In Suzuka, in 1998, Mika Hakkinen finds himself on top of the world after a grueling fight against Michael Schumacher’s Ferrari. A run-up that lasted almost from adolescence, in the minor categories, the Finn managed to beat the German, a reference point that seemed almost unattainable.
Mika did not have the same predestined beginnings in Formula 1 as Schumacher. The 1998 world champion Hakkinen is a pilot who he had to wait six years to win the first Grand Prix, in Jerez in the last race of 1997 that brought the title to Villeneuve and the fame of incorrectness to the Kaiser.
The Finn is one who never gave up, even when he saw death in the face, in Australia, on November 12, 1995: he had the ability to get up and start again with great conviction. From this point the picture traced by the historian Rai correspondent for Formula 1 begins to take shape Ezio Zermiani, in the past also the signature of FormulaPassion.it.
“Piquet said: ‘Accidents are part of this sport. A pilot overtakes them but if, beyond the most varied fractures, you hit your head and lose consciousness, it is no longer you. You’ll always be a halved pilot ‘ – says Zermiani in an old documentary signed by The Gazzetta dello Sport – It happened to Nelson in Imola, in 1987, and he told me that for six months, every night, he dreamed of a wall coming upon him. And the Brazilian added: ‘After that, when you push your right foot on the gas, the foot comes up on its own’. There, we wonder if, without that bang in Adelaide in ’95, Hakkinen could have gone on for much longer and at higher levels of performance. But over time we seemed to understand that Finnish belongs to the ranks of men attentive to the quality of life. For this, two world titles can be more than satisfying. It was a shame, however, for this sport and for the fans, because Hakkinen was the only one to stand up to Schumacher in his heyday. Perhaps even Schumi himself lacked an opponent of that character to deal with ”.
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