Monday, November 2, 1998 Published at 02:32 GMT
Mika wins as Schu let down by puncture
Podium position: Mika Hakkinen celebrates
Mika Hakkinen is F1's new world champion - thanks to a sensational blow-out that dumped Michael Schumacher out of the Japanese Grand Prix.
Schumacher recovered from a last-place starting position on the grid following a stall to power his way up to third in the final, championship-deciding grand prix of the 1998 season.
Savouring his victory, Hakkinen said: "When Michael was forced to start from the back of the grid it raised an enormous amount of pressure from me.
"The race was not as difficult as others I've had this season. But a lot of that's down to the team who kept letting me know where Eddie and Michael were."
"When Michael went to the back I knew it was up to me. I made a fantastic start and got close to Mika at some points but just couldn't manage to get in front."
It is the first time in seven years that McLaren has won the drivers' championship.
The tension rose before the race began with a false start by Jarno Trulli in the Prost Peugeot, which sent him to the back of the line up and shortened the race by one lap.
The Ferrari had nudged forward by a couple of inches and stalled as the German put it into gear.
Schumacher acknowledged the mistake, which gave him a mountainous 20 cars to overtake, with only the tiniest shake of his head.
Schumacher's rapid progress
The final race of the 1998 season eventually got under way after being reduced from 53 to 51 laps.
The initial sparring saw the second Ferrari of Eddie Irvine race into second from third, behind Hakkinen, the leader.
But he found himself stuck behind two-time Suzuka winner Damon Hill in the Jordan, and the subsequent battle put nearly 30 seconds between the German challenger and Hakkinen before he could move up to fifth.
The Monaco-based driver, whose racing career was in doubt after an horrific crash in Australia in 1995, managed to squeeze a hand out of the cockpit to acknowledge his eighth grand prix victory of the season.
Damon Hill finished a clinical race by grabbing fourth at the final corner to give the Jordan team fourth - their highest ranking in the constructors' championship.
Williams finished a disappointing season with Heinz-Harald Frentzen and Jacques Villeneuve in fifth and sixth respectively.
McLaren also took the constructors' championship for the eighth time in its history.
British driver Johnny Herbert came in 10th in his final ride for Sauber before driving for Stewart next year.
The 1999 season begins in Melbourne on 7 March.
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