Cape Town - Two-time World Champion Mika Hakkinen is a big fan of Kimi
Raikkonen's switch back to Sauber amid criticism from some quarters of the
Formula 1 world.
Raikkonen is re-joining his former team on a two-year deal
at the end of the season after Ferrari opted to invest in the future with
Charles Leclerc making the big step up from the Swiss team.
Not all have agreed with Raikkonen's imminent move, with the
likes of Sky Sports pundit Martin Brundle saying that the Finn has blocked a
young driver from having an opportunity to build their career.
But Hakkinen thinks the move is the right one for his fellow
"The news that Kimi is going to stay in Formula One for
two more years with Sauber surprised many people, but it shows two things very
clearly," Hakkinen told Unibet.
"He has not lost his love for driving these amazing
cars, and the team has ambition.
"As a Formula One driver you wake up each day knowing
what you want to do at the race.
"It becomes a kind of obsession to keep pushing
yourself and the team to achieve results.
"As a result, if you wake up one morning and that
hunger is no longer there, it’s time to stop.
"I stopped at the end of 2001, when I was still only
33, but Kimi is planning to keep racing in Formula one until he is 40.
"He still has the hunger to do it, and that’s the key
point. He just likes doing this job."
Hakkinen also has no doubts that Raikkonen still has the
pace to be competitive, despite his advancing years.
He added: "The speed is still there - he was quickest
in second practice in Singapore - and he is going to a team that really wants
to work with him. It’s a great news story for Formula One.
"He started his career with Sauber, a team that has
been through some tough times in recent years, and they clearly have the desire
to build on their strong performances this season.
"Only one year ago they attracted support from Alfa
Romeo, they have ambitious owners, and they will want Kimi to show them how to
progress to the next step.
"This will not involve winning races, but sometimes
there is a lot of satisfaction to be gained from helping a team to improve, score
points and threaten the big teams. It will be interesting to watch."
Raikkonen currently occupies third in the World Championship
standings and is set to battle compatriot Valtteri Bottas over the remaining
six races to keep hold of it.