Hakkinen confirms his retirement from F1

Double world champion Mika Hakkinen has confirmed that he will not return from his one-year F1 sabbatical and will instead retire from motor racing. The announcement was made in Hockenheim and was followed by McLaren confirming that its driver line up for 2003 will be David Coulthard and Kimi Raikkonen

Hakkinen confirms his retirement from F1

McLaren played a video message from Hakkinen confirming that family life with wife Erja and son Hugo was now his priority.

"I wanted to spend time with Erja and watch Hugo growing," said Hakkinen. "To be able to watch him learn to crawl and walk and start to talk is time you can't get back again. And I didn't want to hurt myself. I have been through a lot, particularly in 1995, and I have received so much that I thought it was not worth pushing my luck any further."

Hakkinen confirmed that thoughts of retirement first entered his head at Monaco in 2001.

"I went to see Ron and told him that I wanted to stop. He was really good and told me that perhaps the best idea was not to make a quick decision. He told me: 'have a year off and then tell me in 2002 what I wanted to do.'

"I had races I wanted to win, especially Silverstone and Indianapolis. I went there with maximum confidence and I don't know why it happened or how I did it, but it happened. That made me even more comfortable about my decision," he added.

Hakkinen's video was shot in the presence of his wife and baby son against the tranquil backdrop of a Finnish lake and left no doubt that he has now drawn a firm line under a career boasting those two world titles and 20 grand prix victories from 161 starts.

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