Hakkinen: Monza "a mistake of leadership and strategy"


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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Published: 07/09/2018
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