Racing History

Mika Hakkinen started out his racing career in the same way as all the great drivers, in karting. He started karting in 1973 at the age of 5 and won his first race 2 years later. From the age of 11 Mika won championship after championship, as detailed in the table below.

19781stKeimola Regional Karting Championship
19791stRegional Karting Championship
19804thLapland Karting Championship
19811stFinnish Karting Championship (F Miniseries)
Ronnie Peterson Memorial Championship
Finnish Karting Championship (F-miniseries)
19831stFinnish Karting Championship (FN series)
19841stFinnish Karting Championship (FA series)
19851stFinnish Karting Championship (FA series)
19861stFinnish Karting Championship (FA series)

His move into single seater racing was equally successful, he held three Formula Ford 1600 championship titles at the end of his first season, in 1987.

Mika Hakkinen driving F3 car

Mika racing in British Formula 3 for Dragon Motorsport in 1989

After a move into British Formula 3 in 1989, Hakkinen won the championship in just his second season, with West Surrey Racing.

Finnish Formula Ford 1600 Championship
Swedish Formula Ford 1600 Championship
Nordic Formula Ford 1600 Championship
Opel Lotus Euroseries Championship
British GM Euroseries
19897thBritish Formula 3 Championship
19901stBritish Formula 3 Championship

Formula 1

The US Grand Prix of 1991, in Pheonix, Arizona was Mika’s debut in the world’s top racing series. He retired from this race with engine failure, after spinning several times. His team was the now defunct Lotus-Judd.

Mika Hakkinen driving a Lotus F1 car

Mika Hakkinen driving a Lotus-Judd in 1991

His move to McLaren was in 1993, when they were using Ford power. He was employed as a test driver, Ayrton Senna and Michael Andretti being the race drivers. When Andretti opted to return to CART racing, Mika was promoted to race driver and sensationally out qualified Senna in his first race with the team.

It was with McLaren that Mika gained his first podium finish, 3rd in the Japanese GP. In 1995 a serious accident during practice at the Australian Grand Prix brought him within inches of death. A tyre had deflated at high speed with the result of a hard impact into a tyre wall, severe head injuries and a coma. However, he recovered and returned to racing, and won his first GP in 1997, which was the European Grand Prix of that year.

He went on to become back to back world champion in 1998 and 1999.  After taking a sabbatical in 2001, he announced his retirement in 2002.

Mika Hakkinen celebrating victory

Mika celebrating winning his second world championship in Japan, 1999

199115thFormula 1 World Championship
19928thFormula 1 World Championship
199315thFormula 1 World Championship
19944thFormula 1 World Championship
19957thFormula 1 World Championship
19966thFormula 1 World Championship
19976thFormula 1 World Championship
19981stFormula 1 World Championship
19991stFormula 1 World Championship
20002ndFormula 1 World Championship
20015thFormula 1 World Championship