Mika Hakkinen on significance of Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton mistakes

Henry Valantine
Max Verstappen follows Lewis Hamilton. Singapore October 2022.

Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton both made uncharacteristic errors in Singapore, which Mika Hakkinen feels highlights how well the rest of the field performed in tough conditions on Sunday.

Both World Champions fell foul of the greasy track surface at Marina Bay at the weekend, with Hamilton first sliding into the barrier at Turn 7 after locking up under braking.

He was able to reverse out of trouble and get going again, but having been trailing Carlos Sainz at the time, this error cost the Mercedes driver the chance of a podium in Singapore.

Verstappen, meanwhile, also fell victim to conditions at the same corner later in the race, moving off-line to try and make a pass on Lando Norris.

But his move backfired when he moved onto a damper part of the track surface, suffering a big lock-up into Turn 7, forcing him to pit for new tyres after flat-spotting the set he had.

Verstappen eventually recovered to finish P7 having dropped to last on the road after his extra stop, while Hamilton could only cross the line ninth after his mistake.

Only 14 drivers took the chequered flag at the end of the Singapore Grand Prix, and former McLaren driver Hakkinen said that, while Verstappen will want to move on quickly from the weekend, his and Hamilton’s troubles only served to highlight the strength of the rest of the field.

“I think a lot of people expected Max to recover well from 8th place on the grid but the conditions meant he made a poor start and then lost time fighting in the midfield,” Hakkinen said in his post-race Unibet column.

“This was a weekend to forget. These kinds of races happen, even in a season where you are extremely competitive, and you just have to move on and focus on making sure the next weekend goes much better.

“I have no doubt the Red Bull will suit the Suzuka circuit in Japan this weekend and that Max can claim the title. The team just needs to make sure they don’t make any more mistakes.

“The mistakes from both Max and Lewis showed just what a fantastic job everyone else was doing! It is so easy to lose grip in conditions which are too fast for intermediates but really challenging on slicks, and this reminds everyone that any driver – even experienced World Champions – can get it wrong when pushing at the limit.

“I think we all expect perfection from drivers like them, so when they make a mistake it can seem quite a shock!”

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