Hakkinen wants Monaco to set title ball rolling

Mika Hakkinen says he wants to get his championship rolling with a big helping of points in Monaco - preferably a full-house 10

Hakkinen wants Monaco to set title ball rolling

The Finn - who has been ruled out of the title chase by his rivals - proved he cannot be counted out just yet as he topped the times at the end of the first day's action.

And it was a double blow for McLaren-Mercedes team mate David Coulthard, who saw his car, like his hopes, take a bashing when he hit the barriers and wound up sixth.

Unlike points leader Schumacher, who can count on team orders, McLaren has said it will not be ordering Hakkinen to give way to Coulthard just yet.

While Coulthard will be counting the cost of the time lost from his accident, the Finn had a flawless day and was four-tenths quicker than second fastest driver Michael Schumacher.

He must be hoping it stays that way after a troubled season has seen him lead one race only for his clutch to explode on the last lap, crash out of second place in another and get caught out in the rain in Malaysia while in the hunt for victory.

Hakkinen has just four points to show for the first six races while Schumacher has 42 and Coulthard 38.

"My season is like a mosaic," he said. "All I've got is a few pieces in terms of points and they are pretty worthless at the moment. What I need is a lot more points to built up that mosaic.

"Here is a good place to start to get those. The circuit offers a really good challenge to me and everyone.

"I am racing for fun, want to get the maximum out of the race and then we will see where we are from there."

But as he prepared for the biggest race of the year he admitted he was concerned about the start after a series of high profile failures.

He stalled on the grid in Brazil and Austria and Coulthard had electronic gremlins in Barcelona.

"Naturally I am worried about launch control after what happened at the A1-Ring and earlier in the season," he said. "And there was David's problem too - they were such bad situations for us. Naturally I am concerned."

Hakkinen has set fastest lap here for the last three years, started from pole twice and won the race once.

"I am not surprised to be first," he said. "What impressed me is the way the mechanics work during the session to make the car quicker and improve the handling.

"We were quick today, very quick and I am hoping we can still improve. I am sure we can do that, it's going to be a really interesting race, a very close race and a very tough one. Times will be very close in qualifying too."

Hakkinen lives on the hill above the circuit near Prince Rainier's palace.

"This is like a home race for me. It's a walk - just five minutes from my home to the track. And I have a lot of friends here which gives me a lot of confidence too."

Hakkinen has used this race for the first public outing for his son, Hugo, born just before Christmas.

"It was his first working day and he enjoyed it," joked the Finn. "It's great to bring him here, the whole team have wanted to see him for so long and this was the first time we have been able to do it."

For free practice 2 results, click here.

shares
comments
Williams Progress Hampered by Crashes

Previous article

Williams Progress Hampered by Crashes

Next article

Thursday-Six Press Conference - Monaco GP

Thursday-Six Press Conference - Monaco GP
Load comments
The times that suggest Verstappen should be confident of F1 Russian GP recovery Plus

The times that suggest Verstappen should be confident of F1 Russian GP recovery

For the second race in a row, Mercedes has ended the first day of track action on top. It’s in a commanding position at the Russian Grand Prix once again – this time largely thanks to Max Verstappen’s upcoming engine-change grid penalty. But there’s plenty to suggest all hope is not lost for the championship leader at Sochi

The ‘backwards step’ that is the right move for Formula 1 Plus

The ‘backwards step’ that is the right move for Formula 1

OPINION: With its days apparently numbered, the MGU-H looks set to be dropped from Formula 1’s future engine rules in order to entice new manufacturers in. While it may appear a change of direction, the benefits for teams and fans could make the decision a worthwhile call

Formula 1
Sep 23, 2021
The floundering fortunes of F1’s many Lotus reboots Plus

The floundering fortunes of F1’s many Lotus reboots

Team Lotus ceased to exist in 1994 - and yet various parties have been trying to resurrect the hallowed name, in increasingly unrecognisable forms, ever since. DAMIEN SMITH brings GP Racing’s history of the legendary team to an end with a look at those who sought to keep the flame alive in Formula 1

Formula 1
Sep 22, 2021
Why the 2021 title fight is far from F1's worst, despite its toxic background Plus

Why the 2021 title fight is far from F1's worst, despite its toxic background

OPINION: Formula 1 reconvenes for the Russian Grand Prix two weeks after the latest blow in ‘Max Verstappen vs Lewis Hamilton’. While the Silverstone and Monza incidents were controversial, they thankfully lacked one element that so far separates the 2021 title fight from the worst examples of ugly championship battles

Formula 1
Sep 22, 2021
How F1’s other champion to emerge from 1991 thrived at Lotus Plus

How F1’s other champion to emerge from 1991 thrived at Lotus

Mika Hakkinen became Michael Schumacher’s biggest rival in Formula 1 in the late-90s and early 2000s, having also made his F1 debut in 1991. But as MARK GALLAGHER recalls, while Schumacher wowed the world with a car that was eminently capable, Hakkinen was fighting to make his mark with a famous team in terminal decline

Formula 1
Sep 21, 2021
The forgotten F1 comeback that began Jordan’s odyssey  Plus

The forgotten F1 comeback that began Jordan’s odyssey 

Before Michael Schumacher – or anyone else – had driven the 191 (or 911 as it was initially called), Eddie Jordan turned to a fellow Irishman to test his new Formula 1 car. JOHN WATSON, a grand prix winner for Penske and McLaren, recalls his role in the birth of a legend…

Formula 1
Sep 20, 2021
The squandered potential of a 70s F1 underdog Plus

The squandered potential of a 70s F1 underdog

A podium finisher in its first outing but then never again, the BRM P201 was a classic case of an opportunity squandered by disorganisation and complacency, says STUART CODLING

Formula 1
Sep 18, 2021
The other notable Monza escape that F1 should learn from Plus

The other notable Monza escape that F1 should learn from

OPINION: The headlines were dominated by the Italian Grand Prix crash between Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton, who had the halo to thank for avoiding potentially serious injury. But two days earlier, Formula 1 had a lucky escape with a Monza pitlane incident that could also have had grave consequences

Formula 1
Sep 17, 2021