Mika Hakkinen reflected on the 2022 Japanese Grand Prix where Max Verstappen won his second Formula 1 Title, and made sure to spare a word for Adrian Newey, the most successful designer in F1 history.
The news may be all about Max Verstappen winning his second Formula 1 Title consecutively, but Mika Hakkinen spared a thought for Adrian Newey, the man behind the design of the brilliant RB18 that carried Verstappen to his second Title.
Newey is renowned for his Title-winning F1 machinery with Williams, McLaren, and Red Bull, with Hakkinen winning his 1998 and 1999 F1 Titles in cars designed by the British engineer.
Hakkinen said in his Unibet column: “I am very happy for Red Bull’s technical boss Adrian Newey. It was thanks to his work at McLaren that I had great cars with which to win both my World Championship titles and he is still winning at Red Bull all these years later.
“He really is the most successful designer in F1 history, and although I know he has a great team of design engineers working with him, his technical leadership is just brilliant.
“Even during Mercedes’ dominant years Red Bull remained competitive and it’s amazing to see Adrian’s team take advantage of this year’s new regulations to win another title. Congratulations to him,” the Finn added.
Speaking of the 2022 F1 Champion, Hakkinen commented: “This was a fantastic performance by Max, the kind of race you dream about when going for the World Championship title.
“He said before the weekend that he just wanted it to be perfect, especially following the problems he and the team had in Singapore a week ago. Pole position wasn’t easy – only 0.01s fastest than Charles’s Ferrari! – but Max managed to pull the lap together really well,” he pointed out.
Verstappen and Charles Leclerc had a thrilling start to the race, as they went side by side for the first few corners before the Dutchman prevailed.
“His race start was incredible because it looked as though Charles [Leclerc] had taken the lead but Max has so much confidence and held on,” Hakkinen said of the first-lap tussle between the two.
“You can use that outside line at the first corner in the wet. It’s typical of what a kart racer can do, and Max used all his experience to take control and put Charles behind. From then on he was in a class of his own – really on top of the car.
“To win by 27 seconds after such a short race was brilliant. Max’s 12th win of the year really shows how much he deserved this year’s World Championship – he dominated,” winner of 20 grands prix concluded.