“That made him totally mad”– When McLaren’s novice Mika Hakkinen annoyed Ayrton Senna back in 1993 and how the Brazilian reacted.
Ayrton Senna was undoubtedly a mystique figure in Formula 1; winning three world championships and winning 41 races across his career is an achievement only a handful of drivers have managed to outclass.
In 1993, Mika Hakkinen was debuting in F1 for McLaren after gaining promotion from the test driver position to starting driver after Michael Andretti’s departure.
#OnThisDay 28 years ago Mika Häkkinen (pic) drove his first #F1 GP for McLaren. He DNF’d on lap 33. But, the day before, he’d done something far more significant: he’d outqualified the great Ayrton Senna in the same car. pic.twitter.com/pT0KkiCUwB
— Matt Bishop (@TheBishF1) September 26, 2021
In no time, Hakkinen displayed his exceptional skills by snapping at the heels of teammate Ayrton Senna in the weekend’s first qualifying session.
In the next session, Hakkinen outdid Senna, finishing P3 in qualifying behind the Williams duo Damon Hill and Alain Prost. Needless to say, Senna was unsettled after being outshined by the rookie.
As recalled by Hakkinen, Senna walked up to him and asked how did he manage to pull that, to which he gave a cocky reply, which apparently infuriated Senna.
“I showed him [with my hands] and said: I have bigger balls!” remembers the Finn. “That made him totally mad. He got really angry and went on to tell me about his whole career, about the world championships he had won. He put me against the wall and said: Don’t even try.”
A star was born
Hakkinen was indeed an exceptional talent and went on to win two drivers’ championships in a row and creating an intense rivalry with Michael Schumacher.
Apart from that, his 20 wins and 51 podiums overall made his career immensely decorative before retiring in 2001 at age 33, relatively younger than his contemporaries.
Nevertheless, Hakkinen became an F1 legend for his incredible performances and giving one of the best moments in his career, which Senna never foresaw at that time.
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