Mika Hakkinen is not sure that Max Verstappen will win the world championship yet, saying the race is by no means over.
Verstappen extended his lead over rival Lewis Hamilton to 19 points, taking a huge step towards his maiden title. However, that is not a safe lead to be banking on, and the driver is fully aware of it.
Four races remain between now and the end of the season. They will be held in Brazil, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates. Verstappen will need to win a fair few of those to get his hands on the championship.
However, Hakkinen is not sure that Verstappen will win the world championship yet, and said that there is still all to play for.
“There is no doubt that Max’s victory has given him a strong lead in the World Championship with only four races remaining,” Hakkinen wrote in his Unibet column, as quoted by motorsportweek.
“But in my opinion a lot can still happen in this battle between Red Bull and Mercedes. While the next Grand Prix in Brazil should again suit Max’s car, Lewis Hamilton won at Interlagos in 2016 and 2018.
“We then head to two new circuits in Qatar and Saudi Arabia, which means neither team has any data from previous events on which to rely. They will of course use simulation technology to predict performance, but you never really know how a car and tyres will work until you start running. Freshly surfaced, new tracks can be oily, dusty and definitely tricky.
“Red Bull have shown a small but important pace advantage, however I am certain that next four races will produce surprises.”
The former world champion also talked about how mental fortitude plays a big role in a championship hunt, and talked about how every detail matters.
“This is when the psychology of the driver and his team will become important,” he continued.
“Every point counts, and so too does every technical issue or accident,” he said. You have to keep your focus, and keep working hard with everyone in the team to make sure nothing is taken for granted. If you relax, the other guy is always waiting to take an opportunity,” he concluded.