Finnish former racing driver Mika Hakkinen said that he believes race defining incidents like Sebastian Vettel’s in Canada need to be analysed in-depth after a race before hasty penalties.
Speaking to Mark Gallagher on the Unibet podcast, the 1998 and 1999 F1 World Champion gave his opinion on the way Scuderia Ferrari German driver Sebastian Vettel approached his recovery from the error that sent him sliding off track on Lap 48 while leading Sunday’s race at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve: “I would have done the same as Sebastian. I would have gone off and tried to maximise my recovery, and my performance and get the racing line and accelerate properly. And of course, not let the guy behind overtake. That would be logical, as long as you don’t do anything against the rulebook.” – he explained.
“Getting onto the clean line is the automatic reaction. Finding the clean line and keeping the driver behind – it’s 50/50. At the angle Sebastian was at, he couldn’t see the car behind. So when you rejoin the circuit, you’re thinking “How far was the guy behind me, how long would it take for him to get here?” and calculating to make sure you don’t crash into him. The driver behind you can see you, has a brake pedal and has the whole racetrack to be used and to choose his line. The angle Sebastian went off, Lewis doesn’t have choices of line, only that he can really slow down.” – Mika Hakkinen added.
The former McLaren driver said he believed no particular thought was given to blocking Hamilton’s overtake attempt, but that racer’s instinct took over: “It’s 100% racers instinct. That corner is downhill, so the surface isn’t flat, it’s dirty, and an F1 car is so tough to drive. Especially coming off grass onto the track, it’s super difficult. That corner is falling away, and is slightly off-camber. An F1 car’s ride height means that recovering off track is really challenging because the wheels aren’t even touching the ground all the time. I’m surprised Sebastian even survived getting back onto the track. But, there was no accident. Both are multiple Champions, they handled the situation. Lewis knew what was going to happen, there was no surprises, so he was getting ready for it and that’s why there was no accident.” – he explained.
The McLaren ambassador, who won his titles with Mercedes power, said he believed that situations like Sundays could have been pored over after the race: “These sort of penalties need to be analysed much deeper and discuss it with the drivers, look at the video, and go further. I have difficulty with fast judgement of incidents like this. Every aspect should be analysed and it’s important for the sport, for the fans. If this type of incident happens, investigate after the race and, with analysis, if there’s going to be a penalty, it can happen after the race.” – Mika Hakkinen concluded.