Two-time F1 champion Mika Hakkinen feels Red Bull Racing’s Max Verstappen should be more cautious in wheel-to-wheel fights after his clash with McLaren’s Carlos Sainz in F1 Bahrain GP.
Verstappen had a rather slower start than Sainz, who rapidly got on his tail after clearing Haas’ Kevin Magnussen in Bahrain GP. The two then tussled for fifth when they collided with Sainz bearing the most of the damage with a puncture and broken front wing.
They were squabbling from the start of Turn 2 and by the time they reached Turn 4, Sainz on the outside got ahead of Verstappen but when taking the corner, as he turned in, the Dutchman did not back off while riding over the kerb when they collided.
There was immediate damage to Sainz’s car as Verstappen was unscathed. The onboard suggested that Sainz just got ahead of Verstappen to take the corner but they touched which was deemed as a racing incident by the stewards.
Post-race, the Spaniard was upset with the move but did not wish to complain especially after the meeting they had over the weekend. However, he felt it was ‘very-very hard racing’, while Verstappen shrugged it off stating that Sainz may not have seen him there.
The Dutchman is not an easy target for any driver passing him – both Sainz and Verstappen have a history already, while the Red Bull racer is always in the news for such hard moves, whether on the delivery end or the receiving.
Hakkinen, who was present in Bahrain, feels that Verstappen needs to look after his racing. The Finn regards him as a supreme talent but wishes that he doesn’t damage his rival’s cars or even his own car in such wheel-to-wheel racing.
“It should have been a great race for McLaren’s Carlos Sainz, but his car suffered damage in a collision while battling for fifth position with the Red Bull driven by Max Verstappen,” wrote Hakkinen in his post-race column.
“The young Dutchman is very talented, but racing hard does not mean damaging the other guy. You have to give room, if not for the other guy then at least for yourself, and I was not surprised Carlos was upset afterwards.”
Meanwhile, Hakkinen had a praise for the other McLaren driver Lando Norris, who scored his first F1 points, and also Alfa Romeo Racing’s Kimi Raikkonen for delivering in a tough midfield pack with multiple teams involved.
On the fight at the front, the Finn was happy to see Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc compete the way he did. However, he reckons that if the Monegasque continues to out-perform Sebastian Vettel, it will surely be pressure time for the German.
While Mercedes got the 1-2, Hakkinen said that the German manufacturer will have to dig in to up their performance especially after the dominance of Ferrari – who even if not reliable, have the strong hand which was overshadowed in Australia.
“Mercedes’ reliability won the race, team boss Toto Wolff and his drivers know that they have a problem; Ferrari is fast, even if they are fragile,” he wrote. “Melbourne didn’t suit them, probably due to the slower 90 degree corners on that track.
“But on the wide open, flowing race track in Bahrain the Ferrari was the car to have. There are more quick circuits than slow ones, so Mercedes will take the lucky win in Bahrain but go back to their factory knowing that they have work to do in order to catch up.”