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Hakkinen: Vettel to be champ `in next few years`.

Formula 1's youngest-ever race-winner Sebastian Vettel has received a further vote of confidence ahead of the 2009 campaign, with former double world champion Mika Hakkinen tipping the German for the title 'in the next few years'.

Already the sport's youngest-ever points-scorer after finishing eighth on his debut for BMW-Sauber in the 2007 US Grand Prix at Indianapolis, Vettel again broke all records in the top flight in the Italian Grand Prix just over a year later when at just 21 years and 73 days of age he put his Scuderia Toro Rosso STR3 on pole position at Monza – and a day later went on to win the race too. Hakkinen has no doubt that it is a question of when rather than if the man from Heppenheim – now with Red Bull Racing – lifts the ultimate laurels.

“Vettel has the right stuff,” the 1998 and 1999 F1 World Champion told laola1.at. “He is still very young, but exceptionally fast, performing like an old hand. Certainly in the next few years he will take the title.”

The Finn was also quick to spring to the defence of under-fire compatriot Kimi Raikkonen, who replaced him at McLaren-Mercedes following his retirement in 2001, but who endured a torrid 2008 season at Ferrari with repeated question marks over both his motivation and desire in the wake of a series of lacklustre performances for the Scuderia.

“Kimi did not have a good year,” the 40-year-old acknowledged, “but in 2009 he will attack again and win races. He knows what went wrong and will stop it from happening again.”

Hakkinen had similar words of support, finally, for F1 commercial rights-holder Bernie Ecclestone, who Sir Jackie Stewart earlier this week suggested should now relinquish his iron grip on the sport for the sake of its future [see separate story – click here].

“In the past decades he was the one who moved Formula 1 forwards,” the former DTM star contended. “He is absolutely the right man for the job.”


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rich ard

January 07, 2009 2:35 PM

calvin, 1st point right. i doubt RBR will give him a car capable of winning the WDC, but then, maybe the new regs would help? 2nd point, kimi is reasonably good, but his dourness works against him, and i think that he will still lack motivation next year. after all, he has bin there, seen there and got the tee shirt. 3rd point, another good comment. i wonder what the cvc shareholders are saying now. but isnt it strange, that a series which was almost self formed by the teams, can be taken over by a dictator, who then claims TOTAL control, and pity help anyone who opposes him!

Calvin _

January 07, 2009 11:44 AM

Vettel may have the right stuff, but that''s not all it takes. He has to be in the right team as well as lots of other things to make him a WC. There are many driver in F1 who have the right stuff, but not all of them will have the chance, whether by luck or design to win a WC. I hope Kimi does come good in 2009. I like him as a driver even though he drives for Ferrari. As for BE, he may have moved F1 on, but did he do it for F1 or to fill his pockets. In any case, just because he did good things in the past, does that mean he has the right to go on forever, even if he becomes senile? I don''t think so. Problem is, he has no succession plan, nor does he seemingly want one.



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