Kimi Räikkönen & Sebastian Vettel

Kimi Räikkönen & Sebastian Vettel

tiistai 2. toukokuuta 2017

Russian GP: When dreams met reality!

Kimi and Sebastian  filming for social media at the pit wall.
My dream came true last weekend, as at short notice I got an unbelievable chance to attend the Russian GP weekend. And what a weekend it turned out to be! I spent four magical and absolutely memorable days at Sochi Autodrom in Russia. I have seen my heroes live on track in the winter tests in 2015 but never this close in front of my very eyes! Ferrari was filming a video for social media on Thursday. At this point I was shaking like a leaf, because my dream was about to come true... My dream of meeting the quadruple F1 world champion Sebastian Vettel in person and interview him! I felt absolutely unreal as I sat down in front of the Ferrari motorhome to interview my idol. There were tens of photographers behind my back taking
Gina on the pit lane.
photos, and from the corner of my eye I could see the flash lights flickering. But in that very moment I ignored everything that happened around me and it was all about interviewing Sebastian. He turned out to be very easy to talk to and he impressed me with his great sense of humour. He gave an extremely deep answer, when I asked him about the most important things that he has learnt from late Dr. Aki Hintsa, who has been one of the key figures behind Sebastian´s success. Sebastian told the story, how he had met Dr. Hintsa for the first time. He also revealed, which incident he regrets more, Turkish GP 2010 or Mexican GP 2016. I also asked him, how he would describe himself in Finnish, as he is known to like Finland and Finnish people. There are absolutely no words to describe my feelings during the interview! I had to pinch myself to believe, that it was actually happening and I wasn´t just dreaming!

For eight years I have dreamed about meeting Sebastian Vettel and interviewing him!
Sebastian signing a poster for me after the autograph session.

 I couldn´t believe my ears, as Sebastian´s PR manager Britta Roeske asked me to step inside a car with Sebastian Vettel! Sebastian was goingfor an autograph session at the other side of the track. It was like "behind the scenes", getting a glimpse of Sebastian´s typical Thursday on track. I was absolutely overwhelmed, I couldn´t expect anything like this! In addition to this, Britta arranged me and my husband a chance to watch two practice sessions at Ferrari garage, which was absolutely magical. Seeing the cars so closely was an impressive experience indeed. Watching F1 on TV gives you an impression that the cars aren´t loud enough, but I can assure they are loud at the garage! Qualifying was hair-raising and it couldn´t have ended in any more perfect way! Ferrari took 1-2 for the first time since 2008! Sebastian conquered pole, with only 59 thousandths of a second separating him from his teammate Kimi! Valtteri Bottas finished third, only 95 thousandths of a second down on Sebastian. It was extremely tight between Ferrari and Mercedes. I promised, that if Sebastian won the race, I would go swimming in the Black Sea! However, there was a certain Finn, who was absolutely determined to prevent Sebastian from winning -and me from getting into the sea!

At the paddock with my husband Robert, who has also
followed Formula 1 for over 20 years.

Coffee break at Ferrari motorhome.

Sebastian and Kimi on the grid ready for the start of the Russian GP.

Valtteri Bottas, who started from P3, took a staggering start and stormed past both Ferrari aces by Turn 1! The Finn was hungry to get his maiden win. At the closing stages of the race Sebastian had closed the gap to Bottas, but unfortunately the German ran out of laps. So although I would have wanted to see Sebastian on the top step of the podium, I was happy for Valtteri, who had driven a historical race indeed. And there were two red-suited drivers on the podium after all, as the Iceman finished third! Britta took us right under the podium to watch the podium ceremony and the interviews, which were made by Eddie Jordan. Although I had hoped for Sebastian´s victory, it was quite nice to hear the Finnish national anthem!
Valtteri Bottas, Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Räikkönen on the podium. Kimi´s physio Mark Arnall with Kimi´s trophy and helmet at the paddock.
After the race I got to talk to Sebastian for a short moment, until it was time leave the paddock. I guess you can read my feelings on my face!
The most unbelievable experience during the Russian GP weekend was to actually see all drivers, team principals and other significant figures of F1 live right in front of my own eyes! I´m so
 used to seeing all these people on TV during a race weekend. The first time I saw Sebastian on Thursday, I absolutely froze and couldn´t get a word out of my mouth. Even Bernie Ecclestone walked past on one moment! I have never been a VIP guest anywhere, so for a shy person like myself it was a bit confusing. I have absolutely no words, how privileged and thankful I felt -and still feel- for getting such a memorable and indescribably unique experience. It has been like a fairy tale for me. This is something that happens once in a life time! I´m forever grateful for Britta, who exceeded all my expectations in terms of hospitality and put so much more effort into making my weekend so perfect than I could ever have imagined! Meeting Sebastian live has made me admire him even more. I had tears in my eyes when I met him after the race; I was so overwhelmingly touched and happy.

Miracles do happen in real life, too! So chase your dreams and believe in them!

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