Michael Schumacher and Mika Hakkinen race against each other in the junior formulas before meeting again in Formula 1. The only difference was that they were going for World Championship during their time in F1, and both became one of the best champions ever seen in the history of the pinnacle of motorsport.
Schumacher competed in Formula 1 from 1991 to 2012, and he won a joint-record seven World Championships and the second-most Grands Prix in history, with 91. While the German was a Ferrari legend, Hakkinen became a World Champion with McLaren-Mercedes in 1998 and 1999 after fierce battles with the Scuderia Ferrari.
Schumacher and Hakkinen fought for the 1998 Formula 1 World Drivers’ Championship until the final race of the year at Suzuka. As the German was going for his third title at the time (after winning two with Benetton), Hakkinen was aiming for his first championship.
Ultimately, the Finnish driver won the 1998 Japanese Grand Prix and earned the 1998 World Championship. He followed it up by winning the 1999 title against Schumacher’s teammate Eddie Irvine (as the German missed a good part of the season with a leg injury).
Then, the battle resumed in the 2000 Formula 1 season, but it was Schumacher who sealed the championship at Suzuka with one race to spare, giving the Scuderia Ferrari its first WDC since Jody Scheckter’s in 1979.
After Hakkinen retired in 2001, the rivalry, which was always respectful ended, but it was definitely a huge chapter of Formula 1 history.
🇧🇪 2000: Onboard for an epic battle between Mika Hakkinen and Michael Schumacher
— Formula 1 (@F1) August 23, 2017
To see Michael Schumacher’s special helmet for the 1998 Japanese Grand Prix, you can click here.