Hakkinen blames poor balance

Mika Hakkinen said a badly balanced car cost him the chance to battle for victory in the Italian Grand Prix, but added that he was lucky just to have escaped the first lap carnage unscathed.

Hakkinen blames poor balance

"I wasn't in trouble, I just didn't have the balance to keep up with Michael," the McLaren driver said. "At the pit stop the team made some changes and I was able to fight again. But the Ferrari was better, only a little but it was enough."

Michael Schumacher's victory brings him back within two points of Hakkinen in the title race. It is the first time that the Ferrari driver has beaten his Finnish rival since Montreal in June.

"Being two points ahead in the championship is a lot better than being two behind," Hakkinen pointed out. "I am happy to score points at all, we all saw what happened in the second chicane. One of the other cars only just missed me so I am lucky to finish the race."

Hakkinen also suggested that Schumacher had driven unfairly on the run down to the first corner. The German was criticised by his peers earlier in the season for defending his position over-aggressively by swerving across the road at the start of races.

"I made an okay start and moved over to the inside to overtake and he moved over," said the reigning champion. "Then I moved back to the normal line and he moved over also."

Schumacher, sitting alongside Hakkinen in the press conference at the time, did not respond to the allegation.

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