On This Day in #F1: 18th March

Brought to you by TheJudge13 chronicler Carlo Carluccio

– 2007: Kimi Raikkonen wins on Ferrari debut

images I was never a fan of Kimi Raikkonen the first time round. Maybe this was residue from the Mika Hakkinen love-in within the Formula One fraternity or possibly I couldn’t see why Schumacher had feared Raikkonen so much that he retired at the end of 2006.

After a glorious period of success, the thought of Kimi replacing Felipe Massa and racing Michael Schumacher on equal terms was mouth-watering. It would finally put to rest the consensus that Raikkonen was “that” special and it would cement Schumacher’s legacy forever because he finally accepted a joint number 1.

The bitter taste as he announced his retirement at Monza was only superseded by this seven time champion clumsily telling the world he retired because of Massa’s future!

To this day I really don’t get the knicker-wetting from Kimi Raikkonen fans when he utters grunts in reply to questions. As to his “legendary” Iceman tag – as team radio has proven – he gets as riled as the next man “Just leave me alone. I know what I’m doing!” He seems obtuse at best and appears downright ignorant at times.

People often jump to his defence by saying Finns are generally very reserved in their words and manner; and yet I remember Rosberg as having character, charisma and on occasions would be very out-spoken.

I guess there’s a selfishness – as a supporter – that you want the success to continue for your team. You invest time, emotion and finances to see them race so therefore you desire payback. Watching these young athletes living a life you can only dream about they are fundamentally in place for you by proxy.

On this day – the first race of the post-Schumacher era was held. Raikkonen made the perfect start from pole position and controlled the race thereafter. He won by the margin of seven seconds but this didn’t tell the full story. He hardly pushed and yet his fastest lap proved a second faster than Alonso’s best lap.

Behind them was a spectacular debut by the most impressive rookie in a generation – Lewis Hamilton. At the start Hamilton had seen Alonso boxed in by Raikkonen – and a fast-starting Heidfeld – and swept across to take the outside line into the first corner which secured him third position ahead of Alonso.

In an era of Bridgestone tyres, no DRS or any other gimmicks; this remained the order until Heidfeld stopped on lap 15. Raikkonen stopped four laps later and Hamilton led a Grand Prix for the first time in his career. After Alonso stopped Hamilton came in on the following lap and resumed in second position chasing Raikkonen in vain.

After the Ferrari’s final pit-stop – Mclaren were running 1-2 and it was Hamilton’s that stopped earliest this time. Alonso followed a lap later and returned to the track in second position ahead of his rookie team-mate.

Raikkonen became the first driver to win on his Ferrari debut since Mansell in 1989 – something that Alonso would repeat in 2010 – and this time round?
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Sadly a repeat of the 2007 victory was not on the cards and yet I can’t wait for Kimi to get to work this time. Brave man..

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14 responses to “On This Day in #F1: 18th March

  1. Good write-up, but I must admit I think dismissing Schumacher’s explanation that he left because he didn’t want to push out Massa as an excuse because he feared Kimi more than slightly respectless.
    Massa is AFAIK the only current driver, who’s been at Schumachers bedside and Massa mentions him practically every week. It is very obvious that those two were very close friends. I think Schumachers explanation to be more believable than any talk about him fearing Kimi.

    • great, and I should add, every time Schumi came to Massa festive karting events, he was treated by Felipe’s family as a son, or a much loved relative, and he treated Felipe as a young brother, anybody could note that they had a real brotherly tie, really a beautiful thing in this tough F 1 atmosphere

      • The most telling thing I read about MIchael was his relationship with the lady who runs the Cavallino (?) restaurant in Maranello. Rosella I think her name is, he didn’t eat in the main restaurant but down with her and her family. He called her Mamma. That always spoke volumes about the man.

        • there’s also that story when Schumi went to the ’95 BR GP, and as soon as he got out of the plane he asked the chauffeur if he could visit Senna’s grave, where reportdly he gave flowers and he was crying when he got back

          Schumi was like no other
          Great human, shame that life plays those things

    • Good points fats about his visiting MSC in hospital. It was always reported that the Michael that his friends knew was very different to the media’s portrayal.

    • Great stories on Michael… watched one of the Massa kart races the other day, Schumi won and Massa was a few places behind. Nice to reminisce. Here’s hoping he pulls through.

  2. “…couldn’t see why Schumacher had feared Raikkonen so much that he retired at the end of 2006.”

    Carlo, you don’t really believe that do you?

  3. I was involved for about thirty years with the media and daily witnessed the endless inane questions asked by frequently inept reporters, journalists and interviewers, and it always pleased me when someone simply refused to do their job for them.
    In one specific example you give, a reporter said: “Great race Kimi. Good start to the season. Well done.” to which Kimi instantly and politely said: “Thank you.”
    There was no question for him to answer – the reporter expected Kimi to do his job for him. A monkey (even a very slim hippo) could hold a microphone, spout platitudes, and call themselves a reporter – and get accreditation.
    It is against this lazy, unprofessional attitude that The Judge has been fighting – I think… ( Sorry Judge, if I got that wrong. )
    Rant over – withdraws horns. Sorry, I just returned from lying on my back in hospital. Rush of something to the head when I sat up. Shame it wasn’t gin.

    • Welcome back BJF, obviously that Top 20 series took it out of you my friend. Hope everything is fine.
      I appreciate what you say about lazy questioning and journalism and for that I can respect Kimi and others like him, but personally I like Kimi more this time round than I ever did in his 1st stint.

    • haha. Just kidding.

      I wonder though if one day he’ll admit he was just trolling the media and fans for this entire time? lol…

      Iceman.

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