Make your own free website on
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 Grand Prix. 
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.