Hindsight is such a strange thing. One moment, it makes your chest swell with pride for having made the decision that you had made. Another moment, it makes you realize what a bummer it had been. Take Kimi for instance. Just a week ago, he had absolutely no regrets for not stopping for a tyre change at the Nurburgring. After all, he is a full-blooded racer and he wouldn’t settle for anything other than first place.
Cut to last Sunday, the Canadian Grand Prix. With lady luck on his side this time, Kimi takes the win despite an average drive, while the chasing Fernando (the championship leader) ends up in the wall. Fernando-0, Kimi-10. Championship standings: Fernando-59, Kimi-37. Swell. Not really!
Hindsight kicks in and suddenly the heroics of Nurburgring seem foolhardy. Why? That’s because, had he stopped for a tyre change and settled for second place, the points table would’ve looked like this: Fernando-59, Kimi-44. The funny part is that it now holds true for Fernando too. Yes, he was leading the championship by 32 points, but formula one history is full of lost-leads halfway through the season.
Let’s look at the Canadian GP. In reality, the victory belonged to Montoya. Of course he blew it by ignoring a pit lane signal during the safety car period. But much before that, he did something ‘monumental.’ He overshot the pit exit while trying to get a jump on Fernando. I call it monumental because ‘it’ was the reason why Fernando ended up in the wall.
Had Montoya succeeded in rejoining the track ahead of Fernando in 2nd place, he would’ve effectively put the Spaniard right in the middle of a very hot sandwich – between himself and his teammate. This would’ve forced Fernando into defending his position from Kimi, instead of getting into a highly risky dogfight with the tenacious Montoya. With the Renault’s excellent traction, Fernando would have been very difficult to pass. And if he could handle Michael Schumacher at Imola, he could’ve surely handled the Finn who anyway looked offbeat in comparison to Montoya.
With memories of the last lap debacle at Nurburgring still fresh, Kimi definitely wouldn’t have risked bulldozing his way through Fernando. Even if he did and the two had collided and retired, Alonso would have retained his 32-point lead. In hindsight, Montoya did his teammate not one, but two unintentional favors in Canada.
So if at all Kimi Raikkonen goes on to win the championship this season, he owes a big thank you to Montoya. And to his monumental blunder. Or was it serendipity?