Michael Schumacher and Ross Brawn were the force that pushed Ferrari to a race win during the Hungarian Grand Prix of 1998 where a change of strategy paid a dividend for the Maranello-based team.
After the completion of 11 rounds of the 16-round 1998 World Championship, Mika Hakkinen was 16 points ahead of Michael Schumacher in the Drivers Championship and it was important for Schumacher to prevent Hakkinen from winning in Hungary.
However, after the end of Qualifying, the McLaren drivers were ahead on the grid of Michael Schumacher and the German was able to secure the third slot. He was not very confident going into the race because of the lack of overtaking opportunities at the Hungaroring.
As the race went underway Haikkenen led the rest into the first corner with David Coulthard in second and Michael Schumacher in the third, during the first stint of the race Haikenen was comfortably ahead of the rest and it was on lap 25 when Ferrari decided to roll the dice and asked Schumacher to come into the pits.
The team went for a three-stopper and when Jacques Villeneuve came into the pits on lap 31, Michael Schumacher was 7.45 seconds behind Mika Haikknen who after a pit stop was still leading the race.
Michael Schumacher was closing the gap to Mika Haikkenen pretty fast
However, by the 35th lap of the race, Schumacher was able to close the gap and was only 3.6 seconds behind Haikkenen but was still not able to get past him.
On lap 43 Schumacher was again asked to come into the pits and it was at this moment that Ross Brawn said, “Michael, you have 19 laps to pull out 25 seconds.” In response, Schumacher added, “Ok. Thank you.”
The McLaren F1 team did not react to the three-stop strategy of Ferrari and stuck to its two-stopper as they felt Schumacher would not be able to make up the 25 seconds needed for an additional stop.
However, Michael Schumacher after his pit stop was doing super fast laps that were helping him in closing the gap and when Haikkenen pitted on lap 47, McLaren was behind Ferrari for the first time.
Mika Haikkenen incurred a problem during the race that slowed him down considerably and it took McLaren an additional six laps to ask Haikkenen to give way to David Coulthard as he became the main hope of preventing Ferrari from winning in Hungary.
However, as the race progressed Michael Schumacher put in more electrifying laps that proved too good for McLaren, and ultimately the German was able to come away with maximum points from the Hungarian Grand Prix.