Malaysian GP 1999

Malaysian GP, 1999

The inaugural Malaysian Grand Prix saw Michael Schumacher back into action for Ferrari for the first time since his leg-breaking accident at the British GP in July. After weeks of being less than impressive the Ferraris - or at least Schumacher's car - were suddenly fast again. Schumacher was so fast in fact that he was a second ahead of the two McLarens in qualifying. Irvine was alongside him on the grid and the McLarens of David Coulthard and Mika Hakkinen were third and fourth. Then came a revitalized Johnny Herbert, much more motivated after his win at the European GP three weeks previously. Herbert's Stewart-Ford team mate, Rubens Barrichello, was sixth on the grid.

In the race Schumacher went off in the lead with Irvine having trouble keeping Coulthard, Hakkinen and Barrichello behind him. On lap four Schumacher slowed and allowed Irvine to pass him and then proceeded to block Coulthard and the others. David was in no mood for such behavior and on the next lap he forced his way past the Ferrari and went off in pursuit of Irvine. He was challenging for the lead when his car broke down.

Back in second place, Schumacher slowed down again to allow Irvine to get an advantage. Then, needing to stay ahead of Hakkinen during the pit stops, Michael accelerated the pace in order to build a lead. Realising this, McLaren took a risk. They gave Hakkinen half a tank of fuel and hoped it would be enough to get him out of the pits ahead of Schumacher.

The gamble failed. Schumacher blocked Hakkinen again and the gap to Irvine went up to around 20secs. Irvine did not have a big enough advantage to stay ahead at his second stop but Ferrari was sure that Hakkinen would have to stop again. He did, emerging in fourth place behind Herbert. Schumacher slowed again to allow Irvine to take the lead. Hakkinen could do no more than force his way past Herbert to take third place. After the race the Ferraris were found to be illegal by an FIA official. The stewards agreed. The Ferraris were thrown out, which - in theory - made Hakkinen World Champion.

Ferrari appealed and the FIA Court of Appeal in Paris later ruled that the cars were not illegal and that the measurements taken had been wrong. The two Ferraris were reinstated.

Eddie Irvine Ferrari  56 1h36m38.494  1m40.635 
Michael Schumacher Ferrari  56 1.040  1m39.688 
Mika Hakkinen McLaren-Mercedes  56 9.743  1m40.866 
17 Johnny Herbert Stewart-Ford  56 17.538  1m40.937 
16 Rubens Barrichello Stewart-Ford  56 32.296  1m41.351 
Heinz-Harald Frentzen Jordan-Mugen Honda  56 34.884  1m42.380 14 
11 Jean Alesi Sauber-Petronas  56 54.408  1m42.522 15 
10 Alexander Wurz Benetton-Supertec  56 1m00.934  1m41.444 
21 Marc Gene Minardi-Ford  55 1 Lap  1m43.563 19 
10 Alessandro Zanardi Williams-Supertec  55 1 Lap  1m42.885 16 
11 Giancarlo Fisichella Benetton-Supertec  52 4 Laps  1m42.110 11 
22 Jacques Villeneuve BAR-Supertec  48 Hydraulics 1m42.087 10 
12 Pedro Diniz Sauber-Petronas  44 Spin 1m42.933 17 
15 Pedro de la Rosa Arrows  30 Engine 1m43.579 20 
20 Luca Badoer Minardi-Ford  15 Engine 1m44.321 21 
David Coulthard McLaren-Mercedes  14 Fuel Pump 1m40.806 
14 Toranosuke Takagi Arrows  Driveshaft 1m44.637 22 
Ralf Schumacher Williams-Supertec  Spin 1m41.558 
23 Ricardo Zonta BAR-Supertec  Engine 1m42.310 13 
18 Olivier Panis Prost-Peugeot  Engine 1m42.208 12 
Damon Hill Jordan-Mugen Honda  Accident 1m42.050 
19 Jarno Trulli Prost-Peugeot  Engine 1m42.948 18