Hakkinen Backs Vettel Lunge on Verstappen in Japan

October 10, 2018 1:55 pm

Sebastian Vettel was right to attempt to overtake Max Verstappen as he attempted to make up ground at the Japanese Grand Prix.

That is the verdict of former F1 champion Mika Hakkinen, who says taking risks is an integral part of the sport.

He went into Sunday’s race at the Suzuka Circuit in a desperate position having only qualified in ninth.

And he was a man on a mission early on as he looked to close the gap on title rival Lewis Hamilton.

Vettel tried to overtake Verstappen on lap eight but their Ferrari and Red Bull cars ended up colliding.

That failed manoeuvre left Vettel second to last in the field and he could only make his way back up to sixth.

Mika Hakkinen

Hamilton held on for the fifth Japanese Grand Prix win of his career, extending his lead over Vettel to 67 points.

It has been claimed that Vettel made a mistake in trying to get past Max Verstappen as it may have ended his F1 title hopes.

However, Hakkinen believes that the Ferrari driver was right to make the bold decision to attempt the overtake.

“Sebastian had to do that!” Hakkinen told German newspaper Bild. “In his position he had to try everything to maximise his result. He knew how much stronger the Mercedes is. Without going full attack, he wins nothing. Yes he risked a lot, but that’s just part of the game in Formula 1.”

However, Jacques Villeneuve disagrees with Hakkinen’s point of view though.

“He was too far behind when he overtook,” Villeneuve said. “Max couldn’t just say: ‘Please go past me’. Vettel tried something and didn’t play dirty, but it was too risky. He could write a book about his season called: ‘How to lose a world championship’. The key difference between him and Hamilton this year is that Lewis first thinks about the situation before making an aggressive attack.”

Vettel and Hamilton will go head-to-head again in two weeks’ time when the F1 calendar takes them across the Atlantic for the United States Grand Prix.

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