Hakkinen: Sebastian had to do that!

Sebastian Vettel has had few that have sympathised with his ill-judged overtake attempt on Max Verstappen during the Japanese Grand Prix, but double Formula 1 World Champion Mika Hakkinen insists that Vettel had to go for the gap.

The incident has drawn considerable column inches since it happened on lap eight of the race at Suzuka, Vettel lunged to the inside of high-speed Spoon Curve but Verstappen closed the door and as a result, the Ferrari ended facing the wrong way and the rest is history.

Amid the floodgates of criticism in the aftermath of the weekend in Japan, Hakkinen is one of few that has backed the beleaguered Ferrari driver when he told Bild, “Sebastian had to go for it! In the position he was in, he had to try everything to maximise his result.”

“He knows how much stronger the Mercedes is at the moment. Without full attack, he wins nothing. Yes he risked a lot but that is just part of the game in Formula 1,” added Hakkinen who was world champion with McLaren in 1998 and 1999.

Vettel needs a miracle to salvage his season as he trails Lewis Hamilton by 67 points in the standings with four rounds remaining, and a maximum 100 points up for grabs. The championship next heads to the United States Grand Prix at Circuit of the Americas.