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Hakkinen expects Mercedes to be back on top form at Spa

Mika Hakkinen on the grid at the Spanish Grand Prix
© XPB 

Former world champion Mika Hakkinen predicts that Mercedes will be back on top again at Spa.

He expects Mercedes to be in front despite their slight slump at the Hungaroring compared to chief rivals Ferrari.

"After the Mercedes domination in Silverstone, Hungary was a very different story," Hakkinen wrote on his blog last week.

"It was pretty clear that Hungary suited the Ferrari car. There is no doubt about it that when it comes to high speed corners and fast tracks Mercedes has the edge.

"At the lower speed circuits they seem to struggle to get the balance right. This is when Ferrari has an advantage.

"It is very difficult to change the overall characteristics of a car during the season, so the balance of the remainder of the season will be very interesting.

"At the next races in Spa-Francorchamps and Monza I am very confident Mercedes will be strong," he continued. "But nevertheless everything will have to work perfectly on the car.

"The drivers will need to push hard because Ferrari is not going to give up this fight," he cautioned. "[Sebastian Vettel has worked hard to maintain his Championship advantage, and [Kimi] Raikkonen is a strong team-mate.

Hakkinen said that he was impressed by the way that Mercedes handled a tricky team order moment in Hungary.

"Seeing Valtteri Bottas move over during last Sunday’s race to let Lewis Hamilton take the fight to Kimi Raikkonen is absolutely typical behaviour for him," he wrote.

"He is not selfish in relation to the teams he works for. Like any top driver he is selfish enough to want to win, but also intelligent enough to know that working together will bring the results to the team.

"What he did required discipline and nerves. He easily could have kept Lewis behind, but he knew Lewis was flying and it was the right decision for the team.

"Later, when I saw Lewis allow Valtteri to overtake him and regain position, I thought to myself that this is a great example of a team working together, a real partnership.

"There were risks involved in that last lap, as Max Verstappen was very quick towards the end of the race. There was always the chance of giving away a position to him, but Valtteri and Lewis managed it perfectly."

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