Mika Häkkinen has backed Kimi Räikkönen to recover from his troubled first half of the 2014 season.
Since returning to Ferrari, Räikkönen has been overshadowed by team-mate Fernando Alonso; while Alonso holds fourth after the first 11 races with two podiums to his name, Räikkönen sits 12th with a best finish of sixth.
But Häkkinen says he has seen enough progress from Räikkönen, who has struggled to find a comfortable balance with the F14 T chassis, to suggest that his fellow Finn will soon get on terms with Alonso.
“It’s just a matter of time. Kimi is just as quick as Alonso when he manages to get his car set up properly,” said Häkkinen, a two-time World Champion, during his post-Hungarian Grand Prix column for Hermes.
Räikkönen’s aforementioned sixth place came directly before the summer break in Budapest, but he could have achieved more had it not been for a backfiring tyre gamble that saw him eliminated from the opening phase.
Häkkinen admitted to shock over the outcome, questioning Ferrari’s decision-making on the pit wall.
“That was an obvious mistake, one that shouldn’t be made by a team at the level of Ferrari,” he explained.
“Maybe their thoughts were already on the four week break. I struggle to believe that such a serious error was made under [Engineering Director] Pat Fry. I know Fry very well; he was an engineer at McLaren when I was there. The alarm bells should have gone off for a person like him. One should never take anything for granted.”