Hockenheimring, GP of Germany 1997. For the first time I find myself in the lead. Defend with all the tenacity that I have my position, but at the 39th lap a wheel exploded and the victory, which I already felt, fades.
At the end of the race, Schumacher approaches his Ferrari and beckons me to climb to take me to the parade and tell me, in his own way, that yes, I deserved to win.
Here, Formula 1 for me is this: beyond the technical gesture, there is that ups and downs of emotions that throws you to the top of the world at 300 kilometers per hour and then thrown back to the ground, there is desperation of Mansell pushing his car and faint a few meters from the finish line, there is the quarrel in the pits for a runway on track and friendship when you least expect it.
It is my idea of competition, epic and human together, that I wanted to dedicate this book: it is not the strategy to make the perfect race, but the overtaking that takes your breath away (fabulous Häkkinen in Spa in 2000), the impossible undertaking, the most intense rivalries, which are then those between teammates, as Alonso and Hamilton know well.
I thought back to the great drivers who have marked an era, like Senna and Michael, as brilliant on the racetrack as they are out front, behind the Circus, especially during Ecclestone's visionary direction, and to engineers who know how to calculate less our passion that we go down on the track.
Because it is said that the smell of the asphalt, once you've felt it, is like a drug: you can not do without it and the adrenaline rush returns every time the last traffic light goes off.
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