LEWIS Hamilton can turn Monaco misery into a Canadian celebration because every setback makes you stronger, according to retired double world champion Mika Hakkinen.
“‘I’m going to win the next one’. That will be his motivation. You cannot just start getting depressed about it,” said the Finn, who overcame his own share of race setbacks.
“You have to learn and analyse everything that has happened, and get stronger and better.”
Hakkinen, champion with McLaren in 1998 and 1999, knows all about that from bitter experience.
At the 1999 Italian Grand Prix, he sobbed in bushes by the side of the track after making a basic error and crashing out while leading.
In Spain in 2001, the Finn suffered one of the cruellest blows when his McLaren’s engine blew on the last lap while he was coasting to victory.
“All these things that happen in motor racing or in life, they make you stronger because you learn from those things. It’s just very hard in the position you are sitting, in the racing car, when everyone is staring at you,” said Hakkinen.
“Millions of fans looking at it and asking why? It’s hard to be a driver sitting there and have to answer these questions.
“But you have to go on, you have to go flat out. You have to build up your confidence inside more and challenge the next grand prix. There’s a long way to go in the season. And Monaco is an example that anything can happen.”
Sunday’s race had a Hamilton victory written all over it. He was fastest in practice, qualified on pole and led from the start by a comfortable margin until the safety car came out near the end.
While others stayed out, the Briton came in for fresh tyres in what turned out to be a needless stop. He finished third.
Mercedes motorsport head Toto Wolff apologised for the error, but said Hamilton, whose championship lead over team-mate and race winner Nico Rosberg was halved to 10 points, would fight back at the next race, the seventh of the season, in Montreal.
“He has such mental strength and is on a roll. It must be very sore to lose that one, because it was his to win. I have no doubt he will recover as quickly as he always did,” said the Austrian.