Motor Racing: How the top two fought their way towards the F1 championship climax

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The Independent Online
AUSTRALIA, 8 MARCH

Hakkinen 1st (10pts)

Schumacher did not finish (0)

Controversy began with the first race of the season when David Coulthard handed the race to team-mate Mika Hakkinen after the two men forged a pre-race agreement that the driver leading at the first corner should be granted victory by the other. Schumacher pulled out with engine failure.

BRAZIL, 29 MARCH

Hakkinen 1st (20)

Schumacher 3rd (4)

Hakkinen stormed to victory from lights to flag. McLaren's dominance of the championship seemed beyond dispute as he and second-placed Coulthard lapped everyone but the top four. Schumacher was well off the pace in third.

ARGENTINA, 12 APRIL

Hakkinen 2nd (26)

Schumacher 1st (14)

Schumacher gets his first win with a brilliant drive and two-stop refuelling strategy. The first sign of animosity comes when Coulthard bumps Schumacher as he goes for an overtaking manoeuvre.

SAN MARINO, 27 APR

Hakkinen did not finish (26)

Schumacher 2nd (20)

Hakkinen is forced out with gearbox failure after 13 laps but his team- mate Coulthard keeps Schumacher off the top of the podium with a faultless drive. Schumacher takes the runners-up spot.

SPAIN, 10 MAY

Hakkinen 1st (36)

Schumacher 3rd (24)

There seems no rivalling Hakkinen when he stays clear of car trouble. This time he destroys the challenge of both team-mate David Coulthard, in second, and Schumacher, who finishes 47 seconds behind the winner.

MONACO, 24 MAY

Hakkinen 1st (46)

Schumacher 10th (24)

Hakkinen wins his first Monaco Grand Prix, and opens up a 22-point gap over Schumacher, who could only finish in 10th place after an uncharacteristic mistake in overtaking led to him damaging his car.

CANADA, JUNE 7

Hakkinen did not finish (46)

Schumacher 1st (34)

Schumacher wins an exciting "demolition derby" of a race though Williams complains officially about his collision with their driver, Heinz-Harald Frentzen. Hakkinen and Coulthard pull out with gearbox and throttle problems respectively.

FRANCE, 28 JUNE

Hakkinen 3rd (50)

Schumacher 1st (44)

Schumacher notches the 30th win of his career thanks to his team-mate Eddie Irvine, who delays the pursuing McLarens. Irvine confirmed Ferrari's growing competitiveness with second place.

BRITAIN, 12 JULY

Hakkinen did not finish (56)

Schumacher 1st(54)

Schumacher throws the title race open with his third triumph in a row. The German only learns he has won while he is sitting in the pit lane undergoing a 10-second stop-go penalty for overtaking under yellow flags. A fruitless protest follows.

AUSTRIA, 26 JULY

Hakkinen 1st (66)

Schumacher 3rd (58)

The furore surrounding the British Grand Prix rumbles on with McLaren claiming Schumacher should not have been awarded the race. But the McLaren team find some comfort by dominating in Austria, with Schumacher finishing third.

GERMANY, 2 AUGUST

Hakkinen 1st (76)

Schumacher 5th (60)

Another McLaren-Mercedes slaughter left the German fans silent as their hero came in a distant fifth. It seemed all over at this stage with Hakkinen extending his lead to 16 points and looking immensely strong.

HUNGARY, 16 AUGUST

Hakkinen 6th (77)

Schumacher 1st (70)

Suddenly in this topsy-turvy season the impetus switches again with Schumacher giving a supreme performance while Hakkinen's car limps home in sixth after a shock absorber failure.

BELGIUM, 30 AUGUST

Hakkinen did not finish (77)

Schumacher did not finish (70)

The most explosive grand prix of the lot as Coulthard and Schumacher collide and the German driver accuses his McLaren opponent of trying to kill him. Neither Schumacher or Hakkinen score points as Damon Hill wins for Jordan.

ITALY, 13 SEPT

Hakkinen 4th (80)

Schumacher 1st (80)

A magnificent triumph for Schumacher and Ferrari on their "home" course. To make it even more significant Hakkinen can only limp home in fourth behind Irvine and the other Schumacher, Ralf.

LUXEMBOURG, 27 SEPT

Hakkinen 1st (90)

Schumacher 2nd (86)

This time Hakkinen is back in the ascendancy and it looks like Schumacher can do nothing to stop him. The Finn's victory is tense rather than spectacular, but it gives him a clear four-point advantage going into the last race.

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