- Mika Hakkinen, 1999 – won by 2 points versus Eddie Irvine
Hakkinen had won the 1998 Championship, the first of his career, and went through the 1999 season with the same fervor and intensity, hoping to retain his title. But during the course of the season, Eddie Irvine constantly one-upped him.
Hakkinen thus entered the Japanese GP two points behind Irvine. But during the race, Irvine was constantly held up by Hakkinen’s teammate, David Coulthard, and that slowed his pace significantly. Coulthard spun off some time later, allowing Irvine to get past him eventually, but till this time Hakkinen was already far ahead of him. Hakkinen ultimately finished first, looking down at a glowering Irvine standing on the podium at third place.
- Michael Schumacher, 2003 – won by 2 points versus Kimi Raikkonen
The legendary Michael Schumacher was at the peak of his career in F1 when he started the 2003 season, having won the previous three years. As the year went on, it became clear that this season the race for the Championship was a three-horse race, between Schumacher, the Colombian Juan Pablo Montoya and the up-and-coming Kimi Raikkonen.
Schumacher entered the final race at 92 points, 9 points ahead of Raikkonen and 10 ahead of Montoya. Thinking the trophy was in the bag, Schumacher spent most of the race in a contemplative mood, enjoying the race than actually trying to win. But when his team notified him that Raikkonen was moving up to the leader, Schumacher snapped away from his daydream and raced to an eighth-place finish, which was technically enough for him to win the trophy. And win it he did, by two points at the end, as Raikkonen only managed to come in second.