“Thoda aur…Thoda aur” – this is the famous dialog by veteran Bollywood actor Asrani, towards the culminating sequence of the epic Bollywood sports blockbuster "Jo Jeeta Wohi Sikander", directed by one of India’s most talented and versatile Director, Mansoor Khan.
Yesterday’s Formula One finale at Yas Marina Circuit in Abu Dhabi was a perfect replay of Aamir Khan and Deepak Tijori’s cycle race from JJWS, but this time it was Max Verstappen vs Lewis Hamilton the protagonists at the zenith of Formula One.
My tryst with Formala One sports is very accidental. I had no knowledge of this sport and all I knew was a name called Schumacher. In those days there were only two sports that I followed - Cricket and Roger Federer.
But for the sake of my nephew Hamza’s interest in F1 sports, I took him to Sepang International Circuit in Kuala Lumpur. At first I thought what is all this car racing and hype around this sport. I did not even knew any names apart from Ferrari and Schumacher. So we bought a 3-day pass, which allowed us to watch the Friday practice , Saturday qualifiers and the overwhelming Sunday Grand Prix.
I had initially thought of dropping off my nephew in the grandstand and pick him up once the race was over. But I had spent a good amount to a secure seat in the prime position, so I told myself, let’s have patience and enjoy this sport.
As the race began and I saw cars zooming past, I realized this is different. It is not only speed but a very tactical game where Pit Stops are in seconds and striking distance between two cars is Nano seconds. Since I only knew Ferrari, I was looking for the red car driven by none else then Schumacher, one of the legends after Ayrton Senna. But it was Fernando Alonso who dethroned Michael Schumacher to become the F1 World Champion.
This is where F1 unknowingly became a part of my life. After coming back to Bombay, I started exploring this sport, watched old races and made a point to watch the race live every year, no matter what I have to do to reach the circuit.
Yesterday, Max Verstappen became the newest champion in a nail biting finish at Yas Marina. I have seen enough races, but yesterday’s was an Epic. Lewis was on his way to becoming immortal and breaking Schumacher’s record of Seven Championship titles but in last lap Max overshot the mighty Briton to claim his first ever Championship. A new champion on the F1 Horizon was born!
The enigma of watching F1 is something different , yes it is one of the most glamours and expensive sports in the world. I always thought what is so great to drive a car with speed, but I was wrong. Like every sportsman the F1 driver has the same tough regime to keep himself fit, has to be very sharp with decision making. 1/10 of a second may either make you rise on the podium or send you crashing down into the Pit.
F1 is a great team work. Although the drivers are always the celebrity but the crew specially the race engineer and PIT team play an important role. It is not only the driver but the Pit strategy, which makes the team win the race. I remember Mercedes Pit crew replacing the Tyre and refueling Hamilton’s car in 1.8 seconds!!
Yesterday was also the swansong of one of the greatest F1 drivers hanging his boots. Finnish “Iceman” Kimi Raikonen, the media shy champion who won Ferrari its last championship will be profoundly missed. For those who follow him, would always remember “Leave me alone, I know what I am doing.“
I wish someday F1 again comes back to India. There is huge fan base for this sport in India and every race weekend the Sports Cafes and Pubs in the metros are over booked with fans. It is high time India is again on the F1 map. I hope that in the near future F1 will be the favorite adrenaline sport in India.
Yesterday’s race motivated me to write this small tribute to the likes of Aryton Senna, Niki Lauda, Nigel Manshel, Alan Prost, Alsono, Massa, Kimi, Lewis and last but not the least, the rain man Michael Schumacher.
F1 gives one more reason to be happier and loving the life I live.
- Mubarak Hussain, apart from being a F1 enthusiast, is also expressly into Trekking and Cycling.