Eight miles. That’s all Felipe’s engine had to last. Eight stinking miles. His engines, and indeed those of the entire Ferrari team all year, had lasted the distance. Most other manufacturers’ engines last the distance too. He has stated that that is just racing, and that he felt nothing wrong before the cacophony of pistons and engine oil exploded out the rear of his red racer. I don’t know for sure – because I was about a million miles away watching it on TV and not driving the car – but this is about as unbelievable as someone in F1 spinning their car six or seven times during a race (oh…wait). No, this wasn’t Felipe’s fault, like it was the last two races, but if there is a more disappointing way to end a race; I sure haven’t seen it yet.
I admit that I am a big Tifosi. I started watching F1 in the late 90’s and fell in love with the big V-10 engines and ungodly speed and cornering the cars exhibit. I am also a Schumacher fan and figured that he taught a thing or two to Mr. Massa, but I don’t know that either. What I do know is that no matter how upbeat Felipe looks or sounds, that he is surely feeling the lowest of the low. He made an unbelievably great start to get by Kovalainen and up onto Hamilton’s gearbox. Then, into the first corner the two went with Massa locking up spectacularly on the outside and powering through the first corner to beat Lewis to the second. He was though and on his way to a decisive, and World Championship points leading, win. But then, with only three laps (or those damn eight miles) left, his engine let go on the front straight.
“It happened completely without warning, without giving the slightest indication. I was managing the race, because I had a good advantage over second place after Hamilton was delayed with a problem and I was taking no risks whatsoever. I am very frustrated at the moment, because today we had a great car and we had done everything perfectly until just a few kilometres from the finish. Unfortunately, racing can be a cruel sport. We had given it our all, but these things can happen. Now we must not give up, but instead we must react quickly.” – Felipe Massa
That quote from Massa speaks volumes about his determination to continue and try and win the World Championship. With only seven races left, two being complete unknowns, and Hamilton now up by eight points (boy eight miles and now eight points?? some conspiracy maybe) and Raikkonen up by three, Massa is not looking good for the Championship. He may also go on to say that there are still 70 points left to be had, but if he and the team don’t step up, we could see last year in reverse.
Last year of course, Raikkonen came back to claim the World Championship in the last race of the season after coming on strong half way through. The same could have been said about Massa after this race, but for now, it is still Lewis’s to lose. These last three races have been heartbreakers for me. Massa has so much speed in hand sometimes (like in Hungary) that it is difficult to count him out of the championship, but he also seems to have inherited Kimi’s McLaren days luck as of late. I don’t know how this will end this year – though I would love to see the Brazilian win – but it should be a spectacular finish to what has already been a pretty good year.