Bratislava – Two-time Formula 1 world champion Mika Hakkinen dares not predict who will win the title of champion of the prestigious series this year. However, due to his experience and the support of the team, he is leaning a bit towards defending champion Lewis Hamilton. The Mercedes driver lost six laps to Red Bull’s Max Verstappen six laps before the end of the season.
“It’s extraordinarily balanced this year and anything can happen,” he said. Heikkinen said on Tuesday during a short visit to Slovakia. In Bratislava, he will participate in the SME Conference #akonato 2021 on Wednesday, organized by the Slovenská Sporiteľňa. According to the 53-year-old, the additional Hamilton is his experience and performance, as well as support from his Mercedes teammate Valtteri Bottas. “They are working great now and I think Lewis has a good chance of defending the title. There are still a lot of points in the match and there will be increased pressure on both, which Max may not fully get used to.”
Memory of great victories
Häkkinen became world champion in 1998 and 1999, recording a total of 20 Grand Prix victories, podiums 51 times and won 26 first places. “It was a beautiful time, I enjoyed it, but since I know how much sacrifice it takes to get to the top and how difficult it is both physically and mentally, I can’t say I miss it. Now I enjoy racing on TV and I can say I am really testing it. When two of the two are competing The riders for the title side by side, that is captivating and good for our sport.”
At the end of the last century, one of the biggest competitors of the German Michael Schumacher was the Finnish rider. “We were rivals, he wanted to win a lot and it was very difficult to get past him in the ring. Of course, when we competed, our relations were not very close, but outside the series we found a friendly path for each other,” explained Häkkinen, who, after moving from Lotus to McLaren in 1993, “ordered” another F1 legend, Ayrton Senna. At McLaren, he worked first only as a test driver, but then at the end of the year he replaced Michael Andretti in the cockpit and immediately during his first qualification for the Portuguese Grand Prix he managed to beat the Brazilian as his new teammate. According to Hekkinen, the three-time world champion was shocked: “He was known back then as the King of Skills, and suddenly a Finnish blond guy came and hit him. He didn’t want to believe it and asked how I could do it. So I answered him sharply and made him even angrier.”
There are smiling and friendly people in Slovakia
Häkkinen visited Slovakia several times and had only positive experiences. “Unfortunately, I didn’t have many opportunities to get to know your country better, mostly it was just a trip from the hotel to the destination and back, but I see that the people here are smiling, friendly and emotional and I like which – that.”. At his home in Monaco, he is currently living with his second wife who comes from the Czech Republic. “We go to the Czech Republic a lot and I always gain at least three kilograms during my visit, so after returning to Monaco I must always keep a diet,” The man nicknamed “Flying Finn” laughed and had five children together. His eldest son Hugo plunged into a racing career, but eventually felt too much pressure to juggle the competition and the studio.
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