Mika Hakkinen is known as the cool and calm Finn taking the fight to Michael Schumacher and the resurgent Ferrari of the late nineties. The double world champion battled back from a life-threatening injury to claim his titles.
Hakkinen first drove a go-kart at the age of five, and promptly had an accident on his very first lap.
Undeterred, he continued in karts and by the time he was 18 he had won five karting championships. He then progressed through single-seater ranks, winning the 1990 British Formula Three title.
It was also in 1990 that he had his first encounter of note with Schumacher. In the Macau Grand Prix he was running in second place behind the German, a position that would be enough to give him an aggregate race win. However, he tried passing Schumacher, and the pair touched, putting Hakkinen out of the race.
Hakkinen’s name became almost synonymous with McLaren, but it was with Lotus that he started his Formula One career, having a strong performance at the first race of 1991 in Phoenix before his engine failed. He switched to MacLaren in 1993, and had to wait for his chance to step up from test driver with the team, but took it with both hands when it came, out-qualifying his three-time world champion team-mate Ayrton Senna on his debut in Portugal.
A podium at the following race in Suzuka secured him a race seat for the following year, and with Senna leaving for Williams, Hakkinen became lead driver. Plenty more podiums followed but that first win proved elusive, and looked like it may never come when he crashed in practice at Adelaide in 1995. Emergency treatment on the track saved his life, and he was back in the car for the start of the following season. A strong two years followed, with his first win finally secured at Jerez in 1997.
That win very important for Hakkinen. He won the 1998 season-opener at Melbourne, one of eight victories that year as he held off the challenge of Michael Schumacher to be crowned champion at the final round in Japan. Schumacher was sidelined by a broken leg sustained at Silverstone the following season, leaving Eddie Irvine as the closest challenger.
Again in 1999 the season went down to the final race, and victory in Japan meant five wins were enough for him to make it back-to-back titles.
On Michael Schumacher’s Facebook page It has been widely reported that the only driver that Michael Schumacher feared and respected was Mika Hakkinen.
Schumacher returned to win the championship in 2000 as Ferrari started a period of dominance, and after only two wins in 2001, Hakkinen left the sport.
Double Formula One World Champion Mike Hakkinen and Mark Gallagher made a presentation together at the RSA Security Conference in Abu Dhabi. Around 2000 delegates were discussing a wide range of topics concerning IT security and risk management.
As a former champion, Mika Hakkinen knows how to manage risk, whether in driving around the streets of Monte Carlo with millimetre precision or racing wheel-to-wheel with his friend and arch rival Michael Schumacher. Mark discussed with Mika the data-driven approach Formula One drivers take to performance management, continuous improvement and race strategy. Mika also explained what it takes to develop a winning mindset and to become the best you can be in a chosen field. He also explored his near-fatal accident at the Australian Grand Prix in 1995, and his approach to Risk in the aftermath; he revealed how he came back stronger, winning 20 Grands Prix and 2 World Championship titles in the process.
Mark then asked Mika about his victory in the 2000 Belgian Grand Prix during which he overtook race-leader Michael Schumacher at 330kph in a manoeuvre which Formula One fans have voted the Best Overtaking Manoeuvre in F1 History on F1.com – Mika gave a great account, and explained how his rivalry with the legendary Schumacher was a defining point in his life and career.
RSA said afterwards of Mika and Mark that it was ‘the best delegate response they had received for any of their events’.
Topics that Mika can cover include:
'the best delegate response they had received for any of their events'.