Kimi Räikkönen & Sebastian Vettel

Kimi Räikkönen & Sebastian Vettel

maanantai 29. elokuuta 2016

A letter to Max Verstappen

Dear Max,

What a staggering talent you are! Since your first season at Toro Rosso, you´ve made a huge impression on me. Many people thought, that you were too young for Formula 1, but I had a hunch, that there was something unique and extraordinary about you. And I have to say, that you haven´t let me down in terms of your talent and skills!

I was overwhelmed with happiness, when I read about your promotion from Toro Rosso to Red Bull. Although I felt kind of sad for Kvyat, I thought you really deserved this chance. This was your chance to shine -which you did dazzlingly from the very first race with your new team. Who could have thought that you were going to win the Spanish GP at the wheel of the RB12? Before your move to Red Bull, I had admired you kind of secretly, but after the first victory I couldn´t help telling officially about my admiration for you. I was a bit afraid, that you may have got too much too soon -but then came Monaco GP and all the crashes to the wall. I was sure the Monaco GP was a healthy lesson about how fleeting success can be  -and that it can never be taken for granted.

You really stand out of the crowd. You have exceptional talent and true passion for racing. Your driving style is risky but passionate and courageous. You race from all your heart, which I truly admire. You divide opinions, which is a sign of being exceptional. There has been a lot of talk about your defensive moves in recent races; some of them have been in "the grey area" in terms of the rules. As long as you haven´t been taken into investigation by the stewards for your moves, I have thought you are only putting up an entertaining show for the fans. Even though you ended up in a collision with my two other favourite drivers yesterday, I was ready to defend you publicly in my blog. I felt so bad, as I saw Twitter being full of angry and hatred-filled tweets about your driving...

Today I don´t know what to think. I logged in on Facebook after work and I saw many news about your post-race comments. According to you have stated, that both Kimi and Sebastian should be ashamed to have caused such a collision, being as experienced as they are, and then complaining about your actions. I also read you having stated, that had there been no collision in Turn 1, you wouldn´t have been so aggressive later or or forced Kimi off track. I know media often rips sentences out of the context, but have you really stated this way? If you have, I am utterly shocked!

You´re still very young; yet you have achieved many things, which many can only dream about. Exceptional talent and success bring great responsibility as well. Formula 1 world is ruthless, and it´s easy to let all the success go into your head. From the bottom of my heart I hope you won´t ever let that happen! I hope you always manage to keep your feet firmly on the ground and not let the shining success change you into something you´re not. You´re amazing on track, but it doesn´t justify arrogant comments or revenge on track. I work at a kindergarten, and even pre-school children are taught not to hit back if someone hits you first! Even with huge talent, you have to earn your respect on track. Arrogant comments destroy that respect... There's only a very fine line between courage and stupidity.

You may be in a turning point in terms of your F1 career. There´re lessons to be learned. The ball is in your hands; I hope you´ll make the right choices. You´ve millions of fans, who look up to you as a role model. I am one of them. You have all the talent and the skills to become a world champion one day -so act like one!

Yours sincerely,
Iina Huhmarniemi
your Finnish fan

P.S. I would be forever grateful, if you had time to read my letter and write a reply to your fans. Thank you so much. Wishing you all the best!

sunnuntai 28. elokuuta 2016

Belgian GP: Turn 1 from a horror film!

What a start the Belgian GP had! Kimi got an excellent start from P3, and the Finn was determinedly challenging the Red Bull teenager Verstappen into Turn 1. Max was in the inside and Kimi in the outside, when suddenly Kimi´s teammate Sebastian turned in and hit his teammate! Kimi had nowhere to go and he couldn´t avoid hitting Verstappen as well. Oh gosh, it was like a horror film scene -all my three favourites hitting each other! Kimi´s front wing was seriously damaged and he had to limp into the pits. In the pits there were flames coming from the floor of Kimi´s SF16-H and the team had difficulties to get the new front wing changed. Íceman´s race was practically ruined! What was Sebastian thinking when turning into Turn 1?

On the opening lap Toro Rosso´s Sainz´s rear tyre exploded and his car suffered severe damage. Virtual safety car was deployed, as there was a lot of debris on the track. Rosberg was leading the race and teammate Hamilton had already jumped 12th after starting from the back row. Kimi on the other hand was down in P19. The race didn´t look too good for the Iceman... The other Finn Bottas, who had also started to the race on the super soft Pirellis, was now in P4.

After the virtual safety car the race was on only for a couple of laps, until there was another incident. Renault´s Magnussen hit the kerb on the top of Eau Rouge and lost control of his car, which lead into a massive shunt into the barriers. Magnussen´s car turned into a total wreck, so it was a small miracle that the Dane didn´t get badly hurt. He got a wound on his ankle but got out of the car on his own. Safety car was deployed, which started the pit stop roulette. Kimi came in for a fresh set of soft tyres. Williams, on the other hand, decided to call Bottas in not until a lap later, which turned out to be a wrong call, as the Finn lost many positions and dropped down to P12.

Some four laps later the race was red-flagged, as there was so massive damage in the tyre barrier after Magnussen´s crash. All cars pitted and waited for the restart. Verstappen stepped out of his RB12 and rushed to the pit wall to explain, what had happened in the first-lap incident between him and the Ferrari duo. This time Verstappen wasn´t to be blamed for the collision, which was Team Principal Horner´s opinion as well.

After a ten minutes´ wait the race was restarted behind the safety car. Rosberg was leading the race with Red Bull´s Ricciardo second. Force India´s Hulkenberg was third, McLaren´s Alonso surprisingly 4th and Hamilton already fifth! Kimi started the chase and jumped two positions immediately. This brought the Finn behind Red Bull´s Verstappen; it´s funny how these two have tended to find each other on the track this season! Once again there was an electrical and heated battle between these two; Kimi managed to get past the flying Dutchman after their tyres had slightly touched. Both, however, ended up going off track and Kimi was asking on the team radio, whether he had to give Verstappen the place back, which he finally did. Once again Max was in "the grey area" when defending his position against the determined Iceman. A few laps later Max pitted, which made Kimi´s race a little easier.

By lap 18 Hamilton had made it past Hulkenberg and the Briton was already in P3, which was quite amazing in terms of his starting position. In the halfway point of the race Hamilton pitted for a fresh set of soft Pirellis but had a small delay during his pit stop -the Briton re-joined the track in P9. Towards the end of the race Sebastian started snatching positions one by one. First the German passed Massa in his Williams and then Alonso in his McLaren. Teammate Kimi also made his way past Massa but couldn´t quite challenge his compatriot Bottas for P8.

Rosberg had no difficulties whatsoever and cruised to victory on a 2-stop strategy. Red Bull´s Ricciardo was the runner-up (2stops as well) with Hamilton completing the podium on a 3-stop strategy. Force India made an impressive job at Spa, as Hulkenberg finished 4th and Perez 5th. Sebastian had to settle for P6. Alonso, who had also started to the race from the very back of the grid, finished 7th, which was quite impressive. Bottas finished 8th, Kimi 9th (4 stops!) and Massa completed the top ten. I would be lying, if I said I wasn´t disappointed at Kimi´s result. The Iceman had had such a stunning start, but collision caused by his teammate had ruined his race! That was the case in terms of home hero Verstappen as well, who ended up finishing 11th. His pace was gone after the first-turn incident!

Sebastian seems to be struggling with his pace, right as I wrote yesterday. He definitely doesn´t seem to be happy with the car and the way things are going at the moment... Sebastian´s ex trainer Tommi Pärmäkoski was visiting the Finnish MTV Formula 1 studio today, and spectators were asked to post questions for him on Twitter. I posted a question as well, and I was so so happy that my question was picked among those, that Tommi answered in the post-race broadcast. My question was about Sebastian´s weaknesses both as a racing driver and as a person, if there were any. I wrote my question before the start of the race -what a relevant question it turned out after the race start! Tommi replied in a way, which I kind of expected; Sebastian feels very comfortable when he´s happy with his car and when everything is going according to plan. He´s an absolute perfectionist, and things can get difficult, when he gets beaten by his teammate for example... If I´m asked, who was at fault in the first-corner incident today, I say it was Sebastian, as he left absolutely no room for his teammate. But I want Sebastian to know, that I support him always, no matter what happens on track! Everyone makes mistakes. Nevertheless, I´m a fan of Sebastian from all my heart!

After the race Twitter was full of angry and hatred-filled tweets about Verstappen and his driving. I have very opposite feelings about this young man! He may make some questionable moves when defending his position, but today for instance, he wasn´t even taken into investigation by the stewards for his actions. For me it means he hasn´t done anything against the rules. Max definitely stands out of the crowd. His driving style is risky but passionate and bold. This Dutch teenager divides opinions, but so have all great Formula 1 drivers done, just to mention Michael Schumacher and Ayrton Senna. So I´m not ashamed to say that I´m a huge fan of Max Verstappen!

What an F1 weekend this has been! I´m still writing this blog post in an adrenaline rush, overwhelmed with so many emotions... Which is what makes Formula 1 racing so amazing! And round 14 will be already next week at Monza, can´t wait!

P.S. Hamilton is still leading the championship standings, but now Nico is only 9 points down on his teammate...

P.P.S. My thoughts can be read also here:

lauantai 27. elokuuta 2016

Belgian GP / Qualifying: Verstappen became the youngest front row qualifier!

I was so so happy that the summer break was finally over! Four weeks felt like an eternity... Although I got to read news about Kimi getting married! It was quite a funny coincidence that Kimi and Minttu happened to get married on August 7th -which was also my wedding day! For me, however, it was the 17th wedding anniversary, as I got married already in 1999. I wish all the best for Kimi and Minttu, I hope they have a happy life together!

Back to racing then. Against all odds it wasn´t raining at Spa, but it was all sunny and the temperature was over 30 degrees Celsius! So it was a hot qualifying session -both in terms of the weather and the pecking order! In Q1 everyone came out on super softs, except Rosberg, who opted for the yellow-marked soft rubber. Teammate Hamilton made only one run to set a time within the 107 percent rule; due to the change of various power unit elements the Briton was to face a 55-place grid drop, so there was no sense to fight for pole. The team had made the decision to change all the parts at Spa, where the starting position mattered the least of all tracks. It´s actually a loophole in the regulations, but Mercedes were only wise to utilize this opportunity. After the first runs the Ferrari duo Sebastian and Kimi were topping the timesheets with Rosberg third. At the end of the session Williams´ Massa surprised everyone by jumping ahead of Sebastian and Kimi to top the opening Q1 session. Another surprise was Manor´s Wehrlein, who made it as high as P9. Out of Q2 were Manor teammate Ocon (who had replaced Haryanto), both Saubers and the unlucky Russian Kvyat, who -according to the latest rumours- is about to get fired from Toro Rosso due to his poor performance. Out were also Hamilton -who didn´t even try to make it through to Q2- and Alonso, whose McLaren stopped on the approach to Eau Rouge on its out lap.

The tyre choices were interesting in Q2. Rosberg, the Ferraris and Red Bull´s Ricciardo came out on the softs, whilst all their rivals opted for the red-marked super soft compound. In spite of the tyre choice, Rosberg had no difficulties to make it on the top! Red Bull´s home hero Verstappen -on the super softs- made an impressive first run making it second, only a tenth of a second down on Rosberg. The Force India duo Hulkenberg and Perez were 3rd and 4th on super softs as well. Kimi and Sebastian were 5th and 6th on the yellow-marked soft compound. Both Ferrari aces had a go on super softs late on, but chose to abort those laps, hence they too can start on the soft rubber, along with Ricciardo. The fallers in Q2 were the Haas duo Grosjean and Gutierrez, Renault duo Magnussen and Palmer and Manor´s Wehrlein.

In spite of Hamilton missing from the final shootout, there was an intense battle for pole between three teams. Kimi made a mistake at Stavelot on his first run, which he aborted. Rosberg -expectedly- took provisional pole but Red Bull´s Verstappen was only a tenth of a second down on the German. After his first run Sebastian was in P3. Williams´ Massa and McLaren´s Button opted for one run only. Both Williams were affected by engine software issues, which meant they were unable to run in qualifying mode. Neither Rosberg nor Verstappen was able to improve his lap time on the second run so pole was Rosberg´s. Kimi was flying on his second run, and the Finn pushed Ricciardo out of the third place. Kimi was only 17 thousandths of a second down on Verstappen and less than two tenths off pole! Pole could have been there for Kimi to take! Sebastian was complaining that the rear end had lost all grip by the end of the lap, and the German had to settle for P4 today. Ricciardo got beaten by his young teammate quite impressively; the Australian could only make it 5th today. Perez was 6th, Hulkenberg was 7th, Bottas 8th, Button 9th and Massa completed the top ten.

Verstappen got stunning support from Dutch fans, and the Dutchman was the youngest man to ever feature on an F1 front row! Wow, he is called "the flying Dutchman" for a reason! :) Tomorrow´s race will be a thriller! Rosberg on pole and Kimi in P3 will start to the race on the more durable soft tyres, whilst Verstappen in P2 will start on the super softs and will most likely have a shorter first stint. I have a hunch that both Max and Kimi will pass Nico already at the start ;) I´m sure there will be another electrical and hair-raising battle between Max and Kimi, who have tended to find each other on track this season! Spa is like Kimi´s home track, the Iceman always shines like a diamond there! Kimi has every chance to make it on the top step of the podium! I hope the hot weather will be an advantage for Ferrari. Somehow I feel that Sebastian has been struggling with his pace lately... The Finnish F1 commentators -including Sebastian´s ex trainer Tommi Pärmäkoski- were joking in the F1 studio today, that Kimi´s current top form is down to him getting married ;) Talking about Sebastian´s difficulties Tommi suggested that maybe Sebastian also should get married to improve his performance! :D

And you can never write off Lewis Hamilton, no matter if he started from the moon! Spa is known for good overtaking possibilities, so the Briton will most likely fight for a podium finish. What I´d like to see is a race dominated by the red team -with a little touch of orange!