Atlas F1 News Service

Hakkinen Claims he Can Still be Champion

Thursday April 12th, 2001

McLaren driver Mika Hakkinen still believes he can fight for the world championship this season, despite a poor start of the year which has seen him scoring only one point in the first three rounds.

Two-time world champion Hakkinen retired with a mechanical failure at the season opening Australian Grand Prix and stalled his car on the grid in Brazil, enduring his most disappointing beginning of a season in the past three years.

But Hakkinen, who lies 25 points behind championship leader Michael Schumacher and 19 behind teammate David Coulthard, believes the European season will give him the opportunity to return to the top.

"It is like starting the season all over again because really I have nothing so far," said Hakkinen. "David's win in Brazil was great for the team. He drove a fantastic race and it was a great overtaking move he did on Michael.

"We are a close team, as we showed, and I am sure David would do the same to me when I win.

"David's win was good for my motivation. I can only take positives from his victory - and the car is getting better and quicker.

"I am not giving up on the title yet because there is still a long way to go," he added. "I know that if I can get a win, and the ten points it brings, then the situation in the championship is going to be totally different."

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