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Mika Häkkinen

Mika Pauli Häkkinen (born September 28, 1968 in Helsingin maalaiskunta) is a Finnish racing driver and two-time Formula One champion. He was Michael Schumacher's greatest rival in F1 from 1998-2000 (see results section below). The German has said himself that Häkkinen is the rival he respected the most during his Formula One career.

Personal and early life

Mika Häkkinen was born in Helsingin maalaiskunta (now Vantaa), Finland on September 28, 1968 to Harri, a short wave radio operator and part-time taxi driver, and Aila Häkkinen, who worked as a secretary. Häkkinen grew up with one sister, Nina, who ran a fan site for her brother until its closure in 1998. Häkkinen married Erja Honkanen in 1998. The couple has one son, Hugo Ronan (born December 11, 2000) and one daughter, Aina Julia (born May 12, 2005). Media reports in early 2008 suggested the couple were applying for divorce. Since 1991, Häkkinen has resided in Monte Carlo although he also has houses in France and Finland. On May 18 2008, his newly completed mansion in France burnt down after the light in one of his trophy cabinets made a short circuit. Nobody was injured in the conflagration however his pet tortoise perished in the fire., along with his collection of F1 trophies.

Racing career

Pre-Formula One (until 1990)

When Häkkinen was five years old, his parents hired a go-kart for him to take to a track near their home. On his first lap, Häkkinen was involved in an accident, escaping unhurt. Despite this crash, Häkkinen wished to continue racing and after persistently annoying his parents, the young Finn got his wish. His father bought Häkkinen his first go-kart, one that Henri Toivonen had previously competed with.

By 1986, Häkkinen had won five karting championships. 1982 World Champion Keke Rosberg helped Häkkinen by arranging him sponsorship that aided the Finn through the junior categories of open wheel racing. The "New Flying Finn" won three Scandinavian championships, then the Opel Lotus Euroseries championship before winning the British Formula Three championship and coming close to winning the 1990 Macau Grand Prix but missing out due to an accident, which resulted in his promotion to Formula One with the Lotus team.

Formula One (1991-2001)

Lotus (1991-1992)

1991

Häkkinen joined Lotus in 1991. He qualified 13th for his Grand Prix debut in Phoenix, and would also have finished the race in the same position but his car experienced an engine failure on lap 60. Häkkinen scored his first Grand Prix points two rounds later in Imola, where he finished fifth from 25th on the grid, three laps behind the race winner, Ayrton Senna. Häkkinen finished the season in equal 15th alongside Satoru Nakajima and Martin Brundle.1992 Johnny Herbert joined Häkkinen for 1992. The Finn continued his form from 1991, with points scoring finishes in six Grands Prix, his best finishes being fourth places in France and Hungary. Häkkinen finished the season in eighth place in the Drivers' Championship, with almost six times as many points as during the previous season.

McLaren (1993-2001)

1993 In 1993, Häkkinen joined McLaren as test driver with a view to be promoted into the race team later on. In Monaco he returned to racing with a guest drive in the Porsche Supercup race, an event he dominated. His hopes of stepping up to the race team were realised after Monza, when Michael Andretti left F1 after disappointing results. Häkkinen's McLaren race debut at Estoril was impressive. In his first outing for the team, he outqualified their star driver Ayrton Senna. Unfortunately, when pushing too hard through the final corner of the track during the race, he ran wide onto the dirty side of the kerb, launching the car towards the pit wall. At the time he was running in a point-scoring position. He went on to score a podium finish fifteen seconds behind his triple world champion team-mate during the next weekend at Suzuka, his first career podium.1994

With Senna departing to Williams for 1994, Häkkinen became the leading driver for McLaren with Martin Brundle as his teammate. McLaren had also switched from Ford engines to Peugeot. During the season, Häkkinen took six more podium finishes to add to his sole podium of 1993, including a second place in Belgium. The Finn finished the year fourth in the Drivers' Championship with a tally of 26 points.1995 1995 would be the start of a long relationship between Häkkinen's McLaren team and the German car manufacturer Mercedes-Benz. A further two second places in Italy and Japan put the Finn's tally of podiums up to nine. Then, at the 1995 Australian Grand Prix in Adelaide, Häkkinen had a tyre failure during free practice, which resulted in him crashing heavily into the wall. He was saved only due to an emergency tracheotomy that was performed by the side of the track. This incident forged a strong bond between Häkkinen and team principal Ron Dennis, and also sent forth a new movement for extra safety in the sport. Luckily, Häkkinen recovered almost fully and was fit to race again in 1996 thus only missing one race. 1996 The 1996 season saw McLaren improve; Mercedes-Benz were in their second season of engine supply to the team and Häkkinen managed to return to the podium, although his first win still eluded him. That season saw David Coulthard join the team from Williams. At the Spa circuit he nearly registered his first win while using a one stop race strategy, until Jos Verstappen caused a yellow flag to allow all other cars to pit under yellow. Based on timing, Häkkinen would have won the race by over 10 seconds without this event. Häkkinen finished fifth in the Drivers' Championship, scoring a total of 31 points.1997 McLaren were confident of success in 1997. With the distinctive red and white colours of Marlboro replaced by the silver and black colours of West, the team returned to their winning ways. Coulthard took the first win for McLaren in over three seasons at the Australian Grand Prix. Through the year the McLarens began to regularly challenge the frontrunners, but it was Coulthard who finished higher in the championship. Häkkinen came close to an elusive breakthrough victory a number of times in 1997, not least at Silverstone, A1-Ring and Nürburgring. At Jerez he finally managed to cross the line first, although Villeneuve had allegedly been asked to consider whether it was necessary to keep the Finn behind him at all costs in the closing stages of the race, this being due to the incident with Michael Schumacher in the closing stages of the race - an incident similar to the one in 1994's final race.1998 A winner at last, Häkkinen was confident of further success in 1998. With Adrian Newey, the renowned former Williams-Renault designer, now on board at McLaren, Häkkinen found himself in the fastest car for early 1998 season. He did not waste the opportunity, and opened up a significant lead in the Drvier's Championship. However, a combination of car problems, bad luck and some inspired driving by Michael Schumacher saw the 2 drivers level on points with just 2 races to go. Häkkinen held his nerve, beating Schumacher in a straight fight at the Luxembourg Grand Prix and going on to win again in Japan, clinching the title whilst his rival Schumacher stalled on the grid.1999

His title defence in 1999 was tougher. With the McLaren not as reliable as the previous year, he lost out on a number of points early in the season, but by the time of Schumacher's leg-breaking crash at Silverstone, he had overtaken the German in the standings. Eddie Irvine now took on the mantle of Ferrari team leader and through reliability problems with the McLaren, and mistakes from Häkkinen, took the title battle down to the last race, again in Japan. Häkkinen had made several major errors at Imola and Monza, both times crashing out whilst in a strong lead, and some questioned whether he could handle the pressure of a title decider once more. In fact, the normally cool and composed Finn was overwhelmed by his error at Monza and broke down crying in front of the cameras after running away from his car to hide during the race. Come Japan however, he was back on top form and romped to a victory that secured him a second world championship, almost an entire lap ahead of title rival Irvine with Schumacher a close second.2000

As a double World Champion, he had joined an elite group of drivers. For 2000, he was eager to score a hat-trick of crowns, but an improved Ferrari, combined with the driving talent of Michael Schumacher, saw him finish runner-up to the German. At Spa however, he had taken his greatest victory, with a sensational simultaneous pass on Michael Schumacher and Ricardo Zonta in the Kemmel straight. This was the last point in his career when he was both the reigning world champion and also leading the world championship of the current year, as in the next Grand Prix Schumacher took over the Championship lead, which he was to ascertain in an epic duel with Häkkinen at the 2000 Japanese Grand Prix. Schumacher went on to describe his championship fight with Häkkinen as the most satisfying one in his career, an indication of the great respect between the two multiple champions.2001

In 2001, he took part in what would prove to be his last season of Formula One. The McLaren was not as competitive and it was Coulthard who carried the threat to Schumacher for much of the season. There were days however when Häkkinen reminded people of his skills. In Spain he was in the lead on the last lap to record his fourth straight Spanish Grand Prix victory but he had a failure and was forced to retire yards away from victory. At Silverstone he dominated the race to take his first victory of the year, whilst at Indianapolis he put in a stirring drive to take his last Grand Prix win. At the end of the season he left racing, initially for a sabbatical, but by mid-2002 this had become full-time retirement.

DTM (2005-2007)

During 2004 Häkkinen announced plans for a Grand Prix comeback and held talks with Williams for 2005. A deal was not reached and he instead made a race comeback in the Deutsche Tourenwagen Masters (DTM), with Mercedes-Benz. It was a successful season, including one win at Spa.

For 2006 he again competed in the DTM championships with Mercedes, although it was a more difficult season, with a couple of second places his best results. Autosport magazine has speculated that Häkkinen's style of driving is not especially suited to a DTM car.

At the 2006 Goodwood Festival Of Speed, Häkkinen drove the 2005 McLaren-Mercedes MP4-20. Many said that it was great once again to see Häkkinen in a McLaren, as he was the last driver to win the World Championship in a McLaren.

Häkkinen would stay on at Mercedes for a third season in the series and, although this was tainted by some bad luck in places, 2007 was to be his most competitive. Regularly qualifying on the front row, he took two wins at Lausitz and Mugello on his way to 8th in the championship.

Possible return to F1

After Häkkinen's sabbatical year and subsequent retirement, rumours of his return have been reported on several occasions. Häkkinen was linked to Williams during the 2004 season, because of Montoya going to McLaren-Mercedes following year.

At the end of the 2006 season there were further rumours regarding Häkkinen returning to the wheel of a McLaren-Mercedes for the 2007 season. Autosport magazine reported that Häkkinen had tested a McLaren simulator twice during November and discussed a possible comeback with the team. On November 24 McLaren announced that Lewis Hamilton would take the team's second seat in 2007, ending the speculation of a possible return to a Formula One drivers seat. However, Häkkinen may still participate in an advisory role with Ron Dennis stating that "Mika can evaluate some of the things we are developing and bringing to the car. On Thursday, November 30, Häkkinen tested the 2006 McLaren-Mercedes MP4-21 for a full day at the Circuit de Catalunya, in Barcelona, Spain. He completed 79 laps of the circuit, but his fastest lap was three seconds off the pace of regular race drivers. McLaren are using his expertise to see how Formula One has evolved over the years since his retirement from Formula One at the 2001 Japanese Grand Prix for possible developments which may come out of this testing. Ron Dennis has stated that this might be Häkkinen's only Formula One test for the Woking team.

Häkkinen has also been named as the Responsible Drinking Ambassador for McLaren sponsor Johnnie Walker.

Retirement

Häkkinen announced his retirement from competitive motorsport on Sunday, November 4 2007. He was quoted as saying that the decision "was not an easy one," but added that "racing is still in my blood and this decision does not mean that this will prevent me from racing for pleasure.

Career summary

Season Series Team Name Races Poles Wins Points Final Placing
1974-1986 Karting ? ? ? ? ? 5 times Finnish Champion
1987 Nordic Formula Ford Reynard 15 ? 9 40 1st
1988 GM Vauxhall-Lotus Challenge Dragon 10 4 3 127 2nd
Opel-Lotus Euroseries Dragon 10 2 4 126 1st
1989 British F3 Dragon 17 2 0 18 7th
Cellnet F3 SuperPrix WSR 1 1 1 N/A 1st
Macau Grand Prix Dragon 1 0 0 N/A R
1990 British F3 WSR 17 11 10 121 1st
Italian F3 WSR 1 0 1 9 ?
German F3 WSR 1 1 1 9 ?
Macau Grand Prix WSR 1 1 0 N/A R
Fuji F3 Race WSR 1 0 0 N/A DNQ
1991 Formula One Lotus 15 0 0 2 16th
1992 Formula One Lotus 15 0 0 11 8th
1993 Formula One McLaren 3 0 0 4 15th
Porsche Supercup ? 2 2 2 ? ?
1994 Formula One McLaren 15 0 0 26 4th
1995 Formula One McLaren 15 0 0 17 7th
1996 Formula One McLaren 16 0 0 31 5th
1997 Formula One McLaren 16 1 1 27 6th
1998 Formula One McLaren 16 9 8 100 1st
1999 Formula One McLaren 16 11 5 76 1st
2000 Formula One McLaren 17 5 4 89 2nd
2001 Formula One McLaren 17 0 2 37 5th
2005 DTM AMG-Mercedes 11 1 1 30 5th
2006 DTM HWA-Mercedes 10 0 0 25 6th
2007 DTM HWA-Mercedes 10 2 2 22 8th

Complete Formula One results

(F1 driver results legend 2) (Races in bold indicate pole position, races in italics indicate fastest lap)
Year Team Chassis Engine 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 WDC Points
1991 Team Lotus Lotus 102B Judd V8 USA
13
BRA
9
SMR
5
MON
Ret
CAN
Ret
MEX
9
FRA
DNQ
GBR
12
GER
Ret
HUN
14
BEL
Ret
ITA
14
POR
14
ESP
Ret
JPN
Ret
AUS
19
16th 2
1992 Team Lotus Lotus 102D Ford HB V8 RSA
9
MEX
6
BRA
10
ESP
Ret
SMR
DNQ
8th 11
Lotus 107 MON
Ret
CAN
Ret
FRA
4
GBR
6
GER
Ret
HUN
4
BEL
6
ITA
Ret
POR
5
JPN
Ret
AUS
7
1993 Marlboro McLaren McLaren MP4/8 Ford HB V8 RSA BRA EUR SMR ESP MON CAN FRA GBR GER HUN BEL ITA POR
Ret
JPN
3
AUS
Ret
15th 4
1994 Marlboro McLaren Peugeot McLaren MP4/9 Peugeot V10 BRA
Ret
PAC
Ret
SMR
3
MON
Ret
ESP
Ret
CAN
Ret
FRA
Ret
GBR
3
GER
Ret
HUN
EX
BEL
2
ITA
3
POR
3
EUR
3
JPN
7
AUS
12
4th 26
1995 Marlboro McLaren Mercedes McLaren MP4/10 Mercedes V10 BRA
4
ARG
Ret
SMR
5
ESP
Ret
MON
Ret
CAN
Ret
7th 17
McLaren MP4/10B FRA
7
GBR
Ret
GER
Ret
HUN
Ret
BEL
Ret
ITA
2
PAC
Inj
JPN
2
AUS
DNQ
McLaren MP4/10C POR
Ret
EUR
8
1996 Marlboro McLaren Mercedes McLaren MP4/11 Mercedes V10 AUS
5
BRA
4
ARG
Ret
EUR
8
SMR
8
MON
6
ESP
5
CAN
5
FRA
5
GBR
3
GER
Ret
HUN
4
BEL
3
ITA
3
POR
Ret
JPN
3
5th 31
1997 West McLaren Mercedes McLaren MP4/12 Mercedes V10 AUS
3
BRA
4
ARG
5
SMR
6
MON
Ret
ESP
7
CAN
Ret
FRA
Ret
GBR
Ret
GER
3
HUN
Ret
BEL
DSQ
ITA
9
AUT
Ret
LUX
Ret
JPN
4
EUR
1
6th 27
1998 West McLaren Mercedes McLaren MP4/13 Mercedes V10 AUS
1
BRA
1
ARG
2
SMR
Ret
ESP
1
MON
1
CAN
Ret
FRA
3
GBR
2
AUT
1
GER
1
HUN
6
BEL
Ret
ITA
4
LUX
1
JPN
1
1st 100
1999 West McLaren Mercedes McLaren MP4/14 Mercedes V10 AUS
Ret
BRA
1
SMR
Ret
MON
3
ESP
1
CAN
1
FRA
2
GBR
Ret
AUT
3
GER
Ret
HUN
1
BEL
2
ITA
Ret
EUR
5
MAL
3
JPN
1
1st 76
2000 West McLaren Mercedes McLaren MP4/15 Mercedes V10 AUS
Ret
BRA
Ret
SMR
2
GBR
2
ESP
1
EUR
2
MON
6
CAN
4
FRA
2
AUT
1
GER
2
HUN
1
BEL
1
ITA
2
USA
Ret
JPN
2
MAL
4
2nd 89
2001 West McLaren Mercedes McLaren MP4-16 Mercedes V10 AUS
Ret
MAL
6
BRA
Ret
SMR
4
ESP
9
AUT
Ret
MON
Ret
CAN
3
EUR
6
FRA
DNS
GBR
1
GER
Ret
HUN
5
BEL
4
ITA
Ret
USA
1
JPN
4
5th 37

Complete DTM results

(F1 driver results legend 2)
Year Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 Pos Points
2005 Mercedes HOC
8
EUR
3
SPA
1
BRN
13
OSC
Ret
NOR
Ret
NÜR
4
ZAN
12
EUR
12
IST
2
HOC
15

5th

30
2006 Mercedes HOC
4
EUR
3
OSC
9
BRA
11
NOR
3
NÜR
12
ZAN
11
CAT
11
BUG
2
HOC
Ret

6th

25
2007 Mercedes HOC
10
OSC
17
EUR*
1
BRA
4
NOR
9
MUG
1
ZAN
7
NÜR
10
CAT
DSQ
HOC
17

8th

22

* Half points were awarded in the race due to several errors made by the race officials.

References

External links

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