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Hakkinen offers prediction for Sainz after debut win

Like Carlos Sainz, Mika Hakkinen also had to wait seven years before winning his first Grand Prix. The two-time World Champion says Sainz will be an even more formidable opponent now he has broken his duck.

Former F1 World ChampionMika Hakkinen says Carlos Sainz's maiden win will give him increased confidenceand ability. Sainz tookvictory in Sunday's British Grand Prix to claim his first Grand Prix win sincedebuting in the sport in 2015. Hakkinen startedin F1 in 1991, but had to wait until the final race of 1997 for his first win. The Finn then followedup his maiden victory with his first World Championship in 1998. "Like Carlos, Ihad to wait seven years before claiming my first victory in Formula 1, so I knowhow happy and relieved he will be," Hakkinen told Unibet . "It’s a hugeachievement to win your first Formula 1 race. Suddenly the years of hard workand focus pay off. "Carlos is apopular guy and clearly very talented, but he has been up against CharlesLeclerc and therefore slightly in his shadow. "This victorywill lift a weight from his shoulders, take away some pressure, and I expect hewill have even more confidence in himself and his ability after this."

Hakkinen hails Sainz's 'brilliant' Safety Car response

Hakkinen alsopraised Sainz's response to a Ferrari strategy call late in the race, when theSpaniard ignored the team's request to give Charles Leclerc ten car lengths' space for the Safety Car restart. Instead, Sainzpassed Leclerc at the earliest opportunity to take a lead he would keep to theflag, while Leclerc, who had front wing damage and was struggling on oldertyres, was overtaken by Sergio Perez and Lewis Hamilton. "Listening totheir radio communications, Ferrari were trying to help Charles to win the raceeven though his car had some damage," said Hakkinen. "I think the wayCarlos handled that situation and then took advantage of having fresh tyresafter the final Safety Car was brilliant. "But Ferrari needto have a very clear team strategy at each race if they are to challenge RedBull during the second half of the season."

British GP a 'fantastic advert' for F1

Hakkinen alsoreserved praise for the quality of racing at Silverstone, with the leading carspassing each other several times during the course of the Grand Prix. "One final comment I would make about Sunday’s race isthe high quality of racing," said Hakkinen. "It wasincredible, a fantastic advertisement for Formula 1 to see drivers like Carlosand Max, Charles and Lewis fighting hard, but fairly, giving each other justenough room to race. "We really havean exceptional group of drivers in F1 today."

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