Champion of Champions
Mika Hakkinen succeeded Jacques Villeneuve as champion in the 1990s.
But they never went up against each other for the championship – the common thread between this pair was another driver: Michael Schumacher.
Villeneuve made a huge impact on F1 when he first appeared for Williams in 1996. He started his maiden race from pole position and would have won it had his car not suffered an oil leak.
That allowed team mate Damon Hill through to win. Hill beat Villeneuve to the title but not before the Canadian had won four races in his rookie season.
Hill was replaced by Heinz-Harald Frentzen in 1997 and Villeneuve duly claimed the title after Schumacher’s infamous attempt to take him out at Jerez.
Hakkinen broke his Grand Prix duck in that race – thanks to team mate David Coulthard – and the following year he took Villeneuve’s place as Schumacher’s title rival. He won eight out of 16 races to clinch the championship.
This was the culmination of six years’ work with McLaren. Hakkinen joined the team in 1993 after two seasons with Lotus.
A second title followed in 1999, though Schumacher was taken out of contention halfway through the season when he broke his leg. In 2000 Hakkinen was runner-up in another title duel with Schumacher.
By 2001 his motivation seemed to be sapped and he announced he would be taking a year away from F1. But he never raced in the top flight again.
While Hakkinen endured several trying years at the beginning of his career, Villeneuve went through the same after winning his championship. He left Williams to join the new BAR team in 1999 and the project made excruciatingly slow progress.
After a change of management at the team he left on the eve of the 2003 Japanese Grand Prix. He made a partial return at the end of 2004, partnering Fernando Alonso at Renault, before moving to Sauber.
That team became BMW in 2006, and Villeneuve was dropped to make way for Robert Kubica following that year’s German Grand Prix.
Which of these drivers should go through to the next round of the Champion of Champions? Vote for which you think was best below and explain who you voted for and why in the comments.
|Mika Hakkinen||Jacques Villeneuve|
|Second in title year/s||Michael Schumacher, Eddie Irvine||Michael Schumacher*|
|Teams||Lotus, McLaren||Williams, BAR, Renault, Sauber, BMW|
|Notable team mates||Johnny Herbert, Martin Brundle, David Coulthard||Damon Hill, Olivier Panis, Jenson Button|
|Wins||20 (12.42%)||11 (6.75%)|
|Poles||26 (16.15%)||13 (7.98%)|
|Modern points per start1||8.58||5.23|
|% car failures2||24.22||22.70|
|Modern points per finish3||11.33||6.77|
|Notes||Stunned Ayrton Senna by out-qualifying him in their first race as team mates||Finished on podium on debut and won his fourth race|
|Recovered from head injuries after crashing at Adelaide in 1995||Took title in second season for Williams but never won a race again|
|Won back-to-back titles for McLaren in 1998 and 1999||Failed to score a point in 1999 at beginning of troubled BAR project|
|Bio||Mika Hakkinen||Jacques Villeneuve|
*Placed second in points but disqualified from championship after the season ended. Heinz-Harald Frentzen was promoted from third to second.
1 How many points they scored in their career, adjusted to the 2010 points system, divided by the number of races they started
2 The percentage of races in which they were not classified due to a mechanical failure
3 How many points they scored in their career, adjusted to the 2010 points system, divided by the number of starts in which they did not suffer a race-ending mechanical failure
Which was the better world champion driver?
- Mika Hakkinen (93%)
- Jacques Villeneuve (7%)
Total Voters: 688
Read the F1 Fanatic Champion of Champions introduction for more information and remember to check back tomorrow for the next round.
Have you voted in the previous rounds of Champion of Champions yet? Find them all here:
Champion of Champions
- Ayrton Senna voted Champion of Champions by F1 Fanatic readers
- Champion of Champions in stats
- Champion of Champions Final: Senna vs Schumacher
- Ayrton Senna vs Juan Manuel Fangio
- Michael Schumacher vs Alain Prost
- Ayrton Senna vs Jack Brabham
- Juan Manuel Fangio vs Jackie Stewart
- Alain Prost vs Niki Lauda
- Jim Clark vs Michael Schumacher
- Jack Brabham vs Lewis Hamilton
Images © Bridgestone Corporation (Hakkinen), Williams/Sutton (Villeneuve)