1:28:36.026 1:13.491
5 2 H-H.Frentzen Williams/Mecachrome 51 1:28:36.392 1:13.857
6 1 J.Villeneuve Williams/Mecachrome 51 1:28:38.402 1:15.867
7 14 Jean Alesi Sauber/Petronas 51 1:28:58.588 1:36.053
8 5 G.Fisichella Benetton/Playlife 51 1:29:03.837 1:41.302
9 6 Alexander Wurz Benetton/Playlife 50 1:27:37.673 1 lap
10 15 Johnny Herbert Sauber/Petronas 50 1:27:43.035 1 lap
11 11 Olivier Panis Prost/Peugeot 50 1:28:20.327 1 lap
12 12 Jarno Trulli Prost/Peugeot 48 1:25:12.668 Engine
(13) 22 Shinji Nakano Minardi/Ford 40 1:11:40.268 Throttle
(3) 3 M.Schumacher Ferrari 31 53:17.744 Tyre
(15) 21 T.Takagi Tyrrell/Ford 28 50:26.268 Collision
(16) 23 Esteban Tuero Minardi/Ford 28 50:47.170 Collision
(16) 18 R.Barrichello Stewart/Ford 25 45:01.383 Hydraulics
(17) 19 Jos Verstappen Stewart/Ford 21 38:02.009 Gearbox
(12) 17 Mika Salo Arrows 14 24:49.643 Hydraulics
(8) 10 Ralf Schumacher Jordan/Mugen-Honda 13 22:35.461 Engine
(15) 16 Pedro Diniz Arrows 2 3:42.998 Spun off

Fastest lap: Michael Schumacher – 1:40.190 (lap 19)

DRIVERS’ CHAMPIONSHIP AFTER 16/16 RACES

1 Mika Häkkinen 100   10 10 6 10 10 4 6 10 10 1 3 10 10
2 Michael Schumacher 86   4 10 6 4 10 10 10 4 2 10 10 6
3 David Coulthard 56   6 6 1 10 6 1 6 6 6 4 4
4 Eddie Irvine 47   3 4 4 4 4 6 4 3 6 3 6
5 Jacques Villeneuve 21   2 3 1 2 3 1 4 4 1
6 Damon Hill 20   3 3 10 1 3
7 Heinz-Harald Frentzen 17   4 2 2 2 3 2 2
8 Alexander Wurz 17   3 3 3 3 2 3
9 Giancarlo Fisichella 16   1 6 6 2 1
10 Ralf Schumacher 14   1 2 1 6 4
11 Jean Alesi 9   2 1 4 2
12 Rubens Barrichello 4   2 2
13 Mika Salo 3   3
14 Pedro Diniz 3   1 2
15 Johnny Herbert 1   1
16 Jan Magnussen 1   1
17 Jarno Trulli 1   1

CONSTRUCTORS’ CHAMPIONSHIP

1 McLaren/Mercedes 156 16 16 7 10 16 10 5 6 16 16 7 3 14 14
2 Ferrari 133 3 4 14 10 4 4 14 16 14 7 2 10 16 9 6
3 Williams/Mecachrome 38 6 2 5 1 2 3 1 4 6 3 2 3
4 Jordan/Mugen-Honda 34 1 2 4 3 16 5 3
5 Benetton/Playlife 33 4 3 3 6 9 2 5 1
6 Sauber/Petronas 10 1 2 1 4 2
7 Arrows 6 4 2
8 Stewart/Ford 5 2 3
9 Prost/Peugeot 1 1
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