Mika Hakkinen is not surprised by the run of form Max Verstappen and Red Bull are currently on, as he believes that the package they have is simply too strong at the moment.
Max Verstappen won his sixth race of the 2022 Formula 1 season on Sunday in Canada, and now has a 49-point lead on his Title rival Charles Leclerc who is currently third in the Drivers’ Standings.
It was the Dutchman’s second win in a row, and Mika Hakkinen is not surprised at all, as the Verstappen/Red Bull combo seems to be the dominant package.
“We did not have any doubt that Max is in control of the championship before the weekend and the result in Montreal confirms that Red Bull’s package is simply too strong at the moment,” he said in his latest Unibet column.
“They have straight line speed, good balance and a car that Max can clearly work with on every type of circuit,” Hakkinen revealed.
“Montreal is the kind of circuit where you need a little bit of everything – good confidence under braking and low speed performance, but strong traction for the straights where you can overtake – and Max’s car looked brilliant everywhere,” he explained.
Reliability only worry for Red Bull
“The only problem for Red Bull appears to be reliability,” the Flying Finn added. “Once again we saw an issue in the race for Checo Perez.
“That must have made the team nervous on a day when Max really needed to take advantage of title rival Charles Leclerc starting from the back of the grid, so the great result will have been a relief for them.
“Reliability seems to be the only thing Max, Checo and the team need to worry about,” he insisted.
“Ferrari has a quick car but it’s fragile,” Hakkinen continued. “Team boss Mattia Binotto is right to say that it’s better to have a fast car with some reliability issues than a slow car which finishes.
“If the team can get on top of their reliability problems Charles and Carlos can definitely challenge Red Bull again, although that 49 point gap between Max and Charles is not going to be easy to close down.
“Not only do Ferrari need to win some races, they also need Max to hit trouble,” the two-time F1 Champion warned.
The former McLaren driver, who won both his Titles in Mercedes-powered cars in 1998 and 1999, hailed the bullet proof W13 the eight-time Constructors’ Champions have built this year, which has helped them score points consistently despite its lack of pace.
“Mercedes has the one thing both red Bull and Ferrari lack – reliability!” he pointed out. “But they are also quick enough to be consistently the third fastest car on the track and able to pick up good points whenever Red Bull or Ferrari have any issues.
“This looked like a step forward in terms of race set-up. The team have been trying new things on the car, sometimes making it very difficult for both drivers, but Sunday looked positive,” he explained.
Porpoising a significant issue
Hakkinen touched on the talking point of the F1 paddock in Canada, which is the “porpoising” or bouncing, and the FIA Technical Directive issued to clamp down on it.
“The porpoising problem on this year’s F1 cars has clearly been a significant issue – affecting some teams much more than others,” he wrote.
“It is good to see the FIA listening to concerns about driver safety and – as usual – the best way to get to sort it out is to measure what’s happening and then make some decisions based on what the data shows.
“Of course some teams want to see changes, especially if the porpoising is making their cars uncompetitive, but once the FIA, teams and drivers can get an accurate picture of what’s really happening the right steps can be taken,” he said.