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Hakkinen: Monza "a mistake of leadership and strategy"

NEWS STORY
07/09/2018

While Maurizio Arrivabene has defended his team's strategy over the course of the Italian Grand Prix weekend, former Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo has been critical of the Maranello team. While defending Mercedes use of Valtteri Bottas to aid Lewis Hamilton's efforts, Montezemolo has criticised Ferrari for failing to use a similar strategy rather than allowing Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen to battle.

Now, two-time world champion, Mika Hakkinen, has hit out at the Italian team for its lack of leadership, while praising Hamilton for his determination and performance.

"Ferrari has the fastest car at the moment, but Lewis Hamilton has a thirty-point lead in the championship," says the Finn.

"No one can say that Lewis is there because the Mercedes has a major advantage," he continues. "He is there because he and the Mercedes team are doing a better job.

"In my opinion, he is leading the World Championship for three reasons. The first has been his natural talent, particularly in the wet, which has meant that he has been able to upset Ferrari's weekends any time that it has rained. The second is that he shows great race craft and does not make mistakes of the kind that Sebastian Vettel has made, especially at race starts. And thirdly he benefits from having a fantastic team partnership with Valtteri Bottas.

"Last weekend's Grand Prix produced a fantastic race, and again it was Lewis who made all the right moves, brilliantly supported by Valtteri. The two Mercedes drivers were able to defeat Ferrari at home in Italy because, from the moment the lights went out at the start, it was clear that Ferrari had two drivers racing each other whereas at Mercedes they worked together.

"Kimi Raikkonen did a perfect job in qualifying on Saturday, and with Vettel a little bit late onto the track it meant that Kimi was able to benefit from towing up behind Sebastian on the long Monza straights in order to get pole position.

"This was a great performance from Kimi, but a bad result for Sebastian because apparently, the Ferrari contracts give preference to whichever driver is on pole. If this is true, it was a mistake of leadership and strategy on Ferrari's part not to sit down with Kimi and Sebastian on Saturday night and plan how to run the race.

"They really did not need to be fighting each other going into the first corner," he insists, "and when Kimi naturally defended, which he is entitled to do, it put Sebastian off-line. This meant that Lewis, who was in third, was always going to get a really good run at Sebastian on the drive through the next corner, the Curva Grande, and that's exactly what happened.

"In simple terms, if the Ferrari drivers had not been fighting each other, they could have defended much better from Lewis on lap 1. Instead, they gave Lewis an open opportunity to move into second position, and Sebastian spun off when they touched.

"From then on it was two against one. Lewis and Valtteri against Kimi and this gives a team like Mercedes such a strategic advantage because they know exactly how to the play the game."

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READERS COMMENTS

 

1. Posted by hussainahm, 08/09/2018 10:31

"Kimi being 92 points down, it’s time to go into second driver mode. Otherwise they will lose both championships."

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2. Posted by Spindoctor, 08/09/2018 8:57

"Vettel should breeze to this year's title assuming he can control his wayward temperament. For me his superficial "charm" and sense of humour have worn increasingly thin over the years. Too many clashes with team mates, and crashes into opponents, and a complete lack of realism in decision-making have made him a loose cannon in the F1 paddock."

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3. Posted by phantom, 08/09/2018 0:07

"Says the man who won his first race when another driver 'moved over.'
"

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4. Posted by Tardis40, 07/09/2018 19:38

"Ferrari and Vettel are still in the driver's seat in this championship. They have the faster car and there are enough races left to lift the title. But they are out of mistakes. Everything has to be perfect from now until the final race."

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5. Posted by VC10-1103, 07/09/2018 19:04

"The lessons were there for the learning of this time last year. Quite palpably there weren't taken on board. Seb, if you want the championship just ask yourself 'What would Prost do in this situation?'"

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6. Posted by Bill Hopgood, 07/09/2018 17:54

"All grand prix drivers think they are the best of the best (or they should) and have the ego to match, plus some. And this is a good and necessary thing to be competitive. They have incredible self belief.
However, sometimes the ego gets in the way. Sometimes the ego needs to be parked up, until later, in order to get the best result for the team or the long term championship.
I suspect that Vettel didn't park his ego until the first round of stops where Ferrari would take two seconds on Raikonnen's sticking left rear.
If I suspect correctly then Vettel should be good to go for the remainder of the season, if the lessons are learned. Mind you, this does depend a lot as Hakkinen says, on the leadership of the team making the right calls."

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7. Posted by VC10-1103, 07/09/2018 15:49

"chessedflag - exactly. Seb has learnt nothing from this point of the season last year. All he had to do was finish ahead of Lewis, but no, he had to go for the wins and in doing so flushed his championship down the pan."

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8. Posted by mickl, 07/09/2018 13:45

"@chessedflag Ah but it's the team's home race and Vettel wanted to glory of winning in front of the tifosi so coming second to Kimi would have been a affront to his eyes. Even though Kimi would probably have gotten the bigger cheer even coming second."

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9. Posted by chessedflag, 07/09/2018 13:34

"we all understand, and Vettel should. His job is to stay ahead of Lewis, not to pass kimi.
wherever they are this is the priority, passing kimi or any other is a wish to aim without jepardising his job"

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