Mika Häkkinen (born September 28, 1968), nicknamed “the Flying Finn”, is a Finnish former professional racing driver. He has been ranked among the greatest Formula One drivers in various motorsport polls. Häkkinen currently works in driver management and is a brand ambassador for various companies.
Häkkinen began his career in karting at the age of five and achieved success by winning regional and national kart championships. He progressed to car racing when he entered the Formula Ford and Formula Three series in Italy and the United Kingdom. After success in the series, Häkkinen entered Formula One in 1991 with the Team Lotus. The following year, he moved to McLaren as test driver before he was promoted to the race team following the departure of Michael Andretti.
After four years which yielded minor success for Häkkinen, he scored his first Formula One victory in 1997. He went on to win eight races of the 1998 season, securing the World Drivers’ Championship at the season ending Japanese Grand Prix; his success also helped McLaren secure the World Constructors’ Championship. Häkkinen repeated his World Championship success in 1999, taking five victories.
20th Century Highlights
- 1987: Nordic Formula Ford, Team Reynard, 1st
- 1988: GM Vauxhall-Lotus Challenge, Team Dragon, 2nd
- 1988: Opel-Lotus Euroseries, Team Dragon, 1st
- 1989: Cellnet Formula Three SuperPrix, Team WSR, 1st
- 1990: British Formula 3, Team WSR, 1st
- 1998: Formula One, Team West McLaren Mercedes, 1st
- 1999: Formula One, Team West McLaren Mercedes, 1st
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