Sunday, November 2, 2008

A Gentleman Through and Through

Today Felipe Massa did not become World Champion, missing out by one point to Lewis Hamilton in perhaps the most dramatic Grand Prix finish ever. Although Massa took the win at the Brazilian Grand Prix, Lewis Hamilton managed to pass Timo Glock in the final corners of the last lap to finish fifth and take the Driver's Crown.

In truth, I'd been dreading today since the Chinese Grand Prix. The outlook looked decidedly bleak. I knew deep down this might be this too long a shot.

But in the end, after the initial tears, I'm impressed with how calm I was. I realize this serenity may appear like resignation to "defeat"; as if I wasn't completely invested to supporting my squad this morning. But this isn't true. Obviously I wanted nothing more than for Felipe Massa to take the title. And for a brief moment, the chance was there. However, I can't be up in arms that we didn't take both titles, because realistically there is nothing more I could have asked for or expected from Felipe Massa and Ferrari. We ran the race we needed to run and had anything happened to Hamilton and McLaren, we would have been in the position to win. In the end, though, it was all down to Hamilton, whose finish dictated the final result.

I'm not shocked by the outcry against Timo Glock's (particularly untimely) slip in position during the final corners of the last lap, but I'm disappointed. I'd admonish tifosi to avoid unflattering anti-Glock sentiments. Let's be frank: it's unrealistic to expect a driver to exercise superhuman car control on dry tires in a downpour. And it's unfair to place the blame for Felipe Massa's heartbreaking loss squarely on the shoulders of Timo Glock. Glock's responsibility was and will always be to look after himself and his own race, and I personally find it unreasonable to lambast him for doing this.

Despite the fact that we didn't win the Driver's title, I'm proud of my team. Felipe was nothing but gracious in defeat (see his speeches below for details). Emotional, yes. It was painful to watch him this morning, in tears in the car, choking up on the radio to the team at the end. I couldn't believe he got through the podium. Whenever Kimi Raikkonen gives anyone a hug, you know the situation is serious (voila, a Kimi Raikkonen "hug," below).

(...and now for a real hug! I have to admit, this picture was a day-brightener. Everyone was so somber during the press conference. Alonso looked like he was going to be sick. Additionally, I have never seen Kimi Raikkonen look happier than Felipe Massa. It was kind of a shocker.)

To all those of you who don't think Massa would have been a worthy champion. Look at these pictures. This is a man who put everything into trying to win that title. And if you think differently, well, I have no words for you.

"I think you know the race was just perfect. We did everything fantastically with such a difficult weather. I am so proud about that race I am so proud about the team. I am so proud about the people around who support me more than ever, more than 100 percent, much more than I expected. That is really an emotional day for me. You always do everything perfect even with the temperature but we saw Lewis passing Glock again and that is really mixed a lot of emotions, but that is racing. The race finishes at the chequered flag. We finished in front and we have to be very proud of that, we missed one point but that is racing. We need to be proud about our job, we need to be proud about our race and our championship. I know how to win and I know how to lose. It is another day of my life. I will learn a lot from this day but I am very emotional. Everything perfect today and unfortunately it was not enough, and I think we did a great championship we had some ups and downs and we paid for that. There are races like that, sometimes you have a perfect year with so many victories and a very reliable car, sometimes you have ups and downs, that is racing. One year to the another many things change and that was our championship, but even if we have some ups and downs, I think everybody did a great job, everybody worked really hard to achieve our goals with the heart and sometimes thing don't happen in the way we want, but that is racing, that is the sport, but we need to be happy with our constructors' championship, it is very important. I am sure our president, everyone in the team is very proud, very happy like me - and we need to congratulate Lewis as he did a great championship, he scored more points than us so he deserves to be champion. I know how to lose, I know how to win and it is another day of my life where I will learn a lot. Hopefully we come back here with the title (next year), but it is part of our experience and part of our life."

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