The Finn told Bild newspaper that he thinks Hamilton, the Briton who drives for his former team McLaren, is good enough to stop countryman Kimi Raikkonen from successfully defending his crown this year.
Hakkinen said of Hamilton, who is 23: "He was sensational in his debut and is even stronger now.
"His toughest opponent will be Kimi," Hakkinen, who is 39, added.
"When you are champion, you discover new strengths. Those two are the best," he said.