F1 champion Hakkinen dispels 'best car' theory on Hamilton success

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Double world champion Mika Hakkinen has explained why the 'best car' theory means very little when it comes to Lewis Hamilton's success.

At the Eifel Grand Prix, the Briton tied Michael Schumacher with the most victories in Formula 1 history with 91, putting him firmly on course to also join the German as a seven-time world champion.

69 of those wins have come since his Mercedes team became the dominant force when the hybrid engine formula was introduced in 2014, with an additional one the year before.

However, while critics argue that superior performance has enabled Hamilton to stay ahead and reach those numbers, Hakkinen maintains that is only part of the equation.

“To win one Grand Prix is not easy, so to repeat that so many times over 14 years in Formula 1 is a very special achievement and one that Lewis has every right to be proud of," the former McLaren driver wrote in his Unibet column.

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"To win races and a World Championship requires many things, including a great car, strong teammate and excellent team of people to support you, and Lewis has benefitted from all of those things at Mercedes.

"But you also have to perform yourself because no matter how good your car is, you have to do the driving, operate the systems in the right way, execute the right strategy and, most importantly of all, be a really good racing driver."

Hakkinen, who defeated Michael Schumacher to win his first F1 title in 1998 before retaining the following year, also pointed to the longevity of Hamilton at the top in F1, having won at least once in every season since debuting in 2007.

"Lewis’s ability to deliver victories and then to repeat them over time, starting at the age of 21 and continuing now that he is 35, is no easy task," said the 'Flying Finn'.

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"I know how much energy it took to win the title twice, and when I stopped racing in Formula 1 I knew it was the right moment – at 33.

"So no one should think that what Lewis has done is simply a question of having the best car. It requires ability, fitness, application and focus to keep on winning, and clearly Lewis has found the way to do that."