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Mika Hakkinen

Hakkinen: 'Only these two F1 drivers can stop Verstappen'

Max Verstappen has been on a victory run over the last couple of races, but two-time Formula 1 World Champion Mika Häkkinen believes there is only two drivers that could stop him.

Verstappen Brazil
To news overview © XPBimages

The Brazilian Grand Prix was one of the few races that Red Bull did not win last year, after George Russell managed to take Mercedes only win of the year.

Red Bull has won every race apart from the Singapore GP this year, with Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez taking a combined 18 wins.

Could there be more opportunities for drivers to deny Verstappen a chance to extend his win record to 17 this year? Two-time Formula 1 World Champion Mika Hakkinen thinks there can only be two challengers.

The two drivers that can stop Verstappen

"In my opinion there are two drivers who can stop Max Verstappen from winning the Brazilian Grand Prix this weekend – Lewis Hamilton or Lando Norris," Hakkinen told Unibet.

Verstappen stands a chance of eclipsing Alberto Ascari's 71-year win percentage record of 77.27%, if he takes another victory on Sunday.

"Max is going for win number 17 this season but the way Lewis and Lando are driving at the moment I think it’s possible they could cause problems for Red Bull," said Hakkinen.

"I thought both of them drove brilliantly in Mexico, there is a real fire in their driving, and if they can continue that momentum into Interlagos anything can happen."

Does not matter where Verstappen starts

As has been seen throughout the 2023 season, Verstappen has been able to start a low down as sixth on the grid and still win a race by a comfortable margin.

Hakkinen believes this outright performance is what sets him apart from the rest, after winning the same amount of races as the Finn contested during his 1998 and 1999 championship-winning seasons.

"It’s incredible to think that Max has won 16 races – the total number of races which used to make up the entire World Championship back when I was winning my two titles!" said Hakkinen.

"It does not matter whether Max is on pole or, as we saw in Mexico, a lower grid position. The car has the performance to win every time and he knows how to extract it."

F1 2023 Brazilian Grand Prix RN365 News dossier

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