• October 31 down the years

Mika triumphs as Irvine falls at the final hurdle

What happened on this day in Formula One history?
Mika Hakkinen celebrates victory - and his second drivers' title - as Michael Schumacher and Eddie Irvine reflect on what might have been © Sutton Images

Eddie Irvine's best shot at a world title ended in the season finale at Suzuka as Mika Hakkinen won the Japanese Grand Prix and in so doing became only the seventh man to successfully defend his crown. For Irvine, who left Ferrari for Jaguar over the winter and who missed out by two points, there was little solace in his third place or his team winning the constructors' title. "We won one championship, but not the one I wanted," he shrugged. "It is going to be hard over the winter, looking back at the races where I lost one point here or there, or at the Nurburgring when I let Mika through with five laps to go.If it had been 15 races instead of 16 I would have been champion, instead I am second." Any flickering hope Irvine had after a wretched qualifying session left him fifth on the grid evaporated as Hakkinen's team-mate David Coulthard held back the field. "I'm not comfortable from a racing point of view that I was holding Eddie up, trying to help Mika," he said. "But Ferrari have said it was not dirty tactics. It is not something I liked to do, especially to Eddie because if he had won the world championship, I would not have begrudged him it. I was not doing anything that was outside the rules, but it did not make me feel very good that I was backing into a fellow Brit."

Pinner-born Derek Bell will be best remembered for five victories in the Le Mans 24-Hour race, but it is often overlooked that he started his less-than-successful F1 career with Ferrari in 1968. He attracted the eye of Enzo Ferrari who signed him for a few races, but he was not re-engaged in 1969 and drifted through a succession of brief spells with a variety of teams before he turned his full-time attentions to sports cars with much greater success.

Born in Aigle, Switzerland, Sebastien Buemi entered F1 through Red Bull's young driver programme, replacing Sebastian Vettel at Toro Rosso when he moved up to take a seat with the Red Bull team. He outqualified his team-mate at his first grand prix and finished seventh, suffering slightly after a good start before finishing the season strongly. He continued to learn the trade in his second season.