Hakkinen advises McLaren to keep Kovalainen

Former McLaren racer Mika Hakkinen has expressed surprise that the Woking based team is on the search for a new driver. The Mercedes-powered team, driven by Hakkinen to back to back championships in 1998 and 1999, is openly contemplating a new...

Former McLaren racer Mika Hakkinen has expressed surprise that the Woking based team is on the search for a new driver.

The Mercedes-powered team, driven by Hakkinen to back to back championships in 1998 and 1999, is openly contemplating a new teammate for Lewis Hamilton.

But Finn Hakkinen, 41, told Germany's Auto Bild that McLaren should retain his countryman Heikki Kovalainen.

"They're looking for a driver? Really? I didn't know," he joked while trackside at the DTM finale in Hockenheim.

While the leading candidate for Kovalainen's seat is another Finn, Kimi Raikkonen, Hakkinen believes Kovalainen's contribution to McLaren is underrated.

"It's never one person who makes a big operation fantastically successful, it is teamwork," he insisted.

"If you look at the performances of Lewis and Heikki, you have to look not only at the black and white race results, but also what happens in the background," said Hakkinen.

"Those two do a fantastic job," he added, before grinning: "Looking for a new driver? Why should they do that?"

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About this article
Series Formula 1
Drivers Mika Hakkinen , Heikki Kovalainen
Teams Mercedes , McLaren