On 2nd May 1999, the San Marino Grand Prix was held at Imola. Ferrari had not won here since 1983 and nothing suggested that this drought would come to an end this weekend, as McLaren monopolised the front row: world champion Mika Hakkinen took pole position on Saturday, with a time 26 thousandths faster than team-mate David Coulthard. It was an all-Ferrari second row, with Michael Schumacher 176 thousandths down and Eddie Irvine seven tenths behind.
After the start, Hakkinen immediately pulled away from the field, enjoying a 12.4 second lead over Coulthard by lap 16, and over 16 seconds on Schumacher, which meant he’d pulled away from the German at a rate of over a second a lap. However, on lap 18, the Finn overcooked it at the Variante Bassa, bouncing over the left hand kerb.
The car slid over the kerb, starting a pendulum effect that would see Hakkinen crashing into the wall opposite the pits. This was Michael Schumacher’s cue to get racing, and thanks to a perfect strategy call from the team, he managed to get ahead of Coulthard who ended the race almost five seconds down.
In the other F399, Eddie Irvine had to retire while lying third because of an engine failure and the crowd shuddered. But all the same, an Imola victory awaited Ferrari at the flag, with Michael crossing the line ahead of Coulthard. Third, one lap down, was Rubens Barrichello in the Stewart.