Semana Kimi Räikkönen 2017: "21 de outubro de 2007 - Minhas lembranças"
Continuando os posts de torcedores convidados do Iceman para esta SKR 2017, desta vez trago a minha amiga de Montevidéu, Soledad Barbero.
Uma das muitas amizades que fiz desde que passei a acompanhar Kimi Räikkönen.
"October 21st 2007: my memories" by Soledad Barbero
Ten years...wow, I cannot believe it has been that long! Ten years since our dear Iceman won his one, and only, F1 championship. Let me start at the beginning...
My love affair with F1 began in 2005, I was then attending University and had become close friends with a girl named Gabriela. Her boyfriend was an F1 enthusiast and after meeting him a few times and talking about motor racing, I got hooked. I remember Sunday mornings watching a race while studying with my friend for an exam or test. Back then my “crush” was the one and only, Michael Schumacher, who else? I studied everything I could about him, Ferrari and F1 in general, I became obsessed! I remember I had a professor who would bring me a magazine that he got with the newspaper, said magazine was dedicated entirely to F1, my teacher was cool! Even though I was obsessed with Schumacher and Ferrari, someone else also caught my attention, a blonde, icy blue-eyed guy from Finland, the Iceman they called him...it was Kimi. He drove for McLaren back then, back then when the cars actually produced a sound that would send a tingling sensation down your spine, back then when only Ferrari and McLaren battled for championships, back then when either Schumacher won all the races or someone from the rest of the field would get lucky and have a shot at winning one. I had missed seeing Schumacher win his last title by a year, 2005 was disastrous, I could not understand why, why, if Ferrari had been winning nonstop for 4-5 years, where they having such a horrendous season. I watched my main guy struggle, it sucked. Back then, Alonso was an emerging force, and because he was beating Michael in every race, I despised him with passion! It´s the same Fernando Alonso for whom I feel pity this season and I sincerely hope with the engine manufacturer swap next year at McLaren allows him to fight for podiums...I would have never imagined myself talking about him like this back then!
So, in 2006, after a slow start to the season, Ferrari begins to gain momentum again, and 8th championship didn´t seem impossible for Michael anymore; he was leading in Suzuka, and if he won, there was a real shot at the championship...that is until his engine exploded and everyone in the world who rooted for him, myself included, wept silently. I was crushed, devastated, I remember him hugging one of his mechanics in the garage and mouthing to him “it´s all over”, it was heartbreaking. I don´t recall if he had already announced his retirement, I think he had back in Monza, so we knew it was his last shot.
(Bear with me if this seems long and not Kimi related, it leads to something! LOL) So, the season ends, Alonso is champion again, and Schumacher retires, who will fill his seat? Enter Kimi! I think everyone was excited, Kimi and non Kimi fans. He was a superb driver, who had had success with McLaren and had produced some pretty spectacular wins, couple that with F1´s greatest team ever, and you had the recipe for success!
I don´t recall when exactly I stumbled upon the KRS (Kimi Raikkonen Space) forum, whether it was in the winter (summer where I´m from) prior to the beginning of the 2007 season, or after the season had already begun, but anyway, I must have typed “Kimi Raikkonen” in the Google search bar, and there it was. A forum and blog dedicated to Kimi, run by a beautiful, young, British girl who called herself Evenstar. I timidly started browsing the forum, afraid to write a first post, just snooping around. There were members from all over the world, Americans, Brazilians, French, Hungarian, Norwegian, Dutch, Australian, Indian, Chinese, anyway, from aaaaaall over the world. It was in this forum that I found a group of people who were as enthusiastic (or should I say, obsessed) as I was about F1, who would wake up at 3am on a Sunday morning to watch a race! We were so close and I´d like to think that we really became a group of friends, even though we were all halfway across the world from each other. We talked all the time, I became frantic when I didn´t log onto the forum to see what my friends were talking about, or to discuss some news about Kimi, an upcoming race or the qualy session. The beautiful thing is that we all remain in contact through Facebook, after the activity in the forum dwindled a bit.
So, back to the start of the season, first stop was Australia, Ferrari looked strong from the get go, Kimi qualified on pole and the race itself was easy for him, if I remember correctly, I think he even fell asleep at one point, he lost focus for a split second and almost lost the car!!! He won, and it couldn´t have been a better start for him in a new team. If I´m being honest, I don´t remember how every single race went that year, I do remember Alonso and Hamilton´s rivalry, which was both annoying and enjoyable to watch, I remember Kimi winning in his favourite circuit, Spa Francorchamps and then I do remember what happened in Brazil.
Back then the final race of the season was held in Sao Paulo, Brazil, a circuit that is super exciting, with lots of possibilities for overtaking and fun, it is a circuit renowned for its tradition, and for the atmosphere the fans create. Kimi had to win the race and Hamilton had to finish lower than fifth (they were starting 3rd and 2nd, respectively) so the stakes were pretty high. The start of the race, I remember it clearly, was jam packed, Hamilton had some kind of problem with the car or he simply got nervous, but he fell back a few places and Kimi overtook him easily. Kimi was able to pass Massa, the leader for most of the race, despite the fact that Massa pitted before him, but Kimi set a few fastest laps before he pitted so in the end he came out on top. On lap 71, Kimi crossed the chequered flag first, followed by Massa and Alonso in 3rd place…I bet every single Kimi fan in the world was holding their breaths, waiting to see in which position Hamilton would cross the finish line…one by one, the rest of the field started crossing it, until finally he did, in 7th place, this meant that Kimi would win the Driver´s Championship! After crossing the finish line, we heard Chris Dyer, Kimi´s race engineer, tell him over the radio, and this I remember vividly, “it´s all over, it´s all over, Hamilton´s 7th, by my calculations we win the championship by one point”, and Kimi replying “fu**ing hell!”, as if he wasn´t expecting it, as if he hadn´t realized it was possible for him to win. I was ecstatic, beyond myself, I had waited to witness Schumacher become world champion one last time, and couldn´t, and now, I was witnessing Kimi being crowned world champion, such a joy! The KRS forum was in full celebration, I also remember hanging a Ferrari flag form my balcony; I wanted everyone to know he had won and that Ferrari had won.
And that was pretty much it, what happened on that day…2008 was a shitty season, and after he moved to rally I honestly stopped caring about F1, the good thing, and I thank Kimi for that, is that I still remain in contact with the friends I made in the KRS forum, that´s something I cherish, he brought us all together.
First things first, thanks a lot for being part of this special week Sol, it's really great to have you here.
Secondly, oh my, every single time I read this sentence by Chris Dyer I have goosebumps! It's amazing to be here today, read your article and have so many good memories.
And when you mentioned the KRS Forum, oh, I remember that so clearly!!! It was the beginning of a lot of friendships, including ours. It's been 10 years!!!
Once more, thank you dear!!! I loved your article!!! Gracias mi amiga!!!