Monday, October 13, 2008

F1 will have a new champion this year.

Perhaps it's the year of historic milestones for black people. Obama could be the first black US President and Lewis Hamilton could be the first F1 champion. Then again, I'm rooting for Massa. Too bad, Kimi, I cheered for you!

Kimi Raikkonen’s battle with Robert Kubica was fought over more than just second place. Raikkonen was fighting to keep his championship hopes alive - and he lost.

Raikkonen is 21 points behind Lewis Hamilton with 20 left to be won this year. Thus his chances of retaining the crown he won in 2007 are over.

That means whichever of the remaining contenders wins the title this year - Hamilton, Felipe Massa or Robert Kubica - it will be a first time champion, and the 29th different title winner in the sport’s 59-year history.

I've always been a big Raikkonen fan dating back to the days when he was just beginning his career with McLaren and I was just starting to be fascinated by F1. Back then, he was just a newcomer who showed promise. Some people were quick to write him off, saying he was not as serious about F1 as the rest because of his unconventional and nonchalant attitude towards the sport. As he began to prove his mettle and earn his place at the podium in some races, he just couldn't win the championship for a lot of reasons. Sometimes, it was his own doing and most of the time, it was the car. He was always ALMOST there but never there. Frustration set in for the fans but I'm always rooting for the underdog. I'm probably one of the very few followers of Formula 1 who isn't a big Schumacher fan.

McLaren took really good care of him but he had to leave them. Nobody will ever be able to resist the opportunity to drive for Ferrari. Now we have a really good driver in a really fast car. In 2007, he finally got the championship albeit not so easily. But when the universe conspires, things fall into place and it just happens. This year, he tried again but guess it just wasn't his time again. It was back to the usual... just always ALMOST there. He made mistakes, his car wasn't in good shape, his teammate, Felipe Massa, just kept getting better, and the other cars and drivers were simply faster.

I remember when it was Michael Schumacher driving for Ferrari with Rubens Barrichello as support. Schumi didn't win every race and there were times when Barrichello was just better than him. There was this race (it escapes me which one) when they were #1 and 2 with Barrichello leading. At that time, Schumacher needed some points to secure the the driver's championship with just about 2-3 races to go (i think). If he won this particular race, he's a shoo-in for the championship. Barrichello was the man of that race, leading from the start. However, knowing that Schumi needed some points for the championship, they asked Barrichello to slow down as he approached the checkered flag to let Schumi pass him. How sad. Niluto. Barrichello had a career, too, you know. But he let him pass, for the sake of teammanship. They should've let Schumi work harder for that one.

Well, there was no such incident this year. Massa held his own against Raikkonen and they never figured in such a fixed strategy. I guess, all I'm saying is it was a fair fight. Kimi may have lost it at this point but I'm still a fan. And oh, I'm rooting for Felipe Massa and Lewis Hamilton. Fernando Alonso will never get my vote.