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'Not sure intimidation of Hamilton by Verstappen will work'

'Not sure intimidation of Hamilton by Verstappen will work'

17-11-2021 13:06 Last update: 16:01
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GPblog.com

Mercedes and Red Bull Racing have been evenly matched throughout the season. After Mexico, it looked like the championship would fall to Red Bull, but after Brazil, Max Verstappen's team have to start worrying, according to Mika Hakkinen.

Mercedes and Red Bull evenly matched

In Mexico, Verstappen increased his lead to 19 points over Hamilton and Red Bull came within one point of Mercedes. In Brazil, however, Verstappen's lead dwindled and Mercedes once again outpaced Red Bull. "After Mexico, some said that the world championship was heading towards Red Bull and Max Verstappen, but it looks very different now," writes Hakkinen in his column for Unibet.

According to the two-time world champion, that is therefore the exciting thing about this year's world championship. "From one weekend to the next, from one circuit to the next, the battle shifts from Red Bull to Mercedes and back again. Each car has its strengths and weaknesses and the battle is so finely balanced that the track characteristics have a really big impact."

Intimidation of Hamilton by Verstappen

In Brazil, not for the first time this season, there was a fierce battle between Verstappen and Hamilton. The Dutchman defended hard, with the drivers not always able to keep their cars on track. "What happened in turn four on lap 48 was an example of how hard Max is willing to push. Keeping the steering wheel open is an easy way to intimidate a rival, but it can also lead to a collision." Moreover, Hakkinen doesn't think intimidating Hamilton will work. "He likes a challenge. It gives him extra focus."

The harsh defensive actions are currently under scrutiny and could still have consequences for Verstappen. However, Hakkinen is pleased that the stewards allowed the race to continue and did not issue a penalty. "Both cars left the track and came back in the same order without damage. As with the disqualification, I'm sure this has given Lewis extra motivation."

In any case, Hakkinen hopes there will not be a penalty for Verstappen after all. "The right way to win the championship is to race hard but fair, with brilliant overtaking and victory decided at the chequered flag. This is such a good world championship that I really don't want accidents, penalties or the stewards to determine the final result."

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