“Schumacher comes in to pit and crosses the finish line!” – When Michael Schumacher’s pit win led to FIA suspending stewards licenses
Michael Schumacher served his time and go penalty after crossing the line at the British Grand Prix in 1998.
Ferrari’s Michael Schumacher was in a close battle with McLaren’s Mika Hakkinen who led the world championship. The Finnish had won four races till then and even his teammate David Coulthard won in San Marino.
Michael Schumacher secured his first victory in Argentina previously. With additional victories in Canada and France, he was looking to secure a hattrick in Britain.
Schumacher’s fight with Mika Hakkinen and heavy rain
Heading into the British Grand Prix, Schumacher was six points behind Hakkinen who also secured the pole position. The German started second ahead of Williams’ Jacques Villeneuve.
There was heavy rain on the track throughout the race and Hakkinen maintained a big lead despite damaging his front wing. He had built well over 49 leads over Schumacher with a view of winning the race easily.
However, due to the heavy rain, the safety car was called in for the safety of drivers and clear visibility. The race restarted from lap 50th onwards and the German took the lead due to Hakkinen’s error.
Schumacher was confident of winning the race. However, with two laps remaining, the stewards issued him a 10 seconds penalty for passing Alexander Wurz under the safety car condition on lap 43.
Michael Schumacher given victory after McLaren loses court case
The German and the team could not make out if it was a stop-and-go penalty or included in his time after the race. Hence, Ferrari ordered him to pit on the very last lap of the race.
The Seven times world champion crossed the finish line before reaching the Ferrari pitstop. Moreover, McLaren did not enjoy this particular decision and appealed to the FIA’s International Court of Appeal. They additionally wanted 25 seconds to Schumacher’s time.
Meanwhile, Ferrari argued that the stewards left them uninformed about the kind of penalty. In addition, the decision went in Ferrari’s favor with Schumacher taking the victory.
The stewards acknowledged their blunder and lost their FIA licenses due to their incompetent work during the race. With this win, Schumacher closed the gap in the driver’s championship to just 2 points.
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