Hakkinen: Mattia Binotto is in a difficult situationSeptember 11, 2019
Two-time champion Mika Hakkinen summed up the past Italian Grand Prix and commented on the situation at Ferrari.
Mika Hakkinen: “I am impressed with the victory of Charles Lecler in the Italian Grand Prix, he performed very well, despite the pressure from both Mercedes riders. He is only 21 years old, and he spends the second season in Formula 1, but has already shown how mature he is as a professional, if he was able to cope with the pressure and maintain leadership in the race, despite all the attempts to attack.
Charles will never forget the day he won at the wheel of a Ferrari in Monza. This victory is important for him, and for the team, and for his partner, Sebastian Vettel. The week before, Leclair won the Belgian Grand Prix, and now has confirmed his status as the best Ferrari racer. The victory at Spa motivated Leclair, and at Monza he was already comfortable leading the race. It is necessary to develop the success achieved in the previous race – this is how you can eventually win the title.
Now the head of Ferrari Mattia Binotto is in a situation where the team leader Sebastian Vettel is ahead of a young partner. This can create a tense atmosphere. However, Vettel is an experienced racer, four-time world champion, and he understands that in any career there are successful and unsuccessful periods. He did poorly in the race at Monza and could not even help Charles in the fight against Mercedes racers. I have no doubt, Sebastian admits that Charles did an excellent job, and he will have to restore his reputation due to victories in the near future.
Many journalists commented on the decision of the stewards not to punish Leclair for the aggressive defense of the position in the second chican on lap 23, because of which Lewis Hamilton drove off the track and miraculously avoided a collision. Everyone knows that I myself, as a racer, love a tight fight. After a five-second penalty in Canada, which completely destroyed the excellent fight between Sebastian Vettel and Lewis Hamiltonum, the stewards obviously decided to let the riders fight among themselves, and to fine only in situations where there is no other choice. Last Sunday, they found a solution – showed Charles a black and white flag (similar to a yellow card in football) – and I think that’s right. Leclair realized that he could not repeat such a maneuver, Lewis also knew this, but the balance of power still remained the same.
If we talk about the balance between Ferrari riders, in my opinion, qualification was more important than the race. In the final qualification, Charles used the slipstream for Sebastian to win the pole, and in turn had to help his partner in his last attempt. However, Leclair not only did not help, but together with eight other riders created a chaotic situation, and as a result no one was able to drive the second fastest lap. Sebastian did not like this, and I am sure that there will be a serious conversation inside the team.
So much attention was riveted to the duel between Charles, Lewis and Valtteri that it is easy to lose sight of how cool Renault racers performed in Monza. Daniel Riccardo and Nico Hulkenberg took 4th and 5th places – for them and for the French team this is tantamount to victory.
For Daniel, the season was not easy after his transition from Red Bull Racing. He saw his former partner Max Verstappen win two races. But the fourth place in Monza motivates him. The same can be said of Nico Hulkenberg, who will give his place to Esteban Okon next year. Fifth position – a good result at a time when he reflects on his future in Formula 1.
In the first half of the season, the factory team of the Stuttgart concern dominated, but in the last six Grand Prix, Mercedes, Red Bull Racing and Ferrari racers won two victories. It feels like we’re watching a completely different championship, so we are looking forward to the next race in Singapore with interest.
In Monza, it was easy to see how effective the Ferrari powerplant was – despite DRS, none of the Mercedes riders were able to get ahead of the red car in a straight line.
Lewis and Sebastian – four victories in the Grand Prix of Singapore, and Valtteri, Charles and Max have not yet managed to win there. Over the past 10 years, Red Bull Racing, Mercedes and Ferrari racers won on this city highway, and now, apparently, anything can happen there. An interesting period has begun in Formula 1! ”
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