Hakkinen: Max’s attempts to ‘intimidate’ Hamilton will be ineffective

Max Verstappen has been advised by Mika Hakkinen that attempting to “intimidate” Lewis Hamilton will only increase the Mercedes driver’s “motivation.”

In a season full of controversies and clashes, Verstappen and Hamilton faced off in the Sao Paulo Grand Prix, with the reigning World Champion emerging victorious.

Starting from 10th on the grid, Hamilton needed to pass Verstappen if he wanted to win, and he did so after a contentious off-track incident at Turn 4 where Verstappen ran them both wide.

In just 11 circuits, he showed Verstappen what he’s capable of in clean air, putting 10 seconds between himself and the Red Bull driver.

Verstappen’s attempt to “intimidate” Hamilton, according to Hakkinen, backfired.

“Max is at the top of his career, leading the World Championship and determined to keep Lewis behind,” he wrote in his latest Unibet blog.

“What happened at Turn 4 on lap 48 was an example of how hard Max is prepared to push.

“Keeping the steering wheel open is an easy way to intimidate a rival, but it can also lead to a collision. In that case you never know what might happen.

“I am not sure intimidating Lewis will work. He likes a challenge. It gives him extra focus!

“I was team-mate to Ayrton Senna and a rival to Michael Schumacher, two drivers who sometimes used very aggressive tactics.

“There is a famous photograph of me talking to Michael after the Belgian Grand Prix at Spa in 2000, explaining to him why I was unhappy about some of his tactics.

“I love hard racing, but the racing needs to happen on the track.”

The Finn was relieved that Verstappen did not receive a penalty on the day, but he may still be dissatisfied because Mercedes has requested a right to review, which will take place on Thursday at 5 p.m. Qatar time.

“I was personally happy to see Race Control let both Max and Lewis continue,” Hakkinen continued. “Both cars left the track and they rejoined in the same order with no damage done.

“Again, like with the disqualification, I’m sure it gave Lewis increased motivation.

“When Michael tried to put me off the track at Spa, it made me absolutely determined to make the overtake – which is the one everyone remembers.”

Because of the Brazilian outcome, the two will travel to Qatar separated by 14 points, with Verstappen leading.

Hakkinen is hoping that this one will not be decided in the stewards’ office with 78 still in play.

“With three races to go I think we will see more excellent racing,” he said.

“The right way to win the championship is to race hard but fair, with brilliant overtaking and the victory being decided by the chequered flag.

“This is such a good World Championship I really don’t want accidents, penalties and stewards’ meetings to determine the final result.”

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