Mika Hakkinen has shed new light on his famous overtaking move which won him the 2000 Belgian Grand Prix.
Hakkinen passed his championship rival Michael Schumacher to win the race after the Ferrari driver had edged him towards the grass at one of the fastest places on the circuit a few laps earlier.
“It was natural that I went to talk to him after the race,” said Hakkinen in an interview with Unibet.
“I said: ‘You can’t push someone to the grass at 300kph. This is a life and death situation, use some common sense.'”
“He tilted his head and looked at me. ‘What did I do wrong?'”
“He didn’t say ‘sorry, I was too aggressive’. It was simply his driving style.”
Hakkinen said he “couldn’t accept” Schumacher’s driving tactics. “If it was a slow corner and you defend and do things that are on the limits of what is fair I could somehow accept it because I too use gimmicks on the track.”
“But 300kph is so fast, if in those speeds an F1 car goes on the grass and the ground clearance is about 15mm at the front it’s so low that the smallest of bump will send the car flying. That was my point: ‘come on, think’.”
Hakkinen was hailed for his subsequent pass on Schumacher, achieved as the pair were lapping Ricardo Zonta. But Schumacher “didn’t praise” his rival, according to Hakkinen.
“But he did know that it was a tough battle. We both finished the race and nothing happened. I’m sure that if it had been someone else against Michael front wings would have flown.”
Schumacher was seriously injured in a skiing accident at the end of 2013. Hakkinen said there were many aspects of his former rival’s approach to F1 which he respected.
“Michael handles the car extremely well,” said Hakkinen. “He gives his everything to the technical aspects and team work. There were many elements that I hugely respected.”
“He was adamant. He never gave up, no matter what. He knew that the game is over with the chequered flag, not before it. I really respected that. He always drove on the limit. Always flat out, brake discs burning bright red.”
“When it comes to the fights on the track Michael sometimes used extreme defensive moves on the track. During the last laps he did extreme defensive moves. But halfway through the race he did leave a small gap between tyres. With a few laps to go, a little contact didn’t matter to him.”
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