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Hakkinen relishing 'incredibly close' McLaren/Ferrari battle

With the fight for third in the Constructors' Championship between Ferrari and McLaren heating up, Mika Hakkinen is looking forward to seeing how it unfolds.

Mika Hakkinen is enjoying how incredibly close the battle between McLaren and Ferrari is becoming as the season heads into its final stages. The two teams are fighting for third place in the Constructors' Championship and the duel seemed to increase in intensity at the United States Grand Prix, where all four drivers went head-to-head on the opening lap of the race. This was such a close call that Lando Norris has admitted having to back off from an overtaking move so that he did not cause a collision with Charles Leclerc. Meanwhile, Daniel Ricciardo and Carlos Sainz enjoyed a feisty scrap which resulted in Sainz branding the Australian's defence "dirty" . Eventually, Leclerc finished in fourth with Ricciardo in fifth, Sainz in seventh and Norris coming home in eighth, resulting in Ferrari closing the gap to McLaren. "The fight between McLaren and Ferrari for third place in the Constructors' Championship is even closer," Hakkinen wrote in his column for Unibet . "Just three and a half points separate them, and with Charles Leclerc finishing fourth ahead of Daniel Ricciardo, and Carlos Sainz seventh ahead of Lando Norris, Ferrari scored some important extra points on Sunday." Hakkinen reckons Ricciardo's victory at the Italian Grand Prix – which was a 1-2 result for McLaren, with Norris joining his teammate on the podium – has given the former Red Bull driver a boost, but feels Ferrari and McLaren will be closely matched during the last five races of the year. "I think Daniel is in much better shape at this point of the season, compared to earlier in the year when he was struggling a little," Hakkinen explained. "The win in Monza has made a difference, and in Austin it was clear that he has a lot more confidence in the car. "The battle between him, Lando and the two Ferrari drivers is going to be incredibly close as we head into the final five Grands Prix."

RESULTS 2024 F1 Spanish Grand Prix - Qualifying