If you hadn't been sure about it since the beginning, why did you take part in the Grand Prix?
First, your 'protégé', newcomer Rubens Barrichello, had a relatively serious accident during free practice, which rendered him unconscious but with minor injuries; you got tense and a little scared. You even asked yourself if you should race. So then, why did you do it?
And when Austrian Roland Ratzenberger crashed during qualifying, dying moments later? You got even more nervous than before and started crying on the shoulder of professor Sidney Watkins', the expert neurosurgeon. You asked yourself if you should leave Formula 1. And even though Sidney offered you the chance to forget the Grand Prix and go somewhere else, you said you had "things over which we have no control", adding that you couldn't give up.
After Roland's accident, you and other drivers set off to create a Drivers' Association, which you had been willing to since a lot of time ago, to increase safety, among other things. What a pity that the improvements couldn't arrive in 24 hours. Also, following Italian law, after a fatal accident on a circuit, this has to be closed during the entire remainder of the Grand Prix meeting. You could have not died.
May 1st, 1994. Instead of going through the circuit twice, like you usually do, you run three laps before stopping on your designed spot, the pole positon. But you're not sure. You don't sit in your single-seater to concentrate; as if you knew this was the last time, you go to say some words to the press. Your last words. You're don't feelsure about this. And in some moment before the race, you cram an Austrian flag in, so you can pay tribute to Roland with your win, something you only did with the Brazilian flag. How ironic. And you're still not sure.
The race starts. It's already the seventh lap and you're running first, just after the race has been restarted after the safety car got back into the pits. You're also a little more than half a second ahead of Michael Schumacher.
And you arrive to the Tamburello turn; it's 2:17 pm. Probably due to the insufficient speed of the safety car, something about which you and other drivers had already complained that morning, your tires have become slightly cooler and you have lost some grip. To top it off, thanks to a badly done mend, the steering wheel doesn't workand the rear of the car rubs against the floor. So you lose control and crash at 300 km/h (180 mph) against the too-close wall, although you manage to slow down 100 km/h.
You could have survived. You could have survived the accident if your own wheel hadn't hit your head, or if a piece of your car's suspension hadn't pierced your helmet, slightly above your eye. You could have survived if the car was safer, as you and the others had asked for this morning.
You're taken out of the car and you don't do anything but bleed profusely. Some moments before, due to a couple of nervous impulses, your head moves slightly and you create the false hope that you're still alive and able to move. But, after that, you never move again. Sidney Watkins said in his memories that you sighed as you were deposited on the floor and that he almost felt how your sould escaped your battered body.
You are airlifted to hospital on a helicopter, but the doctors almost know you're not going to last long, the forensic surgeons even list your official time of death as 2:17 pm. At 6:05 pm you're declared clinically dead. The devices thanks to which your heart keeps beating and your lungs inhaling and exhaling are disconnected 35 minutes later: even they proved insufficient.
And that's it.