Mika Hakkinen says Mercedes can “simply” make the Constructors’ Championship a three-way race regardless of their comparatively poor begin to the season.
Having gained the earlier eight Constructors’ Championships, Mercedes entered the 2022 season as one of many favourites to retain their crown – however their early performances have been something however title-winning type.
Whereas they presently occupy second place each within the Drivers’ and Constructors’ Championships, they’re largely there via the fault of others having did not qualify greater than fifth in any of the opening three races.
It isn’t solely they who appear to be struggling for pace as all Mercedes-powered vehicles are presently being outperformed by these with Ferrari, Renault or Pink Pull Powertrains PUs.
Regardless of this, two-time former champion Mika Hakkinen believes Mercedes can nonetheless “simply” battle for the championship.
“Lewis [Hamilton] and George [Russell] are each doing a unbelievable job for Mercedes whereas the workforce kind out their efficiency issues,” mentioned Hakkinen in his column for Unibet. “That’s one more reason why Pink Bull want to repair their reliability points.
“This championship might simply develop right into a three-way battle between these groups and Ferrari.”
Talking after the Australian Grand Prix, Hakkinen highlighted Russell for reward following his podium end.
“George drove a extremely robust race and that third place was essential,” he mentioned.
“It’s actually stunning to see him second within the World Championship, however his consistency and the automotive’s reliability has been spectacular – fourth in Bahrain, fifth in Saudi Arabia and now a podium in Australia.
“It’s additionally noticeable he’s forward of Lewis Hamilton, though the Security Automobile had an enormous affect in Melbourne so I don’t assume that’s any reflection of relative efficiency.
On Pink Bull’s reliability points, the Finn mentioned Verstappen “is not going to be blissful” having been compelled to retire from two of the opening three races this marketing campaign
“There was a lot to remove from this race,” Hakkinen mentioned of the Australian Grand Prix.
“Charles Leclerc was in full management and mentioned afterwards the automotive felt actually robust, utilizing its tyres effectively and giving him a extremely constant efficiency.
“That’s what any prime driver needs – a automotive that’s fast from begin to end and responding to all of your inputs.
“What’s essential is that Charles has taken two wins and a second place from these first three grands prix, whereas Max Verstappen has had one win and two non-finishes.
“At this degree, you can’t afford to have fixed technical failures. Max is not going to be blissful.”