Mika Häkkinen: “I am not sure that intimidating Lewis will work”

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Two-time F1 champion Mika Häkkinen says “keeping the steering wheel open is an easy way to intimidate a rival”, but Max Verstappen will not be able to intimidate Lewis Hamilton.

In his Unibet column Mika Häkkinen gave his opinions on the Brazilian Grand Prix, and talked about Lewis Hamilton’s disqualification from qualifying due to an unintentional small DRS gap on his car’s rear wing.

“The first came after Friday qualifying when Lewis’s car was found to have a DRS gap that was 0.2mm larger than the 85mm gap which is allowed,” the Finn wrote.

“This is a tiny error, and only occurred on one side of the wing – it was legal in the middle and on the other side – and the FIA Stewards were sure this had not been done deliberately by the team.

“I also think that the performance benefit would have been nothing significant.  It might even have been a problem because you need every element of the car’s aero balance to be perfect.”

However, he said this ruling is what gave Lewis and Mercedes more motivation to strike back in the Qualifying Sprint Race.

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“What is so interesting, however, is that by putting Lewis to the back of the grid for the Sprint qualifying race I believe both he and the team channeled their anger into something really positive.

“It gave them more motivation, a real determination to treat the Sprint like the first part of the Grand Prix, with Sunday’s race completing their strategy.”

That motivation obviously paid off as Valtteri Bottas won that race, while Lewis progressed from last on the grid to P5 in only 24 laps.

“While Valtteri did a really perfect job in the Sprint by taking the lead from Max, Lewis’s performance was so impressive to watch.

“I think he overtook four cars at the start and in just half an hour worked his way up to 5th.  It showed everyone just how strong he would be on Sunday.”

Häkkinen then turned to the incident in the main race when Verstappen pushed Hamilton wide and off the track, and went unpunished by the stewards.

“Max is at the top of his career, leading the World Championship and determined to keep Lewis behind.  What happened at Turn 4 on lap 48 was an example of how hard Max is prepared to push.

“Keeping the steering wheel open is an easy way to intimidate a rival, but it can also lead to a collision.  In that case you never know what might happen.

“I am not sure that intimidating Lewis will work. He likes a challenge. It gives him extra focus!”

The two-time world champion is now looking forward to the exciting final stretch of the 2021 season.

“With three races to go I think we will see more excellent racing.  The right way to win the Championship is to race hard but fair, with brilliant overtaking and the victory being decided by the chequered flag.

“ This is such a good World Championship I really do not want accidents, penalties and Stewards meetings to determine the final result,” Häkkinen concluded.

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