The palms were sweaty, entire world was glued in to see a new champion crowned, will it be the rookie sensation- Hamilton, will it be the Defending Champion- Alonso or will it be the dark horse of this season- Raikkonen?
Interlagos has known to deal cards which cannot be scripted. Senna would have been proud to see the lineup, the excitement! NO chance of rain, the race was left up to the 3 drivers to win it for themselves and their team.
Hamilton looked like the favorite to win the crown, both his challengers tucked in behind him.
The race kicked off with Massa and Hamilton on the first row, no one knew the excitement that lay ahead.
Raikkonen and Massa made a great start with both Ferraris taking the top two spots. Alonso took the position from Hamilton on the Senna-S.
Ralf Schumacher shunted Heike Kovalainen, the dramas were on!!
Hamilton and Alonso went wheel to wheel through the next two corners but Hamilton overshot on the fourth corner and was on the tarmac and back on 9th position. The first lap of the last race of the calendar saw Massa and Raikkonen from Alonso leading the 22 cars across the Interlagos circuit.
The home town hero Massa went as fast as he could as he raced on ahead putting Kimi down a couple of seconds and Alonso more than 5 seconds down. The Finn was not going letting go, to set the mood of the race, he put in the fastest lap on just Lap5. Hamilton on the back of the pack seem to be fighting back, pulled of an excellent overtaking maneuver on Heidfeld, he seemed to be on the move. This was not what any one imagined, Hamilton lost drive, on Lap 7, the rookie’s race seemed to be coming to a close, the car was dropping pace, and from 7th on the grid he dropped not 3, not 4 but 11 places. The Brit’s car caught speed again but he was pushed back to 18th place. The damage had been done. Hearts were broken, but suddenly the Finn seemed to have his maiden crown win in his sights, he was consistent in his driving style, criticized by many journalists for not being a good speaker, the man did not seem to care.
As the first pit stops shook down, Massa was leading with Kimi in second and Alonso third; it seemed that at this point Alonso could strike a hat trick of wins. Hamilton started gaining places, but a very low fuel pit stop had put him on a three stop strategy, Hamilton would have to do it all on the track. Hamilton was on soft option tires and was sliding the car over the curbs; the man seemed to be determined on winning the title in his maiden year, as he kept making up ground.
The Ferraris mean while were trading fastest laps and Alonso failed to even maintain visual contact as he got pushed back, he did not seem to be as fast and as competitive as the Prancing Horse.
The second pit stop window opened up, Hamilton had taken 9 cars in the matter of a few laps, and he was one of the best on the track!
Massa was the first to pit and Kimi took over the lead, and these were the defining moments. The Iceman put in not one but three fastest laps of the race to increase the gap between himself and his teammate by 28 seconds. Kimi pitted, the fans held their breath as Kimi came out ahead of Massa into 1st position. Raikkonen was ahead of Massa, meanwhile Kubica had pulled off a brilliant overtaking maneuver to put Alonso down to fourth, Raikkonen seemed to have it won, with Hamilton no where close, Raikkonen had to put his head down and race. Kubica went in for a three pit stop strategy and Alonso moved up to 3rd.
Hamilton was up on 7th place and was looking to close in on the BMW of the polish driving sensation Robert Kubica, but, the Englishman had to pit, he was low on fuel. The red bull of David Coulthard was going to take that spot after the stop. Hamilton on exiting the pits came out 8th just behind DC. He took the position from him with ease but the 3 car convoy of two BMWs and Williams had raced ahead, as Heidfeld and Rosberg fought for the fourth spot, both overshot at the first corner and Kubica took two positions at once and Rosberg put Heidfeld behind him.
Rosberg then took the fourth place from Kubica in the next few laps. This pack was now no less than 17 seconds ahead of Hamilton who was catching up at a second a lap, but with not enough laps left, Hamilton prayed for a failure of the cars ahead.
Hamilton inspired run could not shake down the sixteen second gap that Quick Nick had built up over him.
The race however was lost for Alonso, relying on the failure of the Ferraris ahead was a bad gamble in any case.
The race and the win were heading to the Iceman’s kitty.
As the reverse countdown begun, the fans screamed, Kimi Raikkonen was closing in on the 15th win and the first Drivers Crown of his career.
The Finn refused to give up in his entire season; his gritty moves on the track have summed up his entire career. The Iceman had worked hard in 3 different teams Sauber, Mclaren-Mercedes and now Ferrari. Loved by all, the Iceman celebrated his win at one of the oldest circuits on the calendar.
The Finn had proven that he was the best driver on the track and after so many years of motor racing, could we see pure unbridled joy on the face of the man, who showed no emotion. The smile said it all- HE had WON finally.
This season will be remembered for many reasons, but the one that shines out will be The Iceman’s maiden F1 crown
Kudos to the Flying Finn