Up Close & Personal: Mika Hakkinen's Thoughts on the 2017 F1 Season

Mika Hakkinen, the two-time Formula 1 champion is on his ‘maiden’ visit to India as part of the #JoinThePact initiative for Johnnie Walker - The Journey. Between his hot laps for the Indian fans in the F1-inspired Caparo T1 race car and desire to eat spicy Indian food, he settled down for a candid, no-holds-barred chat about the 2017 F1 season and his illustrious career.Talking about world champions, Hakkinen lavished praise on Lewis Hamilton, who won his fourth championship this season. “Winning two championships requires so much energy, so imagine winning it four times, or seven times (Schumacher). For me, it is great respect for Lewis’ physical and psychological power to achieve this sort of a result. It shows that he is becoming more and more complete,” said a humble Hakkinen to Firstpost.

We’ve had a rollercoaster of a Formula 1 season, with Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel going head to head as Ferrari and Mercedes battled it out for supremacy. Hakkinen shared his thoughts about the season saying, “The season started in a very competitive way and the two teams were fighting for the championship. However, after the break, Mercedes came back really strongly with Hamilton and (Valtteri) Bottas. But what happened to Ferrari? They had some mechanical failures and it was strange to see that,” adding that he had some personal thoughts and guesses about what went so wrong.

Hakkinen is known for vocally supporting the two Finns on the grid (Kimi Raikkonen and Bottas). Interestingly, his own career was managed by another Finnish great, Keke Rosberg (Nico’s father). While everyone has been lamenting how Bottas was off the pace in the second half of the season, Hakkinen offered a logical explanation, which left us wondering what Bottas’ true potential actually was.

In case you’re a Max Verstappen fan, Hakkinen spoke about the young prodigy and his future, and also that of his not-so-young but as talented teammate, Daniel Ricciardo. Why did Ferrari struggle so much after getting off to a marvelous start? Hakkinen almost gave away his thoughts on the show, but chose to then hold them back (for now).

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