OCTOBER 19, 2000
Hakkinen Still Hungry After Suzuka Decider
MIKA HAKKINEN revealed today (Thursday), in Malaysia that he would have quit the Formula One circus if he had won the world championship this season.
McLaren-Mercedes' double world champion Hakkinen, who graciously conceded the chance to win a third consecutive title when Ferrari's Michael Schumacher won in Japan, said he would have stopped racing if he had been the first man since Juan-Manuel Fangio to complete the hat-trick of titles.
"If I had won three times, I would have definitely stopped," said Hakkinen. "But I still have the motivation to continue winning. I don't want to stop now."
Despite allegations that certain factors were leaning towards Schumacher's bid to claim the first drivers' championship for Ferrari in 21 years, Hakkinen rebuffed any such notion. The Finn stated that neither he nor McLaren gave up hope.
Hakkinen added that his drive right up on to the tail of the Ferrari in the closing stages of the race was ample evidence of his desire to keep the world title: "They (the two championships) are something that I am proud of, and I never thought 'we have lost' until we crossed the line in Suzuka, when it was a fact."
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