Hakkinen retains Formula One title
SUZUKA, Japan, Oct 31 - Finland's Mika Hakkinen retained his Formula
One title on Sunday when he drove to an emphatic victory in the Japanese
The defending champion's success, finishing ahead of Ferrari's German
Michael Schumacher and Briton Eddie Irvine, lifted him to a winning total
of 76 points.
Irvine finished runner-up in the championship on 74 points. The Ferrari
pairing's double finish on the podium brought the Italian team the constructors'
title by 128 points to 124 and so delivered some poetic justice and satisfaction
for both them and McLaren after an acrimononious two weeks. It was Ferrari's
first constructors' title since 1983. Irvine, who led the title race by
four points before the start of Sunday's race, was never able to join the
battle for victory at Suzuka as Hakkinen led from start to finish except
for three laps following his first pitstop. Hakkinen's victory was the
15th of his career and fifth of this season. German Heinz-Harald Frentzen
finished fourth to make sure of third place in the driver's championship
ahead of Hakkinen's McLaren team mate Briton David Coulthard who spun off
in the closing stages. Ralf Schumacher was fifth in a Williams and France's
Jean Alesi was sixth for Sauber.