Cover Image for Michael Schumacher drove 19 qualifying laps to win 9 seconds ahead of David Coulthard

Michael Schumacher drove 19 qualifying laps to win 9 seconds ahead of David Coulthard

Janmeyjay Shukla
|Tue Aug 16 2022

An infamous radio message from Ross Brawn helped bring Michael Schumacher’s true driving ability at the 1998 Hungarian Grand Prix.

Michael Schumacher was 16 points behind McLaren’s Mika Hakkinen going into the Hungarian Grand Prix. To add fuel to the fire, the McLaren duo of Hakkinen and David Coulthard locked the front row.

The German driver could only qualify third on the grid ahead of Jordan’s Damon Hill and teammate Eddie Irvine. What happened next is a strategic masterstroke by Ross Brawn.

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A race the McLaren drivers were poised to win

Ferrari planned a two-stop strategy before like every other team on the grid. During the first few laps of the race, Hakkinen and Coulthard did not change place and it looked like a smooth race for McLaren.

Going into the 28th lap of the race with all teams making their first pit stop, Hakkinen was four seconds ahead of Coulthard. However, due to a mechanical issue, the Finnish’s lap time decreased.

Still, nothing to worry about for McLaren as his British teammate Coulthard did all he could to slow down Schumacher from overtaking.

19 Laps of blistering pace by Michael Schumacher

That is right when Ross Brawn played the masterstroke from his book of strategies. Ferrari went for a third pitstop on lap 42 with one of the most famous radio messages ever.

Ross Brawn said the following: “Michael [Schumacher], you have 19 laps to pull out 25 seconds. We need 19 qualifying laps from you.” To which the German responded with a ‘thank you.’

Schumacher would go on to drive like the final minute of the qualifying session. The gap between the German and Hakkinen from lap 52 went from 11 seconds to 26 seconds by lap 62.

The seven times world champion won the race 9 seconds ahead of David Coulthard and over a minute ahead of third place Jacques Villeneuve.

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