Hakkinen's jinx strikes yet again

Mika Hakkinen's jinx struck again when he retired from the Austrian Grand Prix after stalling at the start

Hakkinen's jinx strikes yet again

With the 17-race season a third over he has yet to get on the podium, let alone win a race after he failed to take the start for the second time in four races.

Asked about the championship the Finn looked visibly downcast as he
admitted: "It's not looking too promising is it?"

The Finn had a miserable weekend before the race even started, qualifying only eighth and then learning of the death of Ilmor Engineering's co-founder Paul Morgan in a plane crash.

But his troubled season continued when he stalled at the start, then re-started two laps down, only to drive into the McLaren garage and retirement a lap later.

His start was bungled for the second time in four races.

Hakkinen had only four points going into the race and trailed points-leader Michael Schumacher by 32 points. His manager, straight-talking Keke Rosberg, has already told him his title hopes are over, and if he had any lingering doubts they disappeared in three laps of the A1-Ring.

"I don't know what happened yet," said Hakkinen right after the race. "As everyone can see the car stopped on the grid. The team is investigating what exactly the problem was. Hopefully, we will know what happened later today or tomorrow.

"I am not sure whether it was a technical fault or my own fault. After what happened in the Spanish Grand Prix this feels very bad. You can see in my eyes how it feels to have this happen."

"I stayed in the car because I managed to get it going again and was going to get back into the race," he added.

Hakkinen crashed out of the opening round in Melbourne, was on the wrong tyres in Malaysia, fumbled the start in Brazil, and in San Marino was a lacklustre fourth.

His season finally seemed to come alive in Spain in April when he led the race. But even then his jinx struck again and his clutch exploded a heart-braking half a lap from an easy - and impressive - victory.

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