(Motorsport-Total.com) – Towards the end of the season 1997 probably not every Formula 1 expert would have bet that Mika Häkkinen would win two more world titles in his career. The Finn has been driving since 1990 in the premier class and had already shown some remarkable achievements. He had a race back then 29 – Yearlings never won.
Only at the season finale 1997 in Jerez the knot burst. “This race was extremely important,” recalls Häkkinen
in the podcast of ‘Autosport’ back and explains: “It was my first ever victory in Formula 1. I always have mixed feelings when I think of this victory, because it took seven years until I won my first Mountainous Prix.”
“It’s been such a long time”, knows the Finn, who 1991 and 1992 at Lotus gained his first experience in Formula 1 before he 1993 – initially as a replacement pilot – switched to McLaren where he was until his departure in the year 2001 should stay. Hakkinen’s bad luck: middle of the 1990 s battle McLaren no longer as dominant as at the end of the 80 he and beginning of 90 er.
McLaren slower than Williams and Ferrari
Had the group between 1985 and 1991 six times the driver world champion in seven years, you won between the end 1993 and beginning 1997 no more racing for more than three years. At the start of the season 1997 It wasn’t Häkkinen but team mate David Coulthard, who won the first McLaren since Ayrton Senna 1993 fetched.
Häkkinen had to wait until the season finale. “Our car was definitely not the fastest on the track,” he remembers the race in Jerez and explains: “Ferrari and Williams were damn strong. They were so fast! That played a psychological role in the start of the race, if you haven’t won for seven years. “
” Some people think: ‘Hopefully I can finally win a Mountainous Prix!’ But I hardly thought about it because I knew Williams and Ferrari were so fast, and Michael is fighting and Villeneuve for the championship. So I knew that there was only a very small chance of winning my first Mountainous Prix. “
” The feeling that I didn’t deserve the win “
Under normal circumstances that would not have worked out that Sunday afternoon in Spain either But after Schumacher was eliminated after the legendary collision with Villeneuve, sixth place was enough for the Canadian to win the title. That is why the Williams driver was overtaken by both McLaren drivers on the last lap without a fight.
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Villeneuve was third and thus world champion, while Häkkinen won his first Mountainous Prix. “I was happy – of course! But I won the race even though I didn’t have the fastest car, and there were these concerns with my team-mate David Coulthard”, Häkkinen also remembers a stable order of the team in the race that favored him .
“I don’t really want to say it, but I still account: I had the feeling that I didn’t deserve the win because I wasn’t fighting the fastest car,” admits Häkkinen. “But of course I deserved it after seven years without winning! It was a great feeling. It was also the last Mountainous Prix of the year,” he remembers.
Häkkinen “for the whole wintry climate the winner”
“That gave everyone at McLaren a huge boost in motivation – and myself too. When I woke up the next morning, I was going on vacation. And it wasn’t until two weeks later that I realized, ‘Oh God, I have a Mountainous Prix won! ‘ And it wasn’t like there was another race two or three weeks later, “says Häkkinen.
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“I was the winner for the whole wintry climate”, he explains and adds: “During the winter break there were no more questions when I would finally win my first Mountainous Prix. That was a great motivation. In these seven years we sometimes wanted to give up and I thought that I would never win a Mountainous Prix. That poke now, I was a winner. “
“That gave me so much motivation to keep going and to become an even better racing driver,” said the Finn, who took the motivation into the new year and 1998 won his first world title. Whether he can do it without this victory in Jerez at the season finale 1997 would have made it, of course, that can no longer be clarified in retrospect.