Hamilton, Hakkinen or Coulthard! Ex-Mercedes Director Names Fastest McLaren F1 Driver

Published 07/07/2021, 4:38 AM EDT
SHANGHAI, CHINA – APRIL 15: Lewis Hamilton of Great Britain and McLaren drives during the Chinese Formula One Grand Prix at the Shanghai International Circuit on April 15, 2012 in Shanghai, China. (Photo by Paul Gilham/Getty Images)


McLaren F1 have had some pretty great drivers who have raced for them in the past, including the two-time world champion, Mika Hakkinen, David Coulthard, and the seven-time world champion, Lewis Hamilton.

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Of course, part of McLaren’s success in F1 goes to Norbert Haug, who played a crucial role in negotiating a deal between the British team and the German manufacturers, Mercedes-Benz; he was part of the tie-up for 15 years, before backing out.

Hence, having been part of the McLaren-Mercedes era, Haug opened up about who he would rate as the best driver of McLaren. The German journalist chose three names to choose from – Hamilton, Hakkinen, and Coulthard.

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What did Norbert Haug say?

During a podcast, Haug compared the ex-McLaren’s drivers’ successes with the team. It was first Hakkinen, who he felt was punching above his weight most of the time, fighting against in-form Michael Schumacher.

It is difficult to judge. I think we had a lot of really good, fast drivers. I mean, Mika was very very specialized in some qualifying. If you need to fight it out against Michael Schumacher in Suzuka, that is not easy at all,” he said while featuring in F1’s Beyond the Grid podcast.

Formula One F1 – Steiermark Grand Prix – Red Bull Ring, Spielberg, Styria, Austria – June 26, 2021 Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton wearing a protective face mask after qualifying in third place REUTERS/Leonhard Foeger

And David Coulthard on his day was unbelievable. But David himself just describes him very often, wasn’t quite as fast as Mika.

And then, of course, Lewis. I mean, Lewis had some fantastic races. Once in Silverstone in the rain, if you remember. I think he was over a minute ahead of the second-placed Nick Heidfeld. And also Fuji was a great race,” Haug added.

Lewis Hamilton, the most successful F1 driver: Haug

The 68-year-old then revealed his decision, with his finger unsurprisingly pointing towards the seven-time world champion. However, that didn’t necessarily mean that he spoke less of the other two.

So, the fastest, the most successful of course in Lewis. Mika would have deserved more because we had some failures here and there,” he said.

Lewis Hamilton (R) of Great Britain and McLaren listens as Michael Schumacher (L) of Germany and Mercedes GP talks at the drivers press conference during previews to the Monaco Formula One Grand Prix at the Monte Carlo Circuit in Monte Carlo, Monaco. (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)

I mean, the cars are not as bullet-proof as they are today. But, all in all, it was a great period of time. The McLaren days were fantastic.”

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Overall, Hamilton had a straightforward phase with Mercedes until 2020, securing titles with mere pressure from others.

But in the form of Max Verstappen, 2021 threw Hamilton with what could possibly be his biggest F1 challenge. So, can the Briton bring his A-game onto the table to defeat the title favorite, Verstappen?

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Rohit Kumar

914 articles

Rohit Kumar is an F1 author at EssentiallySports. He has been an ardent follower of the racing series since 2007, with his love for the sport coinciding with his love for Kimi Raikkonen. He is also an ardent follower of Sebastian Vettel and Aston Martin Racing.

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