Finnish former racing driver Mika Hakkinen, who was the 1998 and 1999 Formula One World Champion, has shared his thoughts on the new battle between Scuderia Ferrari and Red Bull in this start of the 2022 F1 season and adds that there has been a power shift in the sport.
Red Bull and Ferrari looked like the strongest teams in the first round, which took place at the Bahrain International Circuit, despite the fact that the Austrian team eventually had to retire with both cars. Seven days later, the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix represented another reminder that it appears we have a new title rivalry in the 2022 Formula 1 campaign, with Mercedes who for the moment do not seem able to get involved, after many years of dominating the series.
While the Mercedes W13 cars remain well off of the pace for now, Scuderia Ferrari and Red Bull have put on a great show in Bahrain and Saudi Arabia, fighting until the end for the race win and podium places, with Charles Leclerc and Max Verstappen once again battling wheel-to-wheel, as Carlos Sainz fought Sergio Perez for the final step of the podium.
Given what we have seen in these first two races, former McLaren driver Mika Hakkinen feels that there has been a power shift in Formula 1:
“After two races we can see that there has been a power shift in Formula 1,” Mika Hakkinen wrote in his Unibet column after the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix – “We knew from the opening race in Bahrain that Charles Leclerc is looking incredibly strong at Ferrari, well supported by team mate Carlos Sainz. But now that Red Bull seems to have to have solved the fuel vaporisation problem which caused both cars to return from the first race, they are just as competitive.” – he added.
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“Mercedes have a significant set of problems to fix if they are to catch up with Red Bull and Ferrari. They need to do it quite quickly because the top two teams are going to be pushing so hard on their own development. It was very strange to see the Mercedes cars starting 6th and 16th, with Lewis Hamilton clearly unhappy with the set up of his car. This was a fantastic fight for the victory. We saw the very best of Charles and Max out there, and it’s great to see how evenly matched they are. There is clearly a good level of respect between them and they trust each other when racing so closely. The way they both used the DRS to try and give themselves a strategic advantage on each lap was fascinating, but ultimately Charles was unable to break away from Max. I thought Max timed everything just perfectly in the end, although to win by half a second after 300kms of racing shows just how close their battle is. It’s brilliant to see Ferrari and Red Bull so closely matched, so the question is now to see which one of them can develop their car more quickly. The development race Monday to Saturday is going to really determine who wins on the Sunday.” – the the 1998 and 1999 FIA Formula One World Champion concluded.
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