MONACO, May 21, 2012
Renowned Formula One stars David Coulthard and Mika Häkkinen are tipping street circuit specialists Kimi Räikkönen or Nico Rosberg as likely winners of Sunday’s Monaco Grand Prix (May 27).
Speaking in an interview with Laureus.com in Monaco, two-time World Champion Häkkinen and double Monaco Grand Prix winner Coulthard picked Finland’s Räikkönen in the Lotus and Germany’s Rosberg in the Mercedes as best bets to win the most glamorous race in the Formula One calendar.
Laureus World Sports Academy Member Häkkinen, who won the race in 1998, said: “It’s always difficult to say who's going to win in Monaco, but let’s say the temperature is really hot then I believe that Kimi has a very good chance. I believe if they get the balance right, I’m sure they can do well. And also Nico performs really well on street circuits like Singapore and Monaco.”
Laureus Ambassador David Coulthard, winner in 2000 and 2002, agreed: “In Nico and Kimi you’ve got two guys that have done well on street circuits. And that’s a key. Some drivers just can't handle street tracks and they show great form on other circuits. But they are two drivers that are good. Mark Webber has won here too. Sebastian Vettel has won here. Michael Schumacher, of course, has won here and is looking for his first victory since his comeback.”
Both former F1 drivers said they are very much looking forward to the race. after a season which has seen five different winners in the first five Grand Prix – Jensen Button, Fernando Alonso, Nico Rosberg, Sebastian Vettel and Pastor Maldonado.
Häkkinen said: “I have found this season very spectacular. Really, really good. Great overtaking. Great winners. And great surprises.” And Coulthard added: “I think it’s been an incredibly exciting start. The first few races we had several different winners. It’s unpredictable. We’ve had certain drivers complaining about the tyres. My personal view is that in any given year, Formula One will be difficult for something, whether it’s managing the engine or the brakes or the tyres and you just have to get on with it.”
In the interview, Coulthard and Häkkinen discuss who might win this year’s Formula One World Championship. Häkkinen said: “I think Mercedes has done a great job and I think we were surprised at Nico’s [Rosberg] performance in Shanghai. That was incredible. Starting from the free practice to qualifying to the race, I think the Mercedes is definitely a surprise. Even if you look at the winter tests, they showed a little bit of performance, but what they're doing at the moment is great in my opinion, so let’s see if that continues. I think with what Mercedes are doing at the moment they could win the title.”
Coulthard is not so sure and said: “I think it’s more likely the champion will come from either Red Bull or McLaren, but Mercedes have a momentum now. It remains to be seen if they can carry through this year which will make them a threat for the future.”
Coulthard and Häkkinen paid tribute to the work of the Laureus Sport for Good Foundation around the world, particularly commenting on the success of the MotorV8 project in the United Kingdom, which uses motor sport to engage young people.
Häkkinen said: “I think what Laureus is doing is great. Using sportspeople to get close to the kids to motivate them. We did this MotorV8 event in Milton Keynes and it was a great day. We had 50 kids taking part when we were driving go-karts and also learning about the engineering of the go-kart. And I think what is one of the most important things is to learn teamwork. To work together. Not to be independent. Work together. Find the solutions. And that day was really great and motivating. And these kids came from difficult families. Difficult positions in their lives. So it was really interesting to give them motivation and talk to them and give them the chance to meet Formula One drivers. For them it was such an incredible day. But for me it was also an incredible day to see the kids like that.”