Finnish double world champion Mika Hakkinen was one of Michael Schumacher’s greatest rivals. Recently, the 49-year old compared Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel to Schumacher. The 7-time World Champion led Ferrari to a new era of glory. The Finn is of the opinion that predicting this year’s title winner is impossible.
The 1998 and 1999 F1 world champion reminisced his arch nemesis, Schumacher and noticed similarities between his former rival and Vettel. He said,, “I first think of Sebastian’s driving style as unique, but the similarities to Michael are there. He always braked at the same point, always drove the same line, accelerated very sensitively, everything controlled,”
With regard to Vettel’s rival Lewis Hamilton, Hakkinen admitted that Lewis was more extreme. The Briton is very controlled, but tends to push the car to the limit and takes more risks. However, those risks are anything but careless. Lewis makes conscious decisions. If he manages to stay on track, a super lap is the reward. The risk is necessary but should not be abused, otherwise you will make a mistake.
Hakkinen has admitted that the action from this season reminds him of his McLaren days. He said that they laid emphasis on rear stability on the track. A nervous tail makes it hard for the driver, especially if he is driving the car to the limit. Ferrari is in a good position for the title, unless unpredictable things happen…”
He continued, “Formula 1 has not been as exciting for a long time now. Rosberg against Hamilton was anything but boring, but the number of fans was reduced by the duel within one team. Now Mercedes against Ferrari, plus the young talents like [Max] Verstappen – now it’s exciting.”
The championship this year has swung like a pendulum, with Vettel versus Hamilton and Ferrari versus Mercedes swinging one way and the other during the first 12 rounds of the season. Hamilton lies 24 points ahead of Vettel with nine rounds remaining.
“It’s impossible to predict that. Hamilton and Vettel are so very different. It’s interesting to see how Vettel’s nerves sometimes take over, on the other hand, Hamilton takes more risks,” added Hakkinen.