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Formula one grand prix 2008

The 2008 formula one grand prix season

DateGrand PrixCircuit
March 16th.Australia Melbourne
March 23rd. MalaysiaSepang
April 6th. BahrainSakhir
April 27th. SpainCatalunya
May 11th. TurkeyIstanbul
May 25th. MonacoMonte Carlo
June 8th. CanadaMontreal
June 22nd. FranceMagny-Courts
July 6th. Great BritainSilverstone
July 20th. Germany Hockenheim
August 3rd. HungaryBudapest
August 24th.Europe Valencia
September 7th. Belgium Spa-Francorchamps
September 14th. Italy Monza
September 28th. SingaporeSingapore
October 11th. Japan Fuji
October 19th. ChinaShanghai
November 2nd. BrazilInterlagos

The great excitement will be the Singapore Grand Prix
to be held on September the streets,
like the Monaco Grand Prix, but at night with street lighting.
The Japanese GP will be at Fuji, which belongs to Toyota, and not at Suzuka with it's figure of eight circuit.
The European Grand Prix will be in Spain at Valencia and it will also be in the streets.
The German Grand Prix has been restored, this season at Hockenheim.
So like the Germans before there will be two Grand Prix's in Spain;
one at Valencia in the streets and the other at Catalunya on the circuit.


Drivers and teams for the 2008 formula one grand prix season
TeamDriver Driver Test Driver
BMW-Sauber Nick Heidfeld Robert Kubica
Ferrari Kimi Raikkonen Felipe Massa
Honda Jenson Button Rubens Barrichello
McLaren Mercedes Heikki Kovalainen Lewis Hamilton
Red Bull David Coulthard Mark Webber
Renault Fernando Alonso Nelson Piquet Jnr
Force India Giancarlo Fisichella Adrian Sutil
Super Aguri Takuma Sato Anthony Davidson
Toro Rosso Sebastian Vettel Sebastien Bourdais
Toyota Jarno Trulli Timo Glock
Williams BMW Nico Rosberg Kazuki Nakajima

Many of the constructor's web pages contain flash.
These pages are very beautiful but can take a long time to download.
Force India were formerly Spyker.
Some of the teams have the same drivers as in 2007.
Many of the drivers are the same as for 2007 but have changed teams.
Toro Rosso are back as the second team for Red Bull.
Notice Sebastian and Sebastien in Toro Rosso.
So there will be 11 teams and 22 drivers.
Alas Super Aguri have had to drop out due to lack of funding.

Chinese GP

Lewis Hamilton wins in China 
ahead of Felipe massa

Chinese GP: Hamilton Moves Closer To The Title

Sunday 19th October 2008

Lewis Hamilton took a step closer to the World title in Shanghai on Sunday when he won the Chinese GP ahead of title rival Felipe Massa.

The McLaren driver was sublime from start to finish, steadily etching out a lead over Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen. It was an impressive, faultless display from the 23-year-old, earning him another ten points in his Championship campaign.

Meanwhile Massa struggled to find the pace to match Hamilton, spending most of the race in third place until on lap 49 Raikkonen moved aside to let Massa up to P2, earning him eight points.

Going into the final race of the season Hamilton now has 94 points to Massa's 87, which means Massa needs to win or finish second in order to stand any chance of winning the title.

Raikkonen's third placed finish ensured Ferrari held onto the lead in the Constructors' standings, while Fernando Alonso continued Renault's move up the order, finishing fourth ahead of BMW drivers Nick Heidfeld and Robert Kubica.

Report: Though there had been the prediction of showers before the race, it was dry and humid at the start with an ambient of 27C and the track at 30C. After the chaos of the Japanese GP and with Lewis Hamilton starting from pole position with Ferraris all around him many, including Renault's Pat Symmonds expected "shenanigans" going into Turn 1.

As the red lights went out Hamilton - this time with no slipping clutch - got a great start and lead unchallenged into Turn 1, the two Ferraris slotted in behind with no pressure from Fernando Alonso.

Alonso immediately had Heikki Kovalainen alongside him and despite some ominously smoking brakes on the grid, Kovalainen was able to drive alongside him through Turns 1 and 2 and was ahead by 3.

The only casualty of the opening lap was Jarno Trulli who was punted from the side by Sebastien Bourdais in Turn 1 - replays showed that Trulli didn't really leave him enough room, though if it was anyone's fault it was the Frenchman's. An aggrieved Trulli had to return to the pits for a new front wing, but it was definitely a case of a racing accident.

Kovalainen lost his P4 by the end of the lap. By running wide in Turn 13 he was slow onto the long back straight and Alonso was able to cruise easily past him.

So the positions at the end of the opening lap were: Hamilton, Raikkonen, Massa, Alonso, Kovalainen, Heidfeld, Vettel, Kubica, Piquet and Rubens Barrichello in P10.

Kovalainen's problems were immediately apparent as he immediately dropped two seconds a lap to Alonso while the McLaren team tried to find an engineering solution to his problems.

Lewis Hamilton set a series of fastest laps in the opening stint as he edged out a gap to a fast-starting Kimi Raikkonen. Raikkonen has found his pace later in the race so many times this year, but at Shanghai he was immediately lapping significantly quicker than Felipe Massa.

On Lap 9, Hamilton had reduced the fastest lap to 1:36.683 with a 4.0 lead over Raikkonen and Massa a further 3.8 back. On Lap 10, Raikkonen went quicker than him for the first time in the race with a new FL of 1:36.664.

Hamilton was still quicker than Massa, though and on Lap 13 when Lewis produced the fastest lap of the race, a 1:36.325, he was 8.3 seconds up. Hamilton had only ever put in two FLs in his career and this would prove to be his third.

The positions on Lap 13 were: 1.Hamilton, 2.Raikkonen, 3.Massa, 4.Alonso, 5.Kovalainen, 6.Heidfeld, 7.Vettel, 8.Kubica, 9.Piquet, 10.Barrichello, 11.Rosberg.

At the end of lap Lap 14 Alonso and Massa pitted and rejoined 8th and 10th; at the end of Lap 15 Hamilton and Raikkonen pitted leaving Kovalainen and Heidfeld at the front. Once they had pitted, Hamilton's lead to Raikkonen was up to 6.8 seconds by Lap 19.

On track it was: Hamilton, Raikkonen, Kubica (not stopped), Massa, Piquet (not stopped), Alosno, Kovalainen.

The story of the second stints was that of Hamilton not going as quick as he could and looking after his tyres. The gap to Raikkonen was reduced to a minimum of 6.1 seconds after Hamilton was forced to lap the unyielding Giancarlo Fisichella and then when Raikkonen had to do it the Finn lost even more, the gap going out to 7.5 thanks to the Fisi Factor.

Hamilton seemed in control because the moment that Raikkonen put in a faster lap, he would respond a lap later. Felipe Massa had no answer at all and by Lap 35 was over fifteen seconds behind the leader.

Kovalainen had been improving his times and still looked on for either 5th or 6th place in the race when a puncture early in the lap, meant a devastatingly slow inlap and a fall to the back of the field.

Massa set the fastest middle sector of the race on his inlap, Lap 37, as he picked up pace to overtake Raikkonen in the closing stages. A lap later and both Hamilton and Raikkonen were in for their final stops. When they resumed, Hamilton had made another four seconds on Raikkonen and was 12.3 in front by Lap 40.

It was no surprise that Raikkonen then dropped back from Hamilton to allow Massa past him on Lap 50. "I know what the team expect" said a very direct Raikkonen at the press conference afterwards. Massa tiptoed inside him going into the backstraight hairpin and was into P2 with no hope of catching Hamilton.

Indeed, Fernando Alonso was setting personal best times after sniffing an outside chance of making the podium, but the Renault driver had left it way too late.

Hamilton came home for a very controlled win with Massa a disappointed second and Raikkonen third. Alonso was fourth, Heidfeld fifth and Robert Kubica's championship aspirations finally came to an end in sixth place. Timo Glock and Nelson Piquet picked up the final points paying positions.

Kovalainen's race had come to an end on Lap 50 when he drove straight into the McLaren garage with deteriorating brakes and no chance of any points following his puncture.

It had been the perfect response from Hamilton and he had proved himself to be driver of the weekend with pole, fastest lap and the race win. But Kovalainen's mishaps in the last two races have proved that fate can still intervene in the McLaren machinery.

It isn't over yet.


01 L. Hamilton McLaren 1:31:57.403
02 F. Massa Ferrari + 14.925
03 K. Räikkönen Ferrari + 16.445
04 F. Alonso Renault + 18.370
05 N. Heidfeld BMW + 28.923
06 R. Kubica BMW + 33.219
07 T. Glock Toyota + 41.722
08 N. Piquet jr. Renault + 56.645
09 S. Vettel Toro Rosso + 1:04.339
10 D. Coulthard Red Bull + 1:14.842
11 R. Barrichello Honda + 1:25.061
12 K. Nakajima Williams + 1:30.847
13 S. Bourdais Toro Rosso + 1:31.457
14 M. Webber Red Bull + 1:32.422
15 N. Rosberg Williams + 1 laps
16 J. Button Honda + 1 laps
17 G. Fisichella Force India F1 + 1 laps
Did not finish
18 H. Kovalainen McLaren + 6 laps
19 A. Sutil Force India F1 + 41 laps
20 J. Trulli Toyota + 55 laps 

Drivers' Standings after the China GP in Shanghai on Sunday 19th. October 2008

DriverNationalityTeam Points
L. HamiltonEnglandMclaren Mercedes94
F. MassaBrazilFerrari87
R. KubicaPolandBMW-Sauber75
K. RaikkonenFinlandFerrari69
N. HeidfieldGermanyBMW-Sauber60
F. AlonsoSpainRenault53
H. KovalainenFinlandMclaren Mercedes51
J. TrulliItalyToyota30
S. VettelGermanyToro Rosso30
M. WebberAustraliaRed Bull21
N. Piquet JnrBrazilRenault19
N. RosbergGermanyWilliams BMW17
T. GlockGermanyToyota15
R. BarrichelloItalyHonda11
K. NakajimaJapanWilliams BMW9
D. CoulthardScotlandRed Bull8
S. BourdaisFranceToro Rosso4
J. ButtonEnglandHonda3
A. SutilGermanyForce India0
T. SatoJapanSuper Aguri0
A. DavidsonEnglandSuper Aguri0
G. FisichellaItalyForce India0

Japanese GP

Fernando Alonso wins in Japan

Japanese GP: Alonso Wins As Title Rivals Falter

Sunday 12th October 2008

Fernando Alonso made it two-from-two in Sunday's Japanese GP as the title rivals Lewis Hamilton and Felipe Massa failed to keep their heads and were hit with drive-through penalties.

Robert Kubica of BMW finished an impressive second, keeping at bay a late-race charge from Kimi Raikkonen. Nelson Piquet was fourth and Jarno Trulli fifth, but most attention was turned to incidents on Lap 1 and 2 which effectively ended Felipe Massa and Lewis Hamilton's chances of good points finishes.

Race Report

The track was dry with the ambient temperature at 16C and the track at 21C. Felipe Massa in his bid to make up early places had opted for the softer white stripe tyre and it would pay dividends later on.

As the red lights went out Hamilton got too much wheelspin on the grid and Kimi Raikkonen was immediately in front of him. Going into the tight first corner Hamilton dived up the inside of the Finn, but left his braking way too late, locked his tyres and went sailing on towards the tarmac run-off.

To avoid him Kimi Raikkonen also had to run wide, as did the following Heikki Kovalainen and the rest of the grid looked to take advantage by ducking up the inside. In fact it was Kovalainen's car who pushed Raikkonen over the edge of the kerbs - not that Raikonen ever needs much invitation to use tarmac run-off as we saw at Spa.

In the frantic reshuffling of the order, Robert Kubica took advantage and headed the field. Further back, David Coulthard had been bounced from behind in Turn 1 and his rear suspension broken, running down to Turn 2 his car snapped left and he went off the track for a heavy impact.

Home favourite Kazuki Nakajima took to the grass in avoidance and lost a nose in the process and would have to return to the pits.

The order at the end of the first lap was: Kubica, Alonso, Kovalainen, Massa, Hamilton, Raikkonen, Piquet (up from 12th) and Sebastien Bourdais.

In his braking for Turn 1 Hamilton had flat-spotted his tyres, but he was still closing on Felipe Massa and on Lap 2 got up the inside going into the chicane when Massa left his own braking too late. Hamilton was through, but Massa cut the chicane in his bid to get on terms, a move that never looked like working and didn't. Massa hit Hamilton at the rear of his sidepods spinning him to the back of the field.

Hamilton returned to the pits to get new tyres.

The order on Lap 4 was: Kubica, Alonso, Kovalainen, Trulli, Raikonen, Bourdais, Massa, Glock, Piquet, Vettel.. Massa was all over the back of the Toro Rosso of Sebastien Bourdais but couldn't find a way past.

Timo Glock had run well all weekend but on Lap 5 he was back in the pits, all hopes of a points finish gone.

Kimi Raikkonen looked very quick and anxious to get back to the front and on Lap 7 he was up into P4 - at this stage Lewis Hamilton was five seconds a lap quicker than Jenson Button who'd had a good opening lap to get to P10, but was now relegated back in P.15

By Lap 11 there was a notice that the stewards were investigating incidents relating to Cars 1 (Raikkonen), 2 (Massa) and 22 (Hamilton). Meaning that Hamilton's late braking at Turn 1 - was also under investigation.

Replays had already shown that it was a conventional racing cock-up at the start, but it wasn't Hamilton who'd pushed Raikkonen off the track but his team-mate Kovalainen (though Heikki was also taking avoiding action).

Seven laps later it was deemed that Massa should have a drive-through penalty for spinning his World Championship rival to the back of the field, and Hamilton should have one for a poor overtaking move that hadn't resulted in any contact with the cars around him. It was bizarre but not unfamiliar territory for the Mclaren team.

On Lap 17 everything began to happen at once. Leader Robert Kubica came in for his first pit-stop and was joined in the pitlane by fourth place Kimi Raikkonen who'd just put in the Fastest Lap of the race so far with a 1:19.193 on Lap 16.

Raikkonen's good qualifying had indeed been achieved on lower fuel than Massa. At the same time Heikki Kovalainen retired from third place, his smoking McLaren limping to the side of the track. Then it was announced that both Massa and Hamilton should have drive-throughs.

On Lap 17 Fernando Alonso, sensing he had the opportunity to take the net lead, had edged the Fastest Lap down to 1:19.169 - when he pitted at the end of Lap 18 he was now ahead of Robert Kubica on track and the first placed of ythe one-stoppers.

Hamilton pitted for his drive-through straight away while Massa waited until he'd got his planned pit-stop out of the way before taking his. It left them 14th and 15th, though Lewis was a good thirteen seconds back from Massa.

Jarno Trulli had led briefly for Toyota before leaving it to Sebastien Bourdais to take over in the lead. Thus the positions on Lap 22 were: 1.Bourdais (not stopped), 2.Piquet (not stopped), 3. Vettel (not stopped), 4.Alonso, 5.Kubica, 6.Raikkonen, 7.Webber (not stopped) 8.Trulli

Felipe Massa finally got on tems with Jenson Buton and passed him easily on Lap 30 to take 13th place and though Hamilton had gained time on him, the gap between the two began to go out again. Lewis would have to wait till Lap 35 before getting past Jenson.

With the late two-stoppers out of the way the order at the front on Lap 37 was Alonso, 11 seconds clear of Robert Kubica in second who was 4.5 seconds ahead of Kimi Raikkonen in third. Alonso was going away from Kubica, while Raikkonen seemed to be just about holding on to Kubica's BMW.

Nick Heidfeld finally pitted from P8 on Lap 40 (Rosberg would wait until an incredible Lap 43) and Alonso began to stamp his authority at the front - he set a Fastest Lap of 1:19.101 on Lap 41 before pitting for the second time on Lap 44.

Now it was Raikkonen who began to put the hammer down and closed the gap to Kubica from 4.7 to 3.7 seconds when the Pole made an exemplary stop on Lap 46. Raikkonen was able to run two laps longer until his stop and exited the pits just metres behind the BMW.

The order on Lap 49 was: Trulli, Piquet, Bourdais, Alonso, Vettel, Kubica, Raikkonen, Massa, Webber, Heidfeld - though five of those drivers still had to pit for a second time.

Bourdais came in for his second stop on Lap 50 and as he exited the pitlane was struck by Felipe Massa in Turn 1. Whether or not Massa thought he was going to be let through is hard to tell - the Brazilian had been putting in a series of very fast laps, lowering the FL to 1:19.014 on Lap 48 and 1:18.963 on Lap 49 but was due for his second pit-stop soon.

Luckily the impact on Bourdais didn't affect his car and it was Massa who lost time - four laps later the stewards decided that they would investigate that one after the race - although when it happened there were still 17 laps to the finish.

Raikkonen was now keen to get past Robert Kubica and the Pole had to use some strong-arm tactics to keep the Finn behind, closing up on the inside into the braking zone for Turn 1 and on Lap 53 pushing him wide, almost onto the grass between Turns 2 and 3, way off the racing line.

Meanwhile Nelson Piquet who had pitted for the second time and rejoined in P4 was catching them both.

Further back down the field Lewis Hamilton's softer tyres were looking very worn and he didn't look as though he could make up places unlike Felipe Massa who was finishing the race on the harder tyres and catching ninth placed Heidfeld hand over fist. By Lap 59 he was through to P9 and on Lap 64 he had caught the Red Bull of Mark Webber.

Webber had been one-stopping and his front left tyre had lost all grooves. Massa caught him at two seconds a lap and even though Webber closed right across to the pitlane wall, Massa dived into the pitlane exit road to take the line into Turn 1 and P8.

Though Raikkonen had got close to Kubica, he couldn't find a way past and was looking to defend from Nelson Piquet Junior when the Brazilian spun at Turn 5 on Lap 60 and lost seven seconds in the process.

Fernando Alonso duly took his second GP win in a row from Kubica and Raikkonen. On the grid he had said: "this is F1, so anything is possible" and he was right. Kubica's finish means that he is not out of the Championship hunt yet and will be ruing BMW's switch of focus to the 2009 car so early in the season.

Hamilton and many F1 pundits were left puzzled over a drive-through penalty that will have implications for every subsequent GP start - but ultimately it was a rush of blood to the head that ruined his afternoon - and that was certainly all his own doing.


01 F. Alonso Renault 1:30:21.892
02 R. Kubica BMW + 5.200
03 K. Räikkönen Ferrari + 6.400
04 N. Piquet jr. Renault + 20.500
05 J. Trulli Toyota + 23.700
06 S. Bourdais Scuderia Toro Rosso + 34.000
07 S. Vettel Scuderia Toro Rosso + 39.200
08 F. Massa Ferrari + 46.100
09 M. Webber Red Bull + 50.800
10 N. Heidfeld BMW + 54.100
11 N. Rosberg Williams + 1:02.000
12 L. Hamilton McLaren + 1:18.900
13 R. Barrichello Honda + 1 laps
14 J. Button Honda + 1 laps
15 K. Nakajima Williams + 1 laps
Did not finish
16 G. Fisichella Force India F1 + 46 laps
17 H. Kovalainen McLaren + 51 laps
18 A. Sutil Force India F1 + 58 laps
19 T. Glock Toyota + 60 laps
20 D. Coulthard Red Bull + 67 laps 

Singapore GP

Singapore GP: Alonso Wins Historic Night Race

Sunday 28th September 2008

Fernando Alonso won Formula One's inaugural night race in Singapore thanks largely to his team-mate Nelson Piquet Jr crashing.

The opening stint of the grand prix saw pole sitter Felipe Massa pulling away from Lewis Hamilton and Kimi Raikkonen. However, Piquet's huge crash on lap 15 brought out the Safety Car and closed the pitlane just at the time when cars needed fuel.

Alonso's early pit-stop gave him the track position to dominate the race, but a bungling Ferrari pit-stop saw Massa trail off down the pitlane with his refuelling hose attached. Team-mate Kimi Raikkonen crashed at Turn 10 leaving Lewis Hamilton to play safe for a third placed finish behind Nico Rosberg and allow Mclaren to take the ead in the constructors' title race.

Race Report

The much-feared rain had failed to turn up on Sunday evening, but with an ambient temperature still at 28C and the track at 32C it was going to be an energy-sapping race.

As the lights went out Felipe Massa got a perfect getaway and Lewis Hamilton was in no position to challenge, with Kimi Raikkonen slotting into third place through the opening turns. Robert Kubica starting from P4 came under a lot of pressure from Heikki Kovalainen and put four wheels off the track going through the Turn 1/2 chicane to keep his place.

It was a very robust move and his BMW struck Heikki Kovalainen's on the exit of Turn 2, almost putting the McLaren driver into a spin. The resulting lack of momentum allowed Kubica to get ahead and also Vettel and Timo Glock were able to slip past.

Kovalainen fought back and took Glock going into Turn 7, before Timo claimed it back a corner later. Further back three cars cut the opening chicane - Heidfeld, Alonso and Piquet. Significantly Alonso made up places by not bothering to battle it out for position and gaining significant momentum on Jenson Button.

Alonso tried to take the corner at an impossibly tight angle and seeing the queue of cars ahead of him decided not to bother. All three incidents went without investigation.

The positions at the end of Lap 1 were: Massa, Hamilton, Raikkonen, Kubica, Vettel, Glock, Kovalainen, Heidfeld, Trulli, Rosberg, Nakajima, Alonso, Webber and Button.

As the race settled down Massa and Hamilton began to draw away from Kimi Raikkonen and by Lap 4 Massa had a two second lead while Hamilton had five seconds on Raikkonen.

Jarno Trulli was going for a one-stop race in his Toyota and was lapping five seconds a lap slower than the leaders. He began to collect a train of cars with seven behind him, line astern, by Lap 5, the most frustrated of whom was Nico Rosberg in P10. By Lap 6 Trulli was already 13 seconds behind 8th place Nick Heidfeld. Rosberg finally got past Jarno into Turn 7 on Lap 7 and the floodgate of Trulli detainees began to come past

At the same time Raikkonen was beginning to peg back the gap to Hamilton with three Fastest Laps in a row on Laps 9, 10 and 11, the lowest of which was 1:45.764.

On Lap 11 the race order was: Massa, Hamilton, Raikkonen, Kubica, Vettel, Glock, Kovalainen, Heidfeld, Rosberg, Nakajima, Alonso, Trulli. Massa had a 3.4 second lead over Hamilton while Lewis had Raikkonen closing in at 3.2 seconds. Robert Kubica in fourth place was over 12 seconds back now.

At the end of Lap 12 Fernando Alonso came in for his first pit-stop, having failed to make any rapid progress in the opening stint. It looked like his race was well and truly run. That all changed when his team-mate Nelson Piquet Junior lost control of his car at the exit of Turn 17 on Lap 15.

Sensing a Safety Car imminent, Red Bull immediately pitted both Webber and Coulthard for fuel. The Safety Car deployment meant the pitlane was immediately closed just at the time that many cars were scheduled to come in. Nico Rosberg and Robert Kubica couldn't wait for the pitlane to come open and drove through for fuel, picking up automatic stop/go penalties.

What would prove to be puzzling after such clear infringements was that it took the stewards so long to declare the incidents under investigation. What claimed their attention the minute the pitlane opened however was leader Felipe Massa.

As the pitlane opened the field flooded in, both Ferraris at once as well as second place Lewis Hamilton. Despite getting the Ferrari automatic signal, the green light to go, Massa still had his fuel rig attached. He set off down the pitlane, almost colliding with the Force India of Adrian Sutil, trailing the hose all the way to the pitlane exit where he waited for help.

The Ferrari mechanics refuelled the waiting Raikkonen, then set off down the pitlane in a foot race to get the fuel hose detached from Massa. Felipe finally got underway in last place. From first to last in one pit-stop.

As the field re-assembled behind the Safety Car, Nico Rosberg found himself in the lead (but facing a Stop/Go) followed by Trulli (not stopped), Fisichella (not stopped), Kubica (facing a Stop/Go), Alonso, Webber, Coulthard, Hamilton, Vettel, Glock, Heidfeld, Nakajima.

The Ferraris were 17th and 18th.

At the end of Lap 19 the race was go again. It wasn't until Lap 23 that Kubica and Rosberg were declared under investigation. On Lap 24 the stewards finally came up with the view that Felipe Massa's pit-stop release had been unsafe and a lap after that, that Rosberg and Kubica should have drive-throughs. It had taken them almost half an hour to work out that the BMW and the Williams had committed a simple infringement. Thus Kubica didn't have to serve his stop/go until Lap 27 and Rosberg at the end of Lap 28.

In all that ocean of time Rosberg was able to build a huge lead on Jarno Trulli, while Giancarlo Fisichella was holding up Kubica and the rest.

Kubica's delay cost him badly but Rosberg was so far up the road that he was able to rejoin in P4 ahead of David Coulthard and Lewis Hamilton. The Red Bulls had gained a huge advantage in the Safety Car lottery, but on Lap 28 Webber's car began to lose gears. He lost places and then drove his car back into the garage.

This left the order on Lap 30 as Trulli (not stopped), Alonso, Rosberg, Coulthard, Hamilton and Glock. Alonso was trying to hunt Trulli down and Hamilton was all over the back of DC's gearbox but finding no way past.

Trulli finally pitted at the end of Lap 33 and was able to rejoin in P8 behind Nick Heidfeld but in front of Kazuki Nakajima and the strongly recovering Kimi Raikkonen. Hamilton's problem was that Coulthard was losing over a second a lap on the Alonso/Rosberg battle.

Nakajima finally got ahead of Trulli on Lap 38 into Turn 7 and Raikkonen followed him a lap later. Hamilton used Turn 7 to get by David Coulthard on Lap 42 even though DC moved across on Lewis in what looked like the braking zone.

Rosberg pitted for the second and final time on Lap 40 and rejoined in P7, while Alonso was so far down the road from the DC vs Hamilton battle that he took his final stop and still exited in the lead.

Hamilton and Coulthard then both pitted on Lap 42 and while Lewis had a problem-free stop, DC tried to go too early and almost replicated the Felipe Massa incident. The small delay meant that he was now behind Trulli on the track.

On Lap 44, Timo Glock found himself in P2 and Kimi Raikkonen in P4. Both had yet to stop for a second time and while Glock pitted on Lap 46 and rejoined in P5, Raikkonen was able to go on till Lap 50 and also rejoined in P5 after Trulli's Toyota coasted into retirement with no gearbox.

It was Trulli coasting back to the pits that brought out the second Safety Car of the day. Felipe Massa wasn't expecting to see a slow-moving car as he approached the tunnel corner and spun his car without hitting anything. Adrian Sutil got distracted by the Ferrari and drove his Force India into the barriers there just after Massa departed the scene, bringing out the SC.

At this stage Alonso's lead over Rosberg was a massive 18.5 seconds. Hamilton, in third place was closing on Rosberg at a second a lap and had reduced the gap to five seconds.

As they lined up behind the Safety Car for the second time the order was: Alonso, Rosberg, Hamilton, Glock, Raikkonen, Vettel, Heidfeld, Coulthard, Nakajima, Button, Kovalainen.

The race was GO again on Lap 54 and Alonso showed he had no great worries by opening up a 3.7 gap in one lap alone. In two laps he re-established the gap at 6.1 seconds. Hamilton has never liked the softer Bridgestone tyre and though he was only a second away from Rosberg till the flag he didn't look prepared to make a move on the Williams driver.

Though the two Safety Car periods looked like bringing into play the two-hour rule, 61 laps were just about possible. On lap 58 Kimi Raikkonen lost concentration going into the Turn 10 chicane, launched his car up the kerbs and into the barriers giving up his four points for 5th place.

Fernando Alonso duly took the historic win, followed home by Nico Rosberg scoring his best GP result and a surprisingly circumspect Lewis Hamilton. Timo Glock picked up valuable constructor points in 4th, Vettel took 5th, Heidfeld 6th and David Coulthard nursed an ailing Red Bull - light on brakes - to 7th.

It was a fantastic race, producing an F1 lottery of a result. Though Mclaren and Ferrari had been dealt the same cards by the surprise Safety Car, it was Ferrari's pit-stop system that had cost them Massa's result and Raikkonen's error that had cost them any points at all.

Alonso will be very relieved that the stewards weren't paying too much attention on the opening lap and Rosberg will be glad that the stewards acted so slowly to impose his Stop/Go penalty. But just as it was bad news for F1 to reverse the Belgian result, it would be bad news to have any thing detract from what has probably been the best race debut in F1 history.


01 F. Alonso Renault 1:57:16.304
02 N. Rosberg Williams + 2.957
03 L. Hamilton McLaren + 5.917
04 T. Glock Toyota + 8.155
05 S. Vettel Scuderia Toro Rosso + 10.268
06 N. Heidfeld BMW + 11.101
07 D. Coulthard Red Bull + 16.387
08 K. Nakajima Williams + 18.489
09 J. Button Honda + 19.885
10 H. Kovalainen McLaren + 26.902
11 R. Kubica BMW + 27.975
12 S. Bourdais Scuderia Toro Rosso + 29.432
13 F. Massa Ferrari + 35.170
14 G. Fisichella Force India F1 + 43.571
Did not finish
15 K. Räikkönen Ferrari + 4 laps
16 J. Trulli Toyota + 11 laps
17 A. Sutil Force India F1 + 12 laps
18 M. Webber Red Bull + 32 laps
19 R. Barrichello Honda + 46 laps
20 N. Piquet jr. Renault + 47 laps

Singapore GP: Alonso triumphs in Singapore GP, F1's first race at night

Sunday 6th October 2008

SINGAPORE -- In Formula One's first night race, Renault's Fernando Alonso captured the Singapore Grand Prix after starting 15th on the grid Sunday while McLaren's Lewis Hamilton extended his championship lead.

Alonso won for the 20th time in his career, his first victory since last year's Italian Grand Prix. Williams' Nico Rosberg was second, his best Grand Prix finish, and Hamilton was third.

Fernando Alonso got his 20th career win Sunday, his first victory since last year's Italian Grand Prix.

Alonso was way back on the grid after a fuel pump failed during qualifying. On Sunday, the Spaniard benefited from an early safety car period that turned the race around.

"After qualifying, our hopes were gone already," Alonso said. "It was nearly over, but it shows that Formula One is unpredictable on Sunday."

Hamilton extended his championship lead to seven points because of a turn of events that cost title rival Felipe Massa of Ferrari any points. The Brazilian led early from the pole, but his race was ruined when he pitted after the end of a safety car period at the start of the 20th lap.

Massa pulled away from his stop prematurely, taking the fuel rig and hose with him up the pit lane. He knocked over one of his mechanics, who needed medical treatment, and almost collided with another car.

By the time the crew sprinted the length of pit lane and got the rig out of the car, Massa had dropped from the lead to 18th and last. He then incurred a drive-through penalty for an "unsafe release from a pit stop." Massa finished in 13th place.

That was not the end of Ferrari's trouble, with reigning world champion Kimi Raikkonen crashing out on the 58th of 61 laps. The Italian team's pointless finish and Hamilton's third place lifted McLaren to the top of the constructors' standings by one point.

With 15 of 18 races completed, Hamilton has 84 points in the driver standings, followed by Massa (77) and Robert Kubica of BMW Sauber (64).

Toyota's Timo Glock was fourth and Toro Rosso's Sebastian Vettel took fifth. In sixth was BMW's Nick Heidfeld, ahead of Red Bull's David Coulthard and Williams' Kazuki Nakajima.

Alonso has been considering leaving Renault during what was until Sunday a very disappointing year. Asked if the Singapore victory would keep him with the French team, Alonso said: "It's not changing the decision about next year. Renault will be my first priority because I feel at home in this team."

Hamilton showed little inclination in the closing laps to challenge Rosberg.

"I had no need to take any risks, both Ferraris were out of the points," Hamilton said. "[Leading by] seven points, I'm quite happy."

Massa appeared not to be at fault for the pit-lane accident. The light signaled he was clear to leave, even though the fuel rig was attached. After the race, the Brazilian sought out the person responsible for giving the green light, but to encourage rather than scold.

"We could have finished first and second, and things could have been different," Massa said. "We are all human beings, everybody can make mistakes. I am not the kind of guy who goes to the guy and fights with him.

"I go to the guy and gave him even more motivation, because we need him and we need everybody together for the last races of the season."

With only races in Japan, China and Brazil to come, Massa is now the outsider in the title showdown.

"Seven points is seven points but we have 30 in front of us and we have a quick car," he said. "That's the most important thing."

Italian GP

Sebastian Vettel wins in Italy
Spa circuit start
Lewis Hamilton spins
Italian babes
Hamilton and Raikonnen
water everywhere
babes everywhere
wet spectators
another wet garage

Italian GP Report: Vettel Makes History With STR

Sunday 14th September 2008

Sebastian Vettel scored the victory for F1's other Italian team at Monza on Sunday while Felipe Massa added to the excitement of the Championship by closing the gap to Lewis Hamilton.

There were three stories of the day, the first and most emotional being Vettel's hard-fought victory as at 21 years and 74 days he became the youngest ever F1 grand prix winner.

Putting in a drive that belied his age, Vettel kept the pace, kept his head and kept what should have been a superior McLaren of Heikki Kovalainen in his rearview mirrors at all times. The second story is that of the Toro Rosso team scoring their first win.

And finally there was the Championship race, which saw Massa finish one position ahead of Hamilton, thereby closing the gap at the top of the leaderboard to just one point. That same battle saw Robert Kubica move within 14 points of Hamilton.

Grand Prix Report The drama of the Italian Grand Prix started even before the race as Felipe Massa had a moment under braking for the Ascari chicane as he made his way to the grid. The temperatures were down on Saturday with an ambient temperature of 14C and the track at 15C with light rain falling.

With five minutes to go FIA race director Charlie Whiting opted for a Safety Car start, the conditions being similar to the GP2 feature race the day before.

As the red lights went out Sebastien Bourdais's Toro Rosso failed to get away and he was pushed to the pitlane. The Frenchman would only join the race after the first lap, all chances of a points finish gone.

So the positions at the end of the opening lap were as the grid, minus Bourdais: Vettel, Kovalainen, Webber, Rosberg, Massa, Trulli, Alonso, Glock, Heidfeld, Kubica.

The Safety Car disappeared at the end of Lap 2 and Vettel showed no signs of his inexperience at the rolling start, coming under no pressure from Kovalainen and ending the first lap two seconds in the lead. Timo Glock passed Alonso on Lap 3 and Alonso returned the favour on Glock on Lap 4.

Lewis Hamilton showed signs of wanting to get past 13th placed Kimi Raikkonen on Lap 4. He overtook him into the second chicane and had to use the chicane run-off to keep his car under control and so very wisely gave the place back to the Ferrari driver. Both were tucked up behind a much slower Giancarlo Fisichella in the Force India.

Back at the front Sebastian Vettel was showing no stage fright at all, opening up a 5.8 second gap to Kovalainen by Lap 6. Timo Glock spun his Toyota on Lap 7 and lost a place to Robert Kubica.

Lewis was able to monster his McLaren over the kerbs of the second chicane much better than Kimi Raikkonen allowing him to take a look at the Finn going into the First Lesmo. Raikkonen then put Fisichella in between himself and Hamilton before Hamilton dragged his way past the Force India on the straight.

On Lap 11, Hamilton used his much faster line through the second chicane to chop inside Raikkonen into the Lesmo corners and his afternoon really got underway.

Felipa Massa was right up behind the Williams of Nico Rosberg and got past him with what looked like a straightforward overtaking move on Lap 13. He was advised to hand the place back and duly let Rosberg through again before waiting the now-fully-understood-one-corner before overtaking him again into Turn 1.

Free of the Williams, Massa started to put in successive fastest laps, lowering fastest time to 1:34.955 and then 1:34.950 and then 1:34.789 on Lap 18. At the same time as he was setting the quickest lap, Vettel stopped for his first pit-stop by which point he'd already got himself an 11 second lead.

Hamilton was working his way through the field, getting by Kubica on Lap 17, Alonso on Lap 19 and on Lap 22 he briefly passed Trulli before taking too much of the first chicane and handing the place back to the Toyota. A lap later and he secured P6 all over again.

Kovalainen, Webber and Massa all pitted together on Lap 22, leaving Vettel in the lead again with Rosberg (not stopped) now in P2 and Hamilton (not stopped) in P3. Though Lewis had started behind Raikkonen, the World Champion didn't share his enthusiasm for overtaking and soldiered on in P11.

Hamilton breezed past Nico Rosberg on Lap 24 and with his fuel load going down he set Fastest Lap to 1:24.324 on Lap 25 as Felipe Massa found himself behind the as-yet-to-stop Nick Heidfeld.

By Lap 27 Lewis had closed right on the back of Vettel when he dived in the pits for his one and only pit-stop. Had it come a couple of laps later and he might have won the race. Lewis resumed on the extreme wets, but David Coulthard chanced his luck with intermediates on Lap28 and Fernando Alonso, too, on Lap 30.

By the time Alonso pitted it was clear that Inters was the way to go and as the front-runners came in for their second stops on Laps 33 and 34 it was Inters for everyone Though Lewis Hamilton was able to lap at around 1:36 on his extreme wets, the same as Alonso's Renault, his tyres were rapidly degrading. There had been talk of more rain before the end of the race but it didn't materialise.

By Lap 37 he had to bow to the inevitable and accept that he was going to be caught by Massa and co. if he stayed on the same set of tyres and headed for the pits. He came out just in front of Mark Webber and just behind Felipe Massa. With Webber's tyres already up to temperature Hamilton didn't bother to defend into Turn 1 and the Red Bull got past him for P7.

Incredibly Hamilton set off after Webber and overtook him into the second chicane, it was a masterful overtaking move given that he'd only had braking experience of one turn before he had to pick his braking point and control his car off-line.

On Lap 38 the order was: Vettel, Kovalainen, Kubica, Alonso, Heidfeld, Massa, Hamilton, Webber in the points positions. Single stopping Robert Kubica, Fernando Alonso and Nick Heidfeld had all profited from making late stops and going straight onto intermediates and had leapfrogged the two-stopping Felipe Massa.

The way the drying track played out, it was only Vettel and Kovalainen who were able to make two stops work and Vettel continued to have a 10-second advantage over the Finn at the front.

Lewis reduced the Fastest Lap to 1:32.869 on Lap 38 and was three seconds quicker than Massa. He reduced the deficit to the Ferrari driver by three seconds on that one lap. But his charge towards P6 was too quick and he damaged his tyres in the pursuit. By Lap 44 he was going backwards from Massa again.

Kimi Raikkonen had had a quiet race and was way back in P14 on Lap 42, at which point he suddenly put the hammer down and began to pick up speed. He soon became far and away the quickest man on the circuit setting a new Fastest Lap on Lap 44 at 1:32.733. At the front, the Ferrari-engined Toro Rosso was also stretching its legs with Vettel extending his lead to 14.1 seconds.

Raikkonen's lap times were something to behold.
Lap 45: Fastest Lap: 1:32.555
Lap 46: Fastest Lap: 1:31.691
Lap 48: Fastest Lap: 1:30.130
Lap 49: Fastest Lap: 1:29.844
Lap 50: Fastest Lap: 1:29.639
Lap 52: Fastest Lap: 1:29.144
Lap 53: Fastest Lap: 1:28.047
...but he could only close up to P9 by the line.

Almost matching him for pace was Mark Webber who closed up on Lewis Hamilton and on Lap 48 tried the outside line going into the first chicane. It was never going to work, and as the cars closed on the braking zone, Webber tried to turn into Hamilton's front tyre and bounced into the chicane run-off. He wouldn't get as close again.

In the closing seven laps Kubica inched towards Kovalainen's second place and Vettel gave up a little of his advantage, but looked under no pressure. The 21-year-old German duly entered the record books as F1's youngest ever race winner. It was a fully deserved victory following his achievement of the youngest ever pole position.

In truth he had enjoyed a trouble-free afternoon using the advantage of a clear track to keep everyone else at bay, controlling the pace of the race with an assuredness that belied his age. Kovalainen followed him home but never looked a threat once the strategies were revealed and Kubica lucked into third place thanks to the timing of the stops.

The last time we had rain at Monza was 1985 and it may be another 23 years till we have as much overtaking incident or as much history made in one weekend.


01 S. Vettel Scuderia Toro Rosso 1:26:47.454
02 H. Kovalainen McLaren + 12.512
03 R. Kubica BMW + 20.471
04 F. Alonso Renault + 23.903
05 N. Heidfeld BMW + 27.748
06 F. Massa Ferrari + 28.816
07 L. Hamilton McLaren + 29.912
08 M. Webber Red Bull + 32.048
09 K. Räikkönen Ferrari + 39.468
10 N. Piquet jr. Renault + 54.445
11 T. Glock Toyota + 58.888
12 K. Nakajima Williams + 1:02.000
13 J. Trulli Toyota + 1:05.900
14 N. Rosberg Williams + 1:08.600
15 J. Button Honda + 1:13.300
16 D. Coulthard Red Bull + 1 laps
17 R. Barrichello Honda + 1 laps
18 S. Bourdais Scuderia Toro Rosso + 1 laps
19 A. Sutil Force India F1 + 2 laps
Did not finish
20 G. Fisichella Force India F1 + 41 laps

Italian GP: Vettel triumphs from pole to become circuit's youngest winner

Sunday 14th September 2008

MONZA, Italy -- Sebastian Vettel became the youngest driver to win a Formula One race Sunday, finishing first in a wet Italian Grand Prix he started from the pole.

The 21-year-old German driver edged Heikki Kovalainen of McLaren by 12.5 seconds on the slick Monza circuit to give Torro Rosso its first ever win.

Germany's Sebastian Vettel, 21, hoists the Italian Grand Prix trophy Sunday after edging Heikki Kovalainen in Monza, Italy. "For sure the best day of my life," Vettel said. "These pictures, these emotions -- I will never forget."

BMW-Sauber's Robert Kubica was third ahead of Fernando Alonso of Renault, while Nick Heidfeld of BMW-Sauber was fifth.

Felipe Massa finished sixth and is one point back in the overall standings behind Lewis Hamilton of McLaren, who worked his way up from 15th on the grid to finish seventh. Their are four races left in the season.

Lewis Hamilton worked his way up from 15th on the grid to finish seventh, maintaining his lead in the overall drivers' standings. Felipe Massa of Ferrari was sixth and now trails the McLaren driver by one point with four races left.

Neither Vettel nor his Toro Rosso team could contain their emotions as the young driver emerged onto the podium with fists pumping, before the champagne sprayed in all directions.

"Who would have thought about that at the beginning of the season?" Vettel said of Toro Rosso's chances. "We can be proud of ourselves, celebrating a victory. What a weekend."

Vettel never lost his nerve during the wettest race at Monza in 27 years as he broke Alonso's mark of F1's youngest winner. Alonso, a two-time world champion, was 22 when he won the 2003 Hungarian GP.

The safety car was brought out for the start with the steady drizzle failing to let up and all cars using extreme wet tires to navigate the damp track.

Vettel, who also was the youngest driver to start from the pole, held his position over Kovalainen on the flying start thanks to a clear track and none of the poor visibility that the rest of the field had to deal with from the tire spray.

"Being first [and] having no visibility problems at all I think was the key," said Vettel, who will replace David Coulthard at sister team Red Bull next season. "I could make a gap to Heikki straight away."

Kovalainen said a brake problem and his tires compromised his chance at challenging Vettel early on.

"It was not possible to win today," the Finnish driver said. "I was just trying to push and go faster. I think it was the maximum we could do today."

Vettel's teammate Sebastian Bourdais fell a lap behind at the start after his car stalled from fourth on the grid.

Hamilton eventually got past defending F1 champion Kimi Raikkonen of Ferrari and continued to overtake his rivals, moving up to eighth by the 17th lap.

Massa, who had started sixth, won a gripping overtaking duel with Nico Rosberg to move up into fourth before dropping back again.

Hamilton pitted later than many of his rivals and was trailing only Vettel by the time he stopped to refuel, while Raikkonen -- who trails Hamilton by 21 points -- was stuck behind the traffic in 10th by his first stop as the drizzle began to let up.

"It got more tricky in the middle of the race when there was no standing water anymore," Vettel said. "People went left and right looking for water to cool down the tires. It was very slippery."

Hamilton pushed Mark Webber out down the straight in the closing stages with the cars touching wheels to force the Red Bull driver off the track. Webber finished eighth for the final point.

Only Force India's Giancarlo Fisichella retired despite the slippery conditions.

Italian GP: Hamilton: Weather cost me victory

Sunday 14th September 2008

weather cost Hamilton victory

Lewis Hamilton has bemoaned the changing weather conditions during the Italian GP that he believes cost him victory at Monza.

The McLaren driver produced a storming display to charge through the field to as high as second at one stage. At that point in the race it appeared as if the World Championship leader could claim an unlikely victory but was forced to make an emergency pit-stop for intermediate tyres that saw him finish behind Felipe Massa.

"I wasn't lucky today," Hamilton bemoaned. "If it had rained I would have won.

"I drove really well. I took it easy at the start and then decided to close in and hunt them down. I pulled off some good moves."

The Englishman evidently doesn't believe in false modesty.

However, Hamilton did acknowledge that he overcooked his tyres as he sought to overtake Massa in the closing stages.

"Once I got behind Felipe I overcooked the tyres and after that I struggled to stay with him. But I'm happy with that result. At least it was damage limitation."

Hamilton's lead of the World Championship now stands at a single point pending the appeal against his demotion following the Belgian GP.

Belgian GP

Hamilton wins in Belgium
Hamilton and massa
Hamilton and Raikonnen 0
Hamilton and Raikonnen 1
Hamilton and Raikonnen 2
Raikkonen crashes 1
Raikkonen crashes 2
Belgian babes
Ron Denis of Mclaren with Hamilton

Forgive Them,

For They Know Not What They Have Done

Sunday 7th September 2008

Lewis hamilton

In stripping Lewis Hamilton of his victory in the Belgian GP, race stewards have made a mockery of what was once a sport...

This is not what sport or F1 is meant to be. Winning a race should be a black-and-white business. The driver of the car that crosses the line in first place is the winner and the glory is his. End of story. It is a sacrosanct principle and any violation of it can only be considered - let alone applied - in the most extreme of circumstances and with the supported of the most overwhelming weight of evidence. The results of a grand prix should be determined, like in any other sport, in its sporting arena, not in unseen backrooms by unknown officials. For that is politics, not sport, not F1.

This is the void and guiding principle that the race stewards of the Belgian GP leapt over - by their own impetus, it should be noted, for there was no protest made by Ferrari or any of McLaren's other competitors - when they delivered their notification of 'an investigation into an incident between cars 1 and 22' just at the moment Lewis Hamilton was being physically blocked by a Spa race official from celebrating victory with his McLaren engineers. That moment in the pits - the pits, a jobsworth denying the appreciation of sporting achievement - would gain a poignant resonance as night fell. Winning the already-quickly-forgotten Greatest Grand Prix in Living Memory will be the cause of obituaries rather than celebration.

The blurring of the distinction between politics and sport in F1 had already become a popular lament long before Sunday. F1 is a spectacularly political sport. Yet rarely, if ever, has it made such a leap from one to the other based on so little. For where is the justification in stripping Hamilton of victory? No, do not misread 'where' for 'what' nor confuse the plea for justification as the herald for further debate on whether Hamilton gained an advantage after he cut the chicane. Instead, consider the lack of justification cited by the stewards, who, remaining cloaked in anonymity, are still yet to offer any explanation for their punishment other than cite the terms of the offence and announce its punishment. Not a word of insight has been forthcoming, nor a single piece of telemetry or testimony in support.

Given their absolute abuse of sport's most absolute principle, that silence is deafening. If the decision to strip Hamilton of his victory was to be made then the evidence had to be overwhelming, so clinical that it prevented any dissent. That none has been supplied, that identifying the winner of the Belgian GP has been reduced to a matter of debate, lays the sport bare.

And the debate will rage on, as perplexing as well as an unacceptable state of affairs given that the terms of the debate are unknown. For what is it that Hamilton has been found guilty of? Observing, as per the 30-word press release the FIA filed announcing that the result of the Belgian GP was no longer the result of the Belgian GP, that Hamilton was guilty of "cutting the chicane" tells us nothing that none of us have not already seen. The stewards - and their Ferrari-supporting apologists - might well retort that they do not have to provide any commentary other than a verdict. But that misses the point and avoids entirely the repercussions and significance of a decision which makes explanation essential.

Is it that Hamilton has been punished for deliberately seeking an advantage by deliberately steering over the chicane? Or is it for inadvertently gaining an advantage by avoiding an avoidable accident? Is it for gaining an advantage but not satisfactorily or adequately surrendering it? Or is it that he has been found guilty of exploiting an advantage that was neither his by right nor no longer in his possession, deemed to have broken the spirit of the rules if not the wording?

Or is it due to motives altogether different, altogether more political? It must be, for, in the absence of all other explanation, only that suspicion can begin to explain the desecration of what was once a sport.

Pete Gill

Belgian GP: Lewis Wins The Race Of The Year

Sunday 7th September 2008

Lewis Hamilton won what has to be billed as the race of the season, taking the victory in the Belgian GP after an awesome tussle with Kimi Raikkonen and the rain.

Raikkonen took the lead of the grand prix from Hamilton on the second lap after the Brit spun his MP4-23 and maintained a two to five second lead over him all the way to the third last lap.

That was when the rain came down!

The wet track played havoc with the race order, however, it was Hamilton who was best able to control his car, instantly closing up on Raikkonen. The Brit took the lead but cut the chicane, which meant he had to give it back to the reigning Champ. However, one corner later he was back in front.

Raikkonen, though, wasn't going to give up the fight, coming back at Hamilton to take the lead when he went off the track. Moments later, though, Raikkonen himself spun giving Hamilton back the lead while any chance of the Ferrari driver continuing the fight ended seconds later when he put his F2008 into the wall.

Raikkonen's retirement meant that Felipe Massa finished in second place while a quick-thinking BMW team ensured Nick Heidfeld moved from seventh to third in just three laps after opting to put wet tyres on his F1.08.

Race Report The circuit was drying after morning showers as the teams made the last-minute choice of whether to start on Intermediates or the softer of the dry tyres. The temperatures were down at 16C ambient and 16C on the track. Though rain wasn't predicted for the first 30 minutes of the race, at Spa there is always the chance of a downpour when you least expect it.

The start of the lap, at La Source, was wet and the end of the lap at the Bus Stop was wet, but in between was dry.

As the tyre warmers came off, all the teams had gone for soft dry weather tyres with the exception of Nelson Piquet Junior.

When the red lights went out Lewis Hamilton got a good start, more than out-dragging P2 Felipe Massa into the often hazardous La Source hairpin. It was a dismal start for P3 Heikki Kovalainen, though, the Finn failing to get away with any speed and getting swallowed up by the pack. At one stage on Lap 1 he'd fallen back to P13.

Jarno Trulli had the most brilliant of starts scooting up the inside into Turn 1, making up four or five places, before getting slammed in the back by Sebsatien Bourdais under braking and pushed wide. Jarno continued but lost places after a spin at the Bus Stop.

The beneficiary of this carnage was that Bourdais moved up to P4, but he would be passed by Fernando Alonso before the end of the lap to drop down to P5. Team-mate Sebastian Vettel, who often excels in the wet had a poor start and fell back.

As they crossed the line at the end of the opening lap the positions were: 1.Hamilton, 2.Raikkonen, 3.Massa, 4.Alonso, 5.Bourdais, 6.Piquet, 7.Webber, 8.Kubica, 9.Glock. 10. Heidfeld 11.Kovalainen, 12.Vettel

Nelson Piquet Junior made the most of his intermediate tyres to make up places, but he would start going backwards from that point on. His team-mate Fernando Alonso set the fastest lap on Lap 2, but it was the battle between Hamilton, Massa and Raikkonen that held everyone's attention in the opening two laps.

Raikkonen had made a majestic pass on Massa through Eau Rouge on the opening lap and edged across his team-mate on the straight up to Les Combes to take P2 off Felipe (doubly impressive when you take into account that Massa had less wing on than Raikkonen and was able to go consistently quicker than Raikkonen in Sector 1 for the rest of the race.) Then he set about closing down Hamilton.

The job was made easier for him by Hamilton at the beginning of Lap 2. The World Champion, who had reported a consistent problem locking his tyres in La Source during practice and also on his pole lap, spun briefly at the hairpin allowing Raikkonen to close right up and overtake him on the outside as the cars headed for Les Combes.

Kimi then set about edging out a lead - he set Fastest Laps on Laps 3 and 4, while Hamilton responded with fastest on Laps 5 and 6. It was immediately clear that these two were faster than Felipe Massa who began to drop back, if only by a few tenths a lap.

Heikki Kovalainen began to make places up through the field. On Lap 4 he'd got back to P8 demoting Nelson Piquet to P9. By Lap 9 he'd managed to get past Robert Kubica and into P7.

Raikkonen's speed in Sector 2 was the most impressive part of his lap. As he notched up the Fastest Lap again on Lap 7 (1:49.710) he was over a second quicker than Massa in S2. Lewis was hanging on, though, and when Kimi lowered the Fastest Lap to 1:49.108 on Lap 8, Lewis replied with a 1:49.118.

Kovalainen's afternoon took a turn for the worse when he tried to take P6 off Mark Webber on Lap 10. Closing quickly on the Red Bull he made an ineffectual lunge at the Red Bull going into the Bus Stop chicane. It was a half-hearted move where Kovalainen hit Webber's right rear with his front left and spun the Red Bull around.

It was clumsey and was soon under investigation from the race stewards, who announced a drive-though penalty a lap later. There have been many similar incidents in F1 this season that haven't attracted any kind of penalty and would prompt post-race speculation because yet again it was a McLaren that received the penalty.

Hamilton pitted at the end of Lap 11 and came back into traffic, Raikkonen pitted at the end of Lap 12 and increased his advantage, while Felipe Massa pitted at the end of Lap 13 and closed up the gap to Hamilton. Lewis had been 5.5 seconds ahead of Felipe going into the stops but afterwards was only 3.0 seconds in front. All three cars chose another set of soft tyres.

On Lap 15 Nelson Piquet Junior became the first casualty of the race by losing control of his car at the Fagne chicane and throwing the car into the barriers.

Kimi Raikkonen, already with a 5.7 lead to Hamilton wasn't going to settle for that. He started to reduce the Fastest Lap, moving it down to 1:48.229 on Lap 17 and 1:47.932 on Lap 19. The front three were very evenly matched in terms of lap time, though achieving it by very different methods. Massa was far quicker in Sectors 1 and 3 and lost a lot of time in Sector 2. Raikkonen and Hamilton were better matched through the lap with Raikkonen having the edge in S2 and S3.

Behind them Fernando Alonso was running in a lonely P4 - over twenty seconds back by Lap 20. Robert Kubica had closed up to Sebastien Bourdais to threaten his P5.

Towards the latter half of the second stint, though, Massa's times began to fall off and on Lap 22 he was a whole second slower than Raikkonen in S2 alone. Back in P9 and P10, neither Timo Glock nor Nico Rosberg had made their first stops, yet the leading Ferrari and the second placed McLaren were approaching their second.

Both pitted on Lap 25, when Raikkonen had a 5.8 gap to Hamilton and Hamilton had establed a 6.1 second advantage over Massa. Now with the hard tyres the McLaren likes best, Lewis was able to start reeling Raikkonen in. By Lap 28 he'd reduced the deficit to 2.4 seconds and on Lap 29 (of 44) it was just 1.9 seconds.

On Lap 30 the race order was: 1.Raikkonen, 2.Hamilton, 3.Massa, 4.Bourdais (still to stop again), 5.Kubica (still to stop again), 6.Vettel (still to stop again), 7.Heidfeld (still to stop again), 8.Alonso, 9.Webber (still to stop again), 10.Kovalainen.

Though Hamilton was close to Raikkonen on the track, he couldn't close the gap to anything less than 1.7 seconds and Massa wasn't giving up by any means. On the hard tyres, he too was making great progress and with nine laps to go was just 3.1 behind the Brit.

The pit-stops had played out by now and Alonso moved up to P4, followed by Bourdais alone in P5. Robert Kubica had been delayed during his stop and fallen back to P8, behind Vettel P6 and Heidfeld P7.

On Lap 37 Fernando Alonso reported on race radio that rain was falling on the circuit. It had been predicted by race control on Lap 26 to fall in 20 minutes time, but only now the first stops began to affect the cars.

The beneficiary was Lewis Hamilton who started to close on Raikkonen and by Lap 40 was just 0.9 back and looking threatening. He made a mistake going into the bus-stop on Lap 41 and let the gap open out to 2.0 again, but was soon right up with the Finn. Massa, though not falling back by much, held a watching brief.

On Lap 42 the cars began to get very twitchy as the lap times started to fall. Hamilton, now, was considerably quicker than Raikkonen's Ferrari and swept past him on the outside going into the Bus Stop chicane. Though the Mclaren was actually in front Raikkonen left no room for Hamilton to turn in without crashing into him and forced Lewis into the run-off tarmac, skipping the chicane.

Hamilton realising he'd cut the chicane was radioed by his McLaren team to give back the place and duly let Raikkonen by before the Start/Finish line. He followed him down to La Source and jinked inside him going into the hairpin. Raikkonen tried to cut back underneath and nerfed the Mclaren's rear tyre. The same move in Turkey had punctured Kovalainen's tyre but it held.

Up and down the field the order was beginning to change as more rain fell.

Raikkonen was not finished yet. He pursued Hamilton all the way up to Les Combes and almost missed his braking point. Going down the hill into Pouhon he shot off wide and onto the run-off tarmac, but he still had Lewis in his sights. Then a stroke of luck for Kimi. Nico Rosberg's Williams had gone off in front of them both and was about to rejoin the track just as Lewis turned the corner.

Alerted by the waved yellows of the flag marshal Hamilton slowed and had to run off track, while Kimi maintained more speed and managed to steer round the outside of the slow Williams and keep on the circuit. Though Raikkonen overtook under waved yellows he wasn't about to give up the place now that he was ahead and Hamilton had to follow on behind him. As this was happening Nick Heidfeld made the very wise choice of stopping for some last minute intermediate tyres from 7th place.

Raikkonen led Hamilton for about 300 metres before snapping into a spin and narrowly missing the barriers, surrendering the lead yet again.As he rejoined, Felipe Massa hove into view round the turn and was able to see his team-mate skeeter round Blanchimont and then lose control on the exit, spinning round this time and taking off the nose of his car.

Raikkonen was out on the spot and Massa set off after Hamilton. Alonso who had inherited P3 decided to go for some last-minute intermediates.

The final lap was one of tip-toeing around a drenched track and trying to keep on the black stuff. Hamilton managed to keep his emotions under control and by the line was 14 seconds ahead of Massa. Heifeld steamed round his final lap picking up three places in the space of two corners and finished on the podium. Alonso also managed to take 4th place in the dying moments of the race.

Though the stewards decided to investigate the Hamilton versus Raikkonen incident at the chicane - it's unsure why they wouldn't investigate the incident with Rosberg.

A fabulous win for Hamilton and one he thoroughly deserved. Any other result will leave the sport in serious need of some credibility.

01 L. Hamilton McLaren 1:22:44.933
02 F. Massa Ferrari + 14.400
03 N. Heidfeld BMW + 23.800
04 F. Alonso Renault + 28.900
05 S. Vettel Scuderia Toro Rosso + 29.000
06 R. Kubica BMW + 29.4000
07 S. Bourdais Scuderia Toro Rosso + 31.100
08 T. Glock Toyota + 56.500
09 M. Webber Red Bull + 57.200
10 H. Kovalainen McLaren + 1 laps
11 D. Coulthard Red Bull + 1 laps
12 N. Rosberg Williams + 1 laps
13 A. Sutil Force India F1 + 1 laps
14 K. Nakajima Williams + 1 laps
15 J. Button Honda + 1 laps
16 J. Trulli Toyota + 1 laps
17 G. Fisichella Force India F1 + 1 laps
Did not finish
18 K. Räikkönen Ferrari + 3 laps
19 R. Barrichello Honda + 24 laps
20 N. Piquet jr. Renault + 31 laps 

Belgian GP: Hamilton stripped of Belgium GP victory

Sunday 7th September 2008

In a hugely controversial decision, Lewis Hamilton has been stripped of his victory in the Belgium GP.

After reviewing footage of his duel with Kimi Raikkonen in which he cut the chicane on the corner before he overtook the Finn's Ferrari, race stewards have added twenty-five seconds to Hamilton's race time despite the McLaren slowing to let Raikkonen retake his lead.

As a result of the stewards' punishment, Hamilton has been demoted to third from first and, with Felipe Massa handed the race victory instead, the Englishman's lead of the World Championship has been cut to just two points. Had the result stood, Hamilton's lead would have amounted to eight points.

Speaking after the race, Raikkonen pointedly refused to absolve his rival of any wrongdoing.

"There are rules about cutting chicanes and gaining an advantage and the stewards are looking it. So I don't have anything to say," the Finn said.

Hamilton himself - along with McLaren boss Ron Dennis who revealed that the team had contacted Race Director during the race to check that Hamilton had acted within the rules - was adamant that not advantage had been gained after he allowed Raikkonen to retake the lead.

"Firstly, Kimi ran me wide. To avoid an incident, I had to go up that part of the track. There was no advantage. I lifted along the straight. I clearly let him past."

McLaren and Hamilton have yet to comment on the ruling.


Felipe Massa has been declared winner of the Belgian Grand Prix after Lewis Hamilton was given a 25-second penalty for an illegal maneuver.

Hamilton finished first Sunday after dramatically overtaking Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen, but race stewards said he had cut across a chicane to gain an advantage before passing the defending world champion.

Raikkonen later spun off the track while trying to catch the McLaren driver. Hamilton was demoted to third place, with BMW Sauber's Nick Heidfeld promoted to second.

Belgian GP: McLaren will appeal

Sunday 7th September 2008

McLaren will fight the punishment that saw Lewis Hamilton stripped of his victory in the Belgian Grand Prix.

Stewards hit the British driver with a 25-second penalty, demoting him to third, for cutting a chicane as he battled with Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen.

But a McLaren spokesman said: "Having passed the lead back to Kimi, Lewis repositioned, moving his car across and behind Kimi to the right-hand line.

"He then outbraked him into the hairpin. We intend to appeal."

It is now up to the FIA Court of Appeal to determine whether McLaren have grounds to pursue their complaint, otherwise it will simply be withdrawn.

The incident that led to the penalty arrived at the end of lap 42 as the rain Hamilton had been praying for duly arrived.

It allowed Formula One's wet-weather king to reel in leader Raikkonen, and on approach to the Bus Stop chicane, he had the Finn in his sights.

If there's a penalty, then there's something wrong because I was ahead going into that corner, so I didn't gain an advantage from it.

Hamilton darted around the outside, both drivers locked up their brakes on entry, and Hamilton took evasive action by using a run-off area to his left.

Returning to the track in the lead, the 23-year-old knew he had to yield his position, otherwise he would have been duly penalised.

The young Briton appeared to do so, with Raikkonen crossing the start-finish line narrowly ahead, before Hamilton promptly filed in behind.

Taking up the slipstream, he then overtook reigning world champion Raikkonen on entry to the La Source hairpin.

But race stewards Nicholas Deschaux, Surinder Thatti and Yves Bacquelaine saw things differently.

The McLaren spokesman said: "We looked at all our data, and also made it available to the FIA stewards.

"It showed that, having lifted [off the accelerator], Lewis was 6kph slower than Kimi as they crossed the start-finish line.

"Based on this data, we have no option other than to register our intention to appeal.

"We are a racing team and we will now focus on Monza (the Italian Grand Prix next Sunday), with a view to extending our lead in the drivers' world championship."

Despite his joy at the apparent win, describing his fight with Raikkonen as "one of the most exciting for a long time," Hamilton perhaps had an inkling as to what might transpire.

How much longer will McLaren and their sponsors put up with this latest put-down? Although it won't make a scrap of difference, I won't be following the Grand Prix season any more. Shameful all round.

Asked prior to the penalty whether he would be surprised if the stewards did punish him, Hamilton replied: "If there's a penalty, then there's something wrong because I was ahead going into that corner, so I didn't gain an advantage from it.

"We were still able to race at the next corner and I gave him his spot back, and I think it was fair and square."

Ferrari team principal Stefano Domenicali was thrilled with the turn of events, however, saying: "I have often said the race is not over until the official results are published and that was the case today."

Not for the first time this season Hamilton has incurred the wrath of the stewards, initially in Bahrain when he and team-mate Heikki Kovalainen were handed five-place grid penalties for impeding other drivers in qualifying.

Hamilton was then demoted 10 places for the French Grand Prix after driving into the back of Raikkonen in the pit lane in the previous race in Canada.

Add in the drive-through penalty in Magny-Cours and a 5,000 euros fine for being late to a press conference in Valencia a fortnight ago, and it has been a miserable year in one respect for Hamilton.

But win or lose the appeal, he still has a lead going into the final five races of the season.

Belgian GP: Hamilton defends his move

Monday 8th September 2008

Anthony Hamilton Senior

Lewis Hamilton has defended his move at the Belgian GP which saw him demoted from first down to third place after controversially being retrospectively penalised.

Hamilton was involved in a ding-dong battle with Kimi Raikkonen when he was forced to cut straight through the chicane at Spa-Francorchamps.

The move saw Hamilton overtake the Ferrari man but immediately he slowed to allow the Finn back in front, knowing that he would be handed a penalty if he did not.

23-year-old Hamilton legitimately passed Hamilton soon after but hours after the race the FIA stewards then revealed that they had decided to demote the Briton down to third for his actions.

Hamilton instantly saw his Drivers' title lead skimmed from eight points to two and, as McLaren launch an appeal, the driver insists he acted properly.

"It began to rain," said Hamilton.

"I caught Kimi and I got a good tow from him down the back straight and I was in a good position to dive down the inside at Turn 18.

"He covered his spot, which was fair, but he braked very early, so I was able to outbrake him and go around the outside, which I did.

"I left him enough room. I didn't close the gap so much that he had to go on a kerb.

"Yet he accelerated, or picked up more pace going into the corner, and drove me as wide as he possibly could. I had no road left.

"There was a question I had to ask: if I stay where I am, I'm going to go over the Astroturf - there's some of it behind the last kerb - or go over it and hit him. Or I go left.

"That was the option I had to do, and I did it.

"But I knew I had to let him past, and also the team came over the radio and said 'you have to let him past' which I did.

"I was accelerating so that I didn't lose too much ground because I thought that would be unfair.

"Fortunately I got back in his slipstream, and again he moved to the inside and back to the outside.

"Again, I dodged him and went up the inside and at the apex to the corner he hit me at the back, and that nearly caused me to spin.

"Fortunately I kept hold of it and went on from there. That was a great fight and I don't think there was anything wrong there.

"The rules say you should let him back past which I did."

Asked as to whether he would be surprised if the stewards punished him, Hamilton replied: "Absolutely, absolutely.

"This is motor racing and if there's a penalty, then there's something wrong because I was ahead going into that corner, so I didn't gain an advantage from it.

"We were still able to race at the next corner and I gave him his spot back, and I think it was fair and square, so I think it would be absolutely wrong."

FIA rules state that is not possible to appeal in relation to a drive-through penalty, but the case could now go to the FIA Court of Appeal.


For a black man to win he has to be ten times as good as a white man.

We don't seem to hear any more about Max Moseley.
I wonder why?

The problem is that Lewis Hamilton is ten times as good as the rest of them and they don't like it.

He has been hit by a string of controversial decisions and penalties like a 5000 Euro fine, 10 second drive through penalties and now this latest insult.

What the rest of them won't like is that he will still win in spite of everything.

European GP Valencia

Massa wins in Valencia

Euro GP Report:Massa Wins Despite Fine

Sunday 24th August 2008

Felipe Massa clinched the inaugural Valencia GP win ahead of Lewis Hamilton in what proved to be a mixed day out for Ferrari.

Massa led the grand prix from start to finish only reliquishing his P1 slot when he came into the pits. Though the stewards decided to investigate a near-collision with Adrian Sutil in the pitlane (brought on by Massa's "unsafe release"), it was decided that the incident was worthy of only a fine and a reprimand to Massa.

Team-mate Kimi Raikkonen, though, put one of his mechanics in hospital with a botched pit-stop and the Finn's engine blew moments after the incident, leaving him without a single point.

The podium was completed by BMW's Robert Kubica who put in another solid performance to ensure he remains the fourth man in this year's title race.

Race Report

The sun shone on Valencia docks as the cars rolled out for the inaugural GP with an ambient temperature of 29C and the track at 44C. Only Nico Rosberg in the Williams would start the race on the Bridgestone Supersofts.

As the lights went out Felipe Massa got a great start from pole, while Lewis Hamilton, on the dirtier side of the grid, came under pressure from Robert Kubica. Kubica had a look down the inside of Hamilton into Turn 2 but thought better of it and backed out to protect his third place.

Raikkonen, starting from P4 on the grid, was slow off the line allowing Kovalainen through and up into his fourth place. In fact Raikkonen's getaway was so poor that he came under pressure from Vettel who banged wheels with the Ferrari in Turn 2.

As the cars continued round the opening lap, there was huge disappointment for the Spanish crowd who had come to see Fernando Alonso. Alonso braked harder than the following Nakajima expected in Turn 4 and the Williams hit the rear of the Renault hard, taking off his own front wing and Alonso's rear wing.

Alonso limped back to the pits to see if he could get a replacement, but there was too much damage at the rear of the car for him to continue.

As the cars crossed the line on Lap 1 it was 1.Massa, 2.Hamilton, 3.Kubica, 4.Kovalainen, 5.Raikkonen, 6.Vettel, 7.Trulli, 8.Rosberg, 9.Heidfeld, 10.Glock,


Hamilton and Mass traded fastest laps on Laps 2 and 3, starting a trend that would continue for the whole race. The Ferrari and the Mclaren driver were head and shoulders faster than anyone else in the race and were the only two men to set a Fastest Lap in the grand prix.

However the overwhelming number of Fastest Laps were to go to Felipe Massa who reduced it to 1:40.160 on Lap 5, 1:40.091 on Lap 6, while Hamilton took it down to 1:40.090 on Lap 7. From then on it was the Felipe show. By Lap 11 it was 1:39.265 and he had a 4.2 second advantage over Hamilton.

An innocent David Coulthard had been punted backwards on the opening lap and overtook Nelson Piquet Junior for 16th on Lap 5, one of the few overtaking moves of the day. A few laps later he over-extended himself trying to get past Adrian Sutil and banged wheels and spun his Red Bull back to 18th place.

As Massa was drawing away from Hamilton, Hamilton was putting an even bigger gap between himself and third placed Robert Kubica.

Massa's first pit-stop came at the end of Lap 15 at which point he had a 4.8 second gap to Hamilton. He exited the pitlane just in front of Kimi Raikkonen and just behind Heikki Kovalainen who, having been caught up by Raikkonen, now had a heavy Massa holding his fellow Finn up.

Hamilton instantly put the hammer down and collected the Fastest Lap of the race so far with a 1:38.884 on Lap 16. But it was only two laps before he was due in for fuel and when the Brit came back out on track Massa's advantage had shrunk from 4.8 to 3.0 seconds.

Jarno Trulli managed to leap-frog Sebastian Vettel in the first round of pit-stops and the order on lap 21 was: 1.Massa, 2.Hamilton, 3.Kubica, 4.Kovalainen, 5.Heidfeld (not stopped), 6.Glock (not stopped), 7.Raikkonen, 8.Trulli, 9.Vettel.

It was in the middle stint that Felipe Massa began to establish a race-winning lead. On Lap 22 the gap to Hamilton was 3.8 seconds, by Lap 31 it was 8.4 seconds.

Timo Glock continued his Hungarian GP form by resisting a pit-stop until Lap 30 when he finally pitted from fifth place. He had been positioned between fourth placed Heikki Kovalainen and sixth placed Kimi Raikkonen and once the German disappeared Raikkonen began to close the gap to the McLaren driver.

On Lap 32 Lewis managed to break the trend and go faster than Massa, but Felipe responded by setting the Fastest Lap at 1:38.840 on Lap 34, and then a lap later at 1:38.757, and then a lap later at 1:37.708 before pitting for the second time. When he came in he was 10.2 seconds ahead of Hamilton.

Massa was now in a class of his own and Hamilton was setting times akin to the rest of the front-runners.

However at the end of Massa's pit-stop the Ferrari was released directly alongside the Force-India of Adrian Sutil. They continued side by side for a second before common sense kicked in and Massa backed off before he collided with the end of the narrow pitlane exit. It looked an unnecessarily dangerous manoeuvre and the stewards agreed - two laps later it was announced they were investigating the incident involving car No.2 (Massa).

Bizarrely for a set of stewards who had been emphatic enough to enforce a 10,000 euro fine on Fernando Alonso for crossing the white pitlane entry line in practice, they decided they wouldn't come to a decision during the race and deferred it till afterwards. So - disappointingly - the race result would be provisional.

Lewis Hamilton pitted from P1 at the end of Lap 39 and came out just ahead of Robert Kubica in P2. By this time Kimi Raikkonen had reduced the gap to Kovalainen to just 1.3 seconds. Worryingly, the flag marshals thought that Kovalainen was in a Force India and started waving blue flags at him.

Adrian Sutil spun his car gently into the barriers on Lap 42, but even that was too mild to bring out the much-anticipated Safety Car.

Kimi Raikkonen came in for his final pit-stop at the same time as Heikki Kovalainen on Lap 44. If Kovalainen could beat him out onto the track, then he was likely to retain his fourth place. Maybe this was praying on Raikkonen's mind as he appeared to set off too early from the Ferrari pitbox, before the fueling rig was clear.

The result was that the Ferrari fuel man was run over and injured and Raikkonen's pit-stop badly compromised. Kimi departed to pick up sixth place, while the mechanic was rushed off with non life-threatening injuries.

On Lap 45 the positions were now: 1.Massa, 2.Hamilton, 3.Kubica, 4.Kovalainen, 5.Trulli, 6.Raikkonen, 7.Vettel, 8.Glock, 9.Rosberg, 10.Heidfeld.

Massa's gap to Hamilton was 7.1 seconds, the Brazilian not extending his lead by much over a lap now. Though he would probably have been alarmed to see the smoke of Ferrari team-mate Kimi Raikkonen as his engine let go crossing the start-finish line on Lap 47. Raikkonen's failure was the second successive engine blow-out for the Scuderia in two races.

Though Massa managed to eke out the gap to Hamilton to as much as 8.6 seconds on Lap 54, that's as big as it got. At the line he was just 5.6 seconds ahead and the race order was the same as at Lap 45, though minus Raikkonen.

There had been little real drama, even less on-track action and a disappointing result for the home crowd in the first Valencia GP.

Massa took a thoroughly deserved win from Hamilton, Kubica, Kovalainen, Trulli and Vettel. The Brazilian had been head and shoulders the best driver out there, though he inadvertently collected the biggest laugh of the day by intimating in the press conference that Sutil should have slowed down to let him out in the pitlane. As if that ever was going to happen.



01 F. Massa Ferrari 1:35:32.339
02 L. Hamilton McLaren + 5.600
03 R. Kubica BMW + 37.300
04 H. Kovalainen McLaren + 39.700
05 J. Trulli Toyota + 50.600
06 S. Vettel Scuderia Toro Rosso + 52.600
07 T. Glock Toyota + 1:07.900
08 N. Rosberg Williams + 1:11.400
09 N. Heidfeld BMW + 1:22.100
10 S. Bourdais Scuderia Toro Rosso + 1:29.700
11 N. Piquet jr. Renault + 1:32.700
12 M. Webber Red Bull + 1 laps
13 J. Button Honda + 1 laps
14 G. Fisichella Force India F1 + 1 laps
15 K. Nakajima Williams + 1 laps
16 R. Barrichello Honda + 1 laps
17 D. Coulthard Red Bull + 1 laps
18 K. Räikkönen Ferrari + 12 laps
Did not finish
19 A. Sutil Force India F1 + 16 laps
20 F. Alonso Renault + 56 laps

Hungarian GP

Heikki Kovalainen's steady pressure on Felipe Massa

Hungarian GP: Kovalainen Gifted Maiden Win

Sunday 3rd August 2008

Heikki Kovalainen's steady pressure on Felipe Massa finally paid off as the Brazilian's engine failed him just two laps from the end of the Hungarian GP, gifting the Finn his maiden win.

The Brazilian had been leading since the first lap when he pulled off an audacious overtaking move round the outside to take the lead off Lewis Hamilton in Turn 1.

Massa edged a slender five second gap to Hamilton until a tyre failure cost the McLaren driver any chance of a podium

The drama, though, wasn't over as Massa suffered an engine failure just three laps from the finish line, stopping his car on the pit straight, his third retirement of the season.

Massa's bad luck, though, was Kovalainen's good fortune as the Finn was handed his first grand prix victory, finishing 11 seconds ahead of Toyota's Timo Glock. Kimi Raikkonen was third ahead of Fernando Alonso and Lewis Hamilton.

Race Report

The ambient temperature at the Hungaroring was 29C and the track at 45C in blazing sunshine as Lewis Hamilton led the field round on the parade lap.

The dusty Budapest race track is never kind to those starting on the inside line, on the even grid numbers, and so it proved as the red lights went out. Felipe Massa in P3 easily cruised round Heikki Kovalainen in P2 as Lewis Hamilton moved across to defend the inside line.

In effect he moved too far, allowing Massa to tuck in behind him and then slingshot round the outside of Turn 1 as Hamilton's angle of approach was too narrow. Though he locked his brakes momentarily, it was a magiificent pass and as his pitcrew punched the air, Massa headed off to Turn 2 in the lead.

It was a similar story back down the grid. Robert Kubica lost his 4th place to 5th on the grid Timo Glock, while Kimi Raikkonen lost his 6th place to 7th on the grid Fernando Alonso - thus a bit of dust on the start/finish straight was responsible for an afternoon of staring at the Renault rear wing for Raikkonen.

As they crossed the line on the opening tour it was Massa from Hamilton, Kovalainen, Glock, Kubica, Alonso, Raikkonen, Webber, Trulli, Piquet and David Coulthard. Sebastian Vettel had another of his nightmare opening laps and slumped down the field from a good qualifying position.

Though McLaren's qualifying pace had been much faster, Massa started to open a very gradual gap to Hamilton and established a series of impressive fastest laps. Lewis dropped back by about 0.2 a lap and almost looked like he was saving fuel.

By Lap 9 Massa had a lead of 2.2 seconds while Hamilton was five seconds clear of team-mate Kovalainen. On Laps 11 and 14 the Brit managed to go faster than the Brazilian, but it was a rare moment and by Lap 16, a total of nine fastest laps had given Massa a 3.2 second edge.

Behind him everyone held station, but it was clear that Timo Glock's superb qualifying performance was not down to an absence of fuel in the car. On Laps 14, 15 and 16, he put in the fastest (purple) sector of the race and pitted after race leader Felipe Massa.

Massa came in on Lap 18 and rejoined in front of the Alonso vs Raikkonen battle. Surprisingly, Hamilton came in just a lap later and took on more fuel than his rival (estimated to be about 3 or 4 more laps worth) and rejoined behind Fernando and Kimi.

Glock pitted on Lap 20 and Kovalainen gave back the lead to Massa on Lap 21.

Sebastian Vettel became the first of three retirements when his pit-stop was botched and the car overheated. Just around the same time, the FIA computer decided that Raikkonen had STOPPED and a few laps after his pit-stop, had him pitting again. All false, of course.

The closest pit-stop battle was between Alonso and Raikkonen, and having followed him since the start of the race, the Ferrari crew failed to get their man out in front of the Renault. However with more fuel on board, Raikkonen only had to wait till next time round.

With all the frontrunners stopped, the Massa to Hamilton gap was wavering between 3.3 and 2.7 seconds. The race order on Lap 27 was 1.Massa, 2.Hamilton, 3.Kovalainen, 4.Glock, 5.Coulthard (not sopped) 6.Alonso, 7.Raikkonen, 8.Piquet, 9.Trulli, 10.Kubica.

The big loser of the first round of pit-stops had been Robert Kubica who had now dropped from 4th on the grid to a net 9th place.

With some of the tail-end cars that had run longer in their first stints now refuelling, the pitlane had suddenly become hazardous. Bourdais came in for his stop and was covered in extinguisher foam as a spillage was quickly contained and the Frenchman sent on his way.

Nakajima for Williams-Toyota and Barrichello for Honda suffered the same fate and the immediate diagnosis was that fuel in the nozzle was overheating. It didn't seem to be a problem on the cars stopping earlier.

By Lap 40 Felipe Massa had edged the gap out to 5.0 seconds when all of a sudden, the race changed complexion entirely.

On Lap 42, Lewis's Sector 1 time came up as 33 seconds instead of 29.5. Cameras then switched to him out on the track with a deflating front left tyre. Luckily it was in the window where he could come in for his second pit-stop, but he lost a tremendous amount of places as he limped back to the pits (reminiscent of Turkey in 2007) to get new rubber.

What's more he would have to preserve a set of the fast-graining supersoft tyres for 28 laps, meaning a hard charge was out of the question. He rejoined in P11, though the earliest of the two-stoppers.

Hamilton's misfortune immediately handed Massa a 24 second lead and the Ferrari driver effectively had it in the bag. He pitted very early, on Lap 43, giving the McLaren team a glimpse of what might have been if Lewis had been only five seconds back. By contrast, 3rd placed Glock pitted on Lap 47 and 2nd placed Kovalainen on Lap 48.

On Lap 49 Kimi Raikkonren had a worrying moment when he lost the back end of his Ferrari and went straight on at Turn 2, allowing Fernando Alonso to escape some distance up the road. Alonso pitted on Lap 50, but despite Raikkonen's run-off excursion, when the Ferrari driver pitted for the final time on Lap 51 he emerged ahead of Alonso.

Whatever or whoever had held up the Renault driver ultimately cost him a podium.

So the order on Lap 56 was: 1.Massa, 2.Kovalainen, 3.Glock, 4.Raikkonen, 5.Alonso, 6.Hamlton, 7.Piquet, 8.Trulli, 9.Kubica, 10.Webber.

Raikkonen then displayed why he is a World Champion by catching Timo Glock at a ferocious rate, putting in two Fastest Laps on Lap 59 - 1:21.267 and Lap 61 - 1:21.195. On Lap 56 Glock had the gap to the Ferrari at 9.4 seconds and by Lap 62 Raikkonen had reduced it to 2.8 seconds.

The Toyota was clearly good in the final sector as 8th place Jarno Trulli was catching Nelson Piquet in 7th and put in the fastest final sector of the race.

At the close, Heikki Kovalainen was reducing the gap to leader Massa, Raikkonen was closing on 3rd placed Glock, Hamilton was edging nearer 5th placed Alonso and Trulli was putting 7th placed Piquet under pressure.

Kovalainen got the gap to Massa down to 6.7 seconds (from 24 seconds at the time of Hamilton's blown tyre) and then on Lap 67 Massa's engine blew up, the Brazilian failing to park his stricken Ferrari particularly neatly on the pit straight (though you could understand his frustration).

Raikkonen had been on Glock's gearbox for several laps but now the Finn backed right off to get his car to the finish line. Thus Heikki Kovalainen finally got the lucky break he'd deserved from some unlucky moments earlier in the season. It was his pressure on Massa in the closing stages that caused Massa's blow-up and though he inherited the win, it was at least his due.

Glock picked up a remarkable second place for Toyota, while Kimi Raikkonen looked slightly bewildered to be suddenly elevated to the podium. Alonso came home fourth just 1.4 seconds in front of Lewis Hamilton, though Lewis had no realistic chance of passing him even if he'd been on his gearbox for ten laps.

It was a Hungarian GP totally bereft of significant overtaking, but one that was full of surprises up till the last few laps. And at least the 30,000 Polish fans who came to watch Robert Kubica were able to see their hero pick up a solitary point for 8th place - thus closing the gap to Felipe Massa just a little.


01 H. Kovalainen McLaren 1:37:27.067
02 T. Glock Toyota + 11.020
03 K. Räikkönen Ferrari + 16.811
04 F. Alonso Renault + 21.614
05 L. Hamilton McLaren + 23.048
06 N. Piquet jr. Renault + 32.298
07 J. Trulli Toyota + 36.449
08 R. Kubica BMW + 48.321
09 M. Webber Red Bull + 58.834
10 N. Heidfeld BMW + 1:07.709
11 D. Coulthard Red Bull + 1:10.407
12 J. Button Honda + 1 laps
13 K. Nakajima Williams + 1 laps
14 N. Rosberg Williams + 1 laps
15 G. Fisichella Force India F1 + 1 laps
16 R. Barrichello Honda + 2 laps
Did not finish
17 F. Massa Ferrari + 3 laps
18 S. Bourdais Scuderia Toro Rosso + 3 laps
19 A. Sutil Force India F1 + 6 laps
20 S. Vettel Scuderia Toro Rosso + 47 laps 

German GP

Hamilton now has a four-point lead
 in the Formula One standings 
 after his German Grand Prix victory. Lewis hamilton wins again

Sublime Hamilton wins at Hockenheim

Sunday 20th July 2008

Lewis Hamilton put in a drive worth remembering to win the German GP by five seconds ahead of Renault's Nelson Piquet Jr despite a botched strategic move from McLaren almost costing him the win.

The McLaren driver led the grand prix from the start, easily putting time between himself and second placed Felipe Massa as he looked to be in a class of his own.

However, what looked to be a sure fire victory appeared to slip from his grasp when the Safety Car came out on Lap 35 when Timo Glock crashed heavily.

All the front runners pitted except Hamilton, which meant when the race re-started Nelson Piquet Jr and Felipe Massa were right behind him on the track but unlike Hamilton, they did not need to stop.

And when Hamilton did come in for his stop he dropped down to fourth place and looked to be out of the race to win. However, his supreme pace allowed him to fight back in style, easily slicing his way passed those in front to take the lead with seven laps remaining.

He went on to win with Piquet Jr finishing second ahead of Massa. Nick Heidfeld was fourth.

With the ambient temperature at just 22C and the track at 32C, it was not going to be the blazing hot afternoon that Ferrari wanted. The good news for Felipe Massa was that the rain looked like holding off too.

As the red lights went out after a long delay, polesitter Lewis Hamilton slotted across in front of Felipe Massa and took the lead into Turn 1. Further back, Robert Kubica (P7) managed to slot his BMW in front of Kimi Raikkonen (P6) to take a place.

Third on the grid Heikki Kovalainen got a much faster line through Turn 1 and tried an abortive move round the outside of Massa into Turn 2. Running down towards the hairpin the Finn lost any chance of moving past Massa by hitting the brakes early. Behind, Jarno Trulli and Fernando Alonso were taken aback and the pursuing Robert Kubica used the opportunity to nip past into 4th place.

So as they crossed the line on the opening lap it was Hamilton from Massa, Kovalainen, Kubica, Trulli, Alonso, Raikkonen, Vettel, Webber, Glock and Nick Heidfeld in 11th place.

An impatient Fernando Alonso wanted to get past Jarno Trull and on Lap 4 had a look down the inside into the 130mph Turn 1. It would have been an epic move if he'd made it stick, but he backed out, got off the throttle at the last minute, allowing the chasing Raikkonen to close and make a pass on the exit of Turn 2. Raikkonen up to 6th.

At the front Lewis set about opening as big a gap as he could, and was able to do it at a regular half a second a lap - or more. By Lap 6 he'd reduced the Fastest Lap to 1:16.420 and increased the gap to 4.6 seconds. On Lap 7 Hamilton's 1:16.376 was a second quicker than Massa's lap.

By Lap 12, Hamilton was lapping in 1:16.566 with Massa putting in a 1:17.642 and edging the gap out to 8.5 seconds. On Lap 17 he set the Fastest Lap at 1:16.039 which gave him an 11 second advantage. At which point he dived into the pits for his first stop, which looked like he was heading for a long middle stint. Kubica pitted from 4th place.

As Hamilton exited the pits he was in front of 4th place Jarno Trulli but lost the place after a moment's lapse of concentration. Trulli pitted immediately and so his progress wasn't checked.

Lewis had elected to take on another set of hard tyres, but when Felipe Massa came in he chose the softer Bridgestone.

Kovalainen pitted on Lap 21 and Raikkonen a lap later. With some cars electing to go a long way into the race before pitting the order on Lap 24 was now Hamilton in the lead, 8.5 seconds in front of Massa, who had the yet-to-stop Timo Glock behind him, In fourth place was Heikki Kovalainen, the yet-to-stop Nick Heidfeld in fifth and Kimi Raikkonen in 6th.

Raikkonen had jumped Jarno Trulli in the stops and the Toyota driver was 7th in front of Sebastian Vettel in 8th who'd got ahead of 9th place Fernando Alonso in the pit-stops. Mark Webber followed in 10th.

The official F1 timing screens were having a lot of fun during the race, especially with Heikki Kovalainen's car. On Lap 14 they had flashed up that he had 'STOPPED' the race and on Lap 26 they announced that he was 'IN PITS'. His sector times remained constant all afternoon scoring a Personal Best in sectors 1 and 3 for the remainder of the race.

Lewis set about opening the gap to Massa again, but this time his rate of acceleration was not so great. By Lap 34 he was only 11.7 seconds in front and his speed advantage was only 0.1 to 0.2 a lap.

Timo Glock had elected to run a very long opening stint in his Toyota and was up to P3 before he needed more fuel at the end of Lap 29. He managed to rejoin ahead of the Vettel vs Alonso battle in P7 and looked to be in a strong position.

He then threw it all away on Lap 35 by running wide at the exit of the final turn, running too far over the kerbs, destroying the suspension and bouncing backwards across the track before slamming his Toyota gearbox into the pit wall barriers.

With debris strewn across the track and Glock slow to get out of the car it was clear that the Safety Car would be deployed immediately. Now it was time for the team strategists to rush into action.

When the pit lane opened for drivers to take their pit-stops behind the Safety Car, the majority of the field dived in for their final fuel and tyres. The Ferraris double-stopped Massa and Raikkonen. The big shock was that McLaren left leader Lewis Hamilton out while only stopping Kovalainen.

Had they brought him in, Hamilton would have had to run the final laps on the softer tyre that he dislikes and so the team elected to leave him out. They banked on the fact that with a lot of fuel on board he had time to open up a gap at the re-start. Perhaps what McLaren didn't bargain for was the length of time it took the marshals to clear the track.

As the drivers dived for the pit lane exit, Sebastian Vettel's Toro Rosso was released right alongside Fernando Alonso's Renault much to the Spaniard's anger. It's hard to reconcile the FIA's petty fines for using the wrong refueling procedure when an action like this is overlooked by the stewards.

The cars reformed behind the Safety Car and it was Hamilton in front from a lapped Button (and who didn't unlap himself) Heidfeld, Piquet, Massa, Kubica, Kovalainen, Trulli, Vettel, Alonso, the smoking Red Bull of Webber, Rosberg and Kimi Raikkonen who had slumped to 12th place because of the double-pit-stop.

Webber's car gave up the ghost on Lap 40 and we were racing again on Lap 42 - with an angry Alonso keen to get past Vettel as soon as he could. Heikki Kovalainen pulled off a majestic overtaking move around the outside of Robert Kubica at Turn 8 opposite the Mercedes fans on Lap 43. His fellow Finn, Kimi Raikkonen was making even more rapid progress through the field making short work of Rosberg, Alonso and finding the time to wave to Sebastian Vettel as he swept past him on the back straight.

Hamilton who needed to stop again was trying his hardest to sprint away at the front, Heidfeld too, but Nelson Piquet Junior was on a one-stop strategy and wouldn't have to come in again. On Lap 46 the order was: Hamilton, Heidfeld, Piquet, Massa, Kovalainen, Kubica, Raikkonen, Trulli and Vettel. What's more, Massa was not catching Piquet.

Hamilton had stretched out a 15.7 gap on Lap 50 when he suddenly dived into the pits for his final stop. He emerged in only 5th place behind Kovalainen. It would need a great effort to get the win from here.

While Nick Heidfeld was setting the fastest lap of the race at 1:15.987 on Lap 52, Hamilton was diving past his team-mate into the hairpin, but while Heidfeld was due in again, he would need to pass both Massa and Piquet for the win. He had 15 laps left to do it.

Lewis's advantage was that he had a car that was about a second a lap quicker than the Ferrari. By Lap 55 the gap to Massa was just 0.6 of a second and on Lap 57 Lewis got the perfect tow down to the hairpin and stick his McLaren up the inside, carefully running Felipe out wide and onto the run-off area (a la Schumacher).

Massa wasn't finished, though, and tried to get back at him through Turn 8, but only succeeded in losing time and putting himself into the clutches of the chasing Nick Heidfeld. The German had managed to pit and emerge in P4 ahead of team-mate Kubica and now wanted Massa's P3.

Hamilton set off after Nelson Piquet and did the same professional job at the hairpin on the Brazilian on Lap 60, just as Raikkonen got the better of Robert Kubica.

In the closing stages, Piquet put in a series of Personal Bests to keep his Renault clear of the Massa vs Heidfeld battle, as Hamilton took an impressive win. Despite some distinctly old rubber on his F2008 Massa kept hold of his podium place.

Heidfeld took 4th, Kovalainen an unthreatened 5th and Raikkonen 6th place. Robert Kubica's 7th place probably heralded the end of his title challenge, while Vettel's single point for 8th place will not have pleased Fernando Alonso who spun towards the end of the race.

It was a fine win for McLaren, their first since Mika Hakkinen's victory in 1999. That year Hakkinen went on to be World Champion. With McLaren's current car advantage it could be a very good omen.


01 L. Hamilton McLaren 1:31:20.847
02 N. Piquet Jr Renault + 5.586
03 F. Massa Ferrari + 9.339
04 N. Heidfeld BMW + 9.825
05 H. Kovalainen McLaren + 12.411
06 K. Räikkönen Ferrari + 14.483
07 R. Kubica BMW + 22.603
08 S. Vettel Scuderia Toro Rosso + 33.282
09 J. Trulli Toyota + 37.199
10 N. Rosberg Williams + 37.658
11 F. Alonso Renault + 38.625
12 S. Bourdais Scuderia Toro Rosso + 39.111
13 D. Coulthard Red Bull + 54.971
14 G. Fisichella Force India F1 + 59.093
15 K. Nakajima Williams + 1:00.003
16 A. Sutil Force India F1 + 1:09.488
17 J. Button Honda + 1 laps
Did not finish
18 R. Barrichello Honda + 16 laps
19 M. Webber Red Bull + 37 laps
20 T. Glock Toyota + 42 laps 

Hamilton wins German Grand Prix for fourth F1 win in 2008

July 20, 2008, 10:08 AM ET

HOCKENHEIM, Germany -- Lewis Hamilton won the German Grand Prix on Sunday, solidifying his lead in the Formula One standings with two dramatic passes that made up for a strategic blunder.

Hamilton overtook Ferrari's Felipe Massa and then runner-up Nelson Piquet Jr. of Renault at the same hairpin after a crash involving Timo Glock had brought out a safety car that nearly cost the McLaren driver his fourth victory of the season.

Most teams chose to pit when the safety car was out, but McLaren left its star driver out only to see him lose the lead when he pitted with 17 laps to race.

But Hamilton, who now leads Massa by four points in the overall standings, worked his way through the field before nudging past the Ferrari driver from the inside at turn No. 6 and then holding off Massa's outside challenge soon after.

Piquet Jr., who earned his first career podium after starting from 17th, couldn't hold off Hamilton when the 23-year-old Briton closed in at the same corner three laps later.

"Sorry we had to make it a little bit difficult for you," McLaren team principal Ron Dennis told Hamilton over the radio. "Absolutely fantastic job."

Hamilton, who earned his eighth career win in 27 races, replied with a chuckle.

Nick Heidfeld worked his way up from 12th to finish fourth ahead of McLaren's Heikki Kovalainen.

Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen was sixth and is seven points behind Hamilton, while Robert Kubica of BMW Sauber and Sebastian Vettel of Toro Rosso also earned points.

Glock was accelerating through turn No. 12 when his rear suspension appeared to snap. His Toyota spun across the track and went backward into the opposite wall at high speed. The 26-year-old German emerged clutching his back and was taken to the hospital.

Dennis plays down botched pit stop

Sunday 20th July 2008

McLaren team principal Ron Dennis insisted his team got their tactics right despite the Safety Car almost scuppering Lewis Hamilton's second consecutive victory.

The Briton eventually overtook Nelson Piquet late on to claim the win and the outright lead in the Drivers' Championship, but only after a comfortable lead had been lost when the Safety Car came out and McLaren failed to bring their man in to pit.

"We expected the Safety Car to come in early, and knew would be 1.5 seconds quicker when it came in," Dennis told ITV1.

"You can't get it right all the time. We thought the race could have started three laps earlier."

Of Hamilton's dominant performance he added: "It was a fantastic drive. He had a lot of pace and it's hard to slow him down sometimes."

more from the bbc...

Sunday 20th July 2008

Lewis Hamilton moved into a four-point championship lead after a brilliant victory in the German Grand Prix.

The McLaren driver led from the start but a comfortable win was put in doubt by his team's decision not to pit him during a safety car period.

Hamilton dropped to fifth when he did finally stop under racing conditions.

But team-mate Heikki Kovalainen let the Englishman by, and Hamilton was able to catch and pass Ferrari's Felipe Massa and then Renault's Nelson Piquet.

Team boss Ron Dennis admitted that McLaren had "got it a bit wrong".

He said the team did not expect the safety car to stay out as long as it did following a heavy accident to Toyota's Timo Glock, who crashed into the pit wall following what appeared to be a rear suspension failure.

McLaren thought Hamilton would have enough laps after the re-start to build a lead that was big enough to maintain his position.

The safer - and more sensible - option would have been to pit Hamilton during the safety car period - as nearly all the other leading teams did with their drivers.

The team opted for me to stay out but I think I needed a 23-second gap in about seven laps so I don't know how that would have worked out

As it turned out, Hamilton was only 10 seconds ahead of Massa's fourth-placed Ferrari when he pitted on lap 50, about half what he would have needed to stay ahead.

But Hamilton quickly caught Massa, and passed the Ferrari on lap 57 when the Brazilian made it too easy for the McLaren driver.

Massa appeared to have the inside line into the hairpin covered, but he then went back to the outside, giving Hamilton the chance to take the position.

Hamilton then quickly closed the two-second gap to Piquet and passed him in the same place, and in similar fashion, on lap 60.

"I would have preferred a comfortable afternoon out in front," Hamilton said.

"We had got off to a good start and had two decent stints and the team opted for me to stay out but I think I needed a 23-second gap in about seven laps so I don't know how that would have worked out.

"For sure we will learn from this and move on. But we still had the best and quickest car this weekend and we came out on top.

Nelson Piquet Piquet took a surprise second place for Renault "With Felipe, I saw I was a lot quicker than him.

"I knew I only had a small window to get past him because of my tyres but the great thing about this track is that you can follow people.

"So I got quite close to him - he matched my speed down my straight - it was difficult to get past him but he gave me plenty of room.

"I thought my work was done but I still had to get past Nelson. He put on a good battle but again it was very fair."

Piquet found himself in the lead because he was on a one-stop strategy, and he had just made his pit stop when the safety car was deployed after Glock's crash on lap 36.

He took the lead when first Hamilton and then BMW Sauber's Nick Heidfeld stopped.

But the novice was in no position to hold off the charging Hamilton in a much faster car.

Piquet was, however, more than capable of holding off Massa, who was unable to catch the Renault before the end of the race.

It was Renault's first podium finish since the Japanese Grand Prix last year, and it was ironic that it should come from a man who has been overshadowed by team-mate Fernando Alonso this year.

By contrast, Alonso had a race to forget - he was stuck behind slower cars for the entire afternoon, but none of his overtaking attempts came off, and several of them ended with him being outfoxed by rivals and losing a place to the car behind him.

The Spaniard also spun late in the race, losing a position he had just taken from Nico Rosberg's Williams, and finished in 11th place.

It was not a performance to impress the bosses at Ferrari, to whom speculation in the paddock continues to link the double world champion.

But if there was any consolation it was that neither of the Ferrari drivers had good weekends.

Massa blamed his inability to hold off Hamilton on his car's lack of competitiveness.

"I just did not have the pace," he said. " I was on the hard tyres because the soft was so difficult to drive. Stability was difficult, too, for me, and I think I had a little bit of a problem on the brakes as well.

Lewis Hamilton leads Nelson Piquet Jr and Felipe Massa in the closing stages of the German Grand Prix Hamilton passed Massa and Piquet in the closing laps to secure victory "I lost a lot of performance. So I didn't have the car to fight. I tried, but it was not possible."

While Massa may have erred in letting Hamilton by, he at least outstripped team-mate Kimi Raikkonen, who was uncompetitive all weekend.

After qualifying sixth, the Finn never looked like being a factor in the race, and he finished in the same place.

He is now seven points behind Hamilton as the world championship battle continues to see-saw from race to race.

BMW benefited from their decision not to pit Heidfeld under the safety as the German took fourth place ahead of Kovalainen.

Heidfeld had been out of the top 10 for much of the first part of the race.

Kubica was running fourth in the first part of the race, having passed Alonso and Raikkonen on the first lap, but he lost out to the Finn once racing resumed after the safety car.

Toyota said Glock was not injured but would be kept in hospital overnight as part of standard procedure after a precautionary check-up.

German Grand Prix results:

1 Lewis Hamilton (GB) McLaren-Mercedes 
                       one hour 31 minutes 20.874 seconds
2 Nelson Piquet Jr (Brz) Renault at 5.586 seconds
3 Felipe Massa (Brz) Ferrari at 9.339
4 Nick Heidfeld (Ger) BMW Sauber at 9.825
5 Heikki Kovalainen (Fin) McLaren-Mercedes at 12.411
6 Kimi Raikkonen (Fin) Ferrari at 14.483
7 Robert Kubica (Pol) BMW Sauber at 22.603
8 Sebastian Vettel (Ger) Toro Rosso-Ferrari at 33.282
9 Jarno Trulli (Ita) Toyota at 37.199
10 Nico Rosberg (Ger) Williams-Toyota at 37.658
11 Fernando Alonso (Spa) Renault at 38.625
12 Sebastien Bourdais (Fra) Toro Rosso-Ferrari at 39.111
13 David Coulthard (GB) Red Bull-Renault at 54.971
14 Kazuki Nakajima (Jpn) Williams-Toyota at 1:00.003
15 Adrian Sutil (Ger) Force India-Ferrari at 1:09.488
16 Giancarlo Fisichella* (Ita) 
                       Force India-Ferrari at 1:24.093
17 Jenson Button (Gbr) Honda one lap behind
R Rubens Barrichello (Brz) Honda 50 laps completed
R Mark Webber (Aus) Red Bull-Renault 40 laps
R Timo Glock (Ger) Toyota 35 laps completed

* Fisichella penalised 25 seconds 
                   for safety car infringement

Fastest lap: Heidfeld, 1:15.987, lap 52

Key: R = retired

British GP

Lewis Hamilton a lap ahead

Hamilton Rules The Waves

Sunday 6th July 2008

Lewis Hamilton produced the drive of his career to score an impressive win in the rain and showers of Silverstone.

On an afternoon when all his fellow World Championship contenders looked distinctly amateur the Brit drove virtually an error-free race to claim victory ahead of Nick Heidfeld and a very popular Rubens Barrichello.

Raikkonen finished in fourth place, giving F1 a three-way tie for the driver's title with Raikkonen, Hamilton and Felipe Massa, who had a dismal race, equal on 48 points.

Grand Prix Report

With a wet track and the prospect of more rain soon, there was no other choice of tyre on the grid than intermediates. The ambient temperature at a blustery Silverstone was just 16C with the track at 17C. There was not enough water to call for a Safety Car start, but it was still going to be a tricky opening lap.

When the lights went out, Heikki Kovalainen got a good start from pole. P2, Mark Webber, had been slow off the line in France and so it proved again. Thus Lewis Hamilton was able to take a flying run down the inside of the Red Bull into Copse and almost took the lead off Kovalainen.

The Finn put his rear tyre on the white line on the exit of the corner and almost spun in front of Lewis as Raikkonen also steamed past Webber for 3rd place. The cars piled through Maggots and Beckets and suddenly Mark Webber's afternoon went from bad to worse as he spun in front of the field.

Felipe Massa then embarked on an afternoon of spinning by losing control of his Ferrari from 7th place at the exit of Abbey, ending up last on the opening lap - though that would only be 18th after David Coulthard tried a move on Sebastian Vettel into Priory that didn't work out, taking them both into the gravel and retirement.

So the order after Lap 1 was Kovalainen, Hamilton, Raikkonen, Heidfeld, Piquet, Alonso, Trulli, Kubica, Glock, Barrichello, Sutil and Button

Though he had already tried on the opening lap, on Lap 2 Lewis showed signs of wanting to get past his team-mate in a hurry, pulling alongside Kovalainen in the tight twisty infield section. By Lap 3 Alonso was ahead of Piquet and charging after 4th placed Heidfeld.

On Lap 4, Massa spun again at Woodcote and he would go on to spin at least five times, together with sundry off-track excursions.

Lewis Hamilton got by his team-mate in the braking zone to Stowe on Lap 5 and set about establishing a gap. Immediately he was quicker, putting in a 1:34.9 compared to Kovalainen's 1:37.1 and Raikkonen's 1:36.4. Alonso was also on a charge, setting the fastest lap of the race so far and easing his way past Heidfeld into 4th place.

On Lap 6 the order was Hamilton, Kovalainen, Raikkonen, Alonso, Heidfeld, Piquet, Trulli, Kubica, Glock, Barrichello, Button and Sutil.

Lewis set about lowering the fastest lap time and the first stint was all about opening a gap to his team-mate - though that soon became Raikkonen after Kovalainen spun at Abbey allowing his fellow Finn through, along with Alonso.

Once clear of Kovalainen, Raikkonen started to reduce the gap down to the leader. On Lap 10 Lewis had a six second advantage, by Lap 14 it was down to 3.8 seconds courtesy of some fast laps by the Ferrari driver.

On Lap 11 Adrian Sutil flew into retirement, his car losing control on the run down to Abbey then snapping sideways and launching itself low and sideways across the corner and into the gravel.

Hamilton was still the fastest man in Sector 1, but with the Ferrari kinder on its rear tyres, Raikkonen was able to close in considerably on the grippier, slow Brooklands, Luffield and Woodcote section of the lap.

The gap was down to as little as 2.3 seconds on Lap 18 when the much-predicted rain came. At the end of Lap 19 Kovalainen pitted and rejoined in front of the Kubica/Trulli battle. By Lap 21 Hamilton's lead was less than a second and both Hamilton and Raikkonen pitted at the same time.

In the pits, the Ferrari was stopped momentarily quicker than the McLaren, but the Mclaren team kept their nerve and allowed Lewis out just in front of Raikkonen.

They emerged from the pit lane in 2nd and 3rd with just Heidfeld ahead of them on track and still to stop.

Given a new set of tyres Hamilton set about a devastating charge in the rain. The Ferrari team hadn't changed Raikkonen's intermediate tyres and it was a mistake that would soon cost them dear.

On Lap 22 Nick Heidfeld pitted for fuel and tyres, he rejoined behind Trulli and Alonso and on Lap 23 in a most glorious overtaking move into Woodcote, overtook both of them together - one on the outside and one on the inside.

In front of him, in the space of just two laps,Hamilton had opened up a 4.7 second gap. By Lap 24 it was 9.8 seconds. Incredibly Hamilton put in a 1:34.655 against Raikkonen's 1:39.919.

This wasn't a temporary aberration, though. On Lap 35 Lewis was two seconds quicker than Raikkonen in the first sector alone - at the end of the lap the gap was 15.1 seconds (a 1:34.9 for the leader compared to a 1:40.2 for Raikkonen.)

Alonso, like Raikkonen, hadn't changed his tyres and was falling back, overtaken in quick succession by Timo Glock and team-mate Nelson Piquet Junior. Glock now 5th and Piquet 6th.

On Lap 26 the gap was a massive 21.8 seconds to Raikkonen who was now falling into the clutches of Heikki Kovalainen, as Lewis Hamilton lapped the struggling Felipe Massa.

Kovalainen was clearly much quicker than Raikkonen (about five seconds a lap quicker) but was tentative in getting past him. On Lap 27 he finally managed to take 2nd place from the Ferrari going through Woodcote, just as Nick Heidfeld arrived on the scene to take 2nd place off both of them. It was another stellar move by the German, the overtaking performance of the season.

Despite his tyre disadvantage Raikkonen refused to pit. The positions on Lap 26 were Hamilton, Heidfeld, Kovalainen, Raikkonen, Piquet, Kubica, Barrichello, Glock., Trulli and Fernando Alonso. At this stage Raikkonen was putting in 1:43 laps while Kubica was lapping in 1:35s.

On Lap 31 he pitted to be fueled to the finish. He rejoined 87.6 seconds behind the leader, although Kovalainen was also 18.4 seconds behind second placed Nick Heidfeld.

On Lap 32 Timo Glock took time out to wave his fist at Felipe Massa for blocking him - Massa being a lap down on the Toyota driver.

Heikki Kovalainen's afternoon got worse on Lap 34 when both Robert Kubica and Nelson Piquet passed him for 3rd and 4th places. Rubens Barrichello, who stars in mixed conditions, was now up to 6th place for Honda.

The rain returned with a vengeance on Lap 36 and caught a lot of drivers out as the water built up on the track and tyres aquaplaned. Nelson Piquet threw away a great result away by sliding off the road into the gravel at Abbey as both Hondas pitted together.

The Honda crew were going to gamble on the full wet tyres. Unfortunately for Rubens, his fuel rig wasn't fully ready while Jenson queued behind him, and he would have to come in again.

90,000 hearts then missed a beat as leader Lewis Hamilton skipped across the grass at Abbey on Lap 37, while Robert Kubica also had an off-track moment and Massa had yet another spin. A lap later and Kimi Raikkonen survived an off-track moment, rejoining unscathed.

Armed with full wets, Rubens Barrichello set about carving his way back through the field as Lewis Hamilton pitted for the final time. Hamilton and the two BMW drivers would all opt for Inters for the final stint despite the level of water on track.

To prove how difficult it was, Kimi Raikkonen spun his car at Woodcote, traveling a long way backwards before coming to rest without contacting any hard surface.

Through all the spins and midfield mayhem Lewis Hamilton calmly picked up speed. On Lap 41 Lewis put in a 1:44.515, Heidfeld a 1:48.065 and Rubens (on full wets) a 1:41.058.

Also on Lap 41 Kubica lost control of his BMW and ended his race in the Abbey gravel.

Lewis was now 46 seconds clear of Heidfeld and such was Barrichello's closing speed that by Lap 42 it was him in second place not the BMW driver.

The rain started to fade away, with the race order on Lap 44 of: Hamilton, Barrichello, Heidfeld, Trulli, Alonso, Kovalainen, Raikkonen, Nakajima and Webber. Barrichello had to pit again on Lap 46 because of his fuel problem in the pit-stop, but such was his position that he was able to swap 2nd for just 3rd place.

Kovalainen was right behind Fernando Alonso and much quicker, and got past him with a wonderful overtaking move on the outside of the Spaniard at Bridge on Lap 46 for 5th place.

Trulli had to pit again and surrendered his 4th place to Kovalainen on Lap 48, but the Finn was keen to hand it on to other drivers and a spin on Lap 50 handed places to the pursuing Alonso and Raikkonen. Raikkonen was past Alonso (Lap 54) for an amazing 4th place (given his troubles) but Kovalainen found it more troublesome getting the Renault for a second time. The pair ran side by side through the final complex many times before the McLaren finally nailed the Renault into Luffield on Lap 58, much to the delight of the crowd.

For Hamilton the closing stages had been all about not driving too quickly and making a mistake but keeping the heat in the tyres at the same time. He finished a lap ahead of fourth placed Raikkonen and sixty seconds ahead of second place.

He took the chequered flag to the roars from the crowd, who also lauded the achievements of the battling Rubens Barrichello who brought his Honda home third behind Nick Heidfeld's BMW.

Raikkonen took an extremely fortunate fourth place in front of Kovalainen, Alonso, Trulli and Nakajima (the Japanese losing out to the Toyota in the final few laps).

It had been an epic.


01 L. Hamilton McLaren 1:39:09.440
02 N. Heidfeld BMW + 1:08.500
03 R. Barrichello Honda + 1:22.200
04 K. Räikkönen Ferrari + 1 laps
05 H. Kovalainen McLaren + 1 laps
06 F. Alonso Renault + 1 laps
07 J. Trulli Toyota + 1 laps
08 K. Nakajima Williams + 1 laps
09 N. Rosberg Williams + 1 laps
10 M. Webber Red Bull + 1 laps
11 S. Bourdais Scuderia Toro Rosso + 1 laps
12 T. Glock Toyota + 1 laps
13 F. Massa Ferrari + 2 laps
Did not finish
14 R. Kubica BMW + 21 laps
15 J. Button Honda + 22 laps
16 N. Piquet jr. Renault + 25 laps
17 G. Fisichella Force India F1 + 34 laps
18 A. Sutil Force India F1 + 50 laps
19 S. Vettel Scuderia Toro Rosso + 59 laps
20 D. Coulthard Red Bull + 59 laps 

Hamilton claims rainy British GP for lead in F1 championship

July 6, 2008, 2:34 PM ET

SILVERSTONE, England -- Lewis Hamilton mastered wild and wet racing conditions to score a runaway victory at the British Grand Prix and throw the Formula One drivers championship wide open.

After he failed to collect a single point from the previous two races in Canada and France, Hamilton's title hopes would have been in trouble if the same had happened in front of his home fans at Silverstone on Sunday.

British driver Lewis Hamilton finished more than a minute faster than Nick Heidfeld and Rubens Barrichello. But the 23-year-old British driver, who last year squandered a 12-point lead with two races left in his rookie season, stayed in control on a rain-soaked track that plagued his rivals. Many were unsure which tires to use, and repeatedly spun or veered off the circuit.

Hamilton led from the fourth lap in his McLaren to win his first British GP and take the lead in the overall championship.

Hamilton lapped all but two of the field and finished more than a minute ahead of Nick Heidfeld's BMW Sauber. Rubens Barrichello was third for his first podium in four years and Honda's first of the season.

"It is by far the best victory I've ever had," Hamilton said after waving to the 90,000 fans who gave him a standing ovation following his 68.5-second victory.

"The conditions were bad and as I was driving I thought, 'If I win this, it will be the best race I've ever done'. On my last lap, I could see the crowd starting to rise to their feet, and I was just praying, praying, praying I could get the car round.

"It was so extreme out there. I was having big problems with my visor. I couldn't see a thing."

Hamilton's third victory of the season gives him 48 points. He is tied with Ferrari drivers Felipe Massa and Kimi Raikkonen, but leads the championship chase based on his better finishes in the other races.

Massa spun at least five times in the race and finished last in 13th, failing to pick up a point. Raikkonen was fourth.

In a drivers championship that is neck-and-neck at the halfway stage with 10 races to go, Robert Kubica is two points behind the leaders with 46. He dropped out after spinning his BMW Sauber off the circuit during the 39th lap.

There was nothing close about Hamilton's victory. But after the experience of nearly winning last year, he was saying little about his chances this season.

"It's a work in progress we're doing a good job and I just want to keep on building on it," Hamilton said. "I would have been happy with a point."

Barrichello had been in the points only twice this season, placing sixth at Monaco and seventh in Canada.

"It's fantastic. I've never lost the belief I have in me," said the Brazilian, who has nine F1 victories in 15 years on the circuit, longest among the 20 drivers.

"I've this great feeling. It's like I'm young, I just love the sport. I just love the speed. I can't live without that."

Hamilton, starting fourth on the grid, provided an eventful beginning to the 60-lap race when he burst past both Red Bull's Mark Webber and Raikkonen at the beginning.

He also tried to overtake pole-starter and McLaren teammate Heikki Kovalainen on the inside of the first bend, but the Finn responded and the two McLarens almost touched.

Also on the first lap, Massa, Webber and Kazuki Nakajima went into a spin but rejoined the race. David Coulthard, in his last British GP before he retires at the end of the season, and Sebastian Vettel both slid into the same gravel area at the sharp left-hand Priory bend and were out of the race.

Seven of the 20 starters failed to finish.

Two points ahead in the drivers standings at the start of the race, Massa failed to recover from his early spin and slipped to the back of the field, more than a minute behind the leader after only 13 laps. The Brazilian finally overtook Nico Rosberg on the 17th lap and then Giancarlo Fisichella to move into 15th, but he had more trouble later in the race and was lapped twice by the leader.

"This Silverstone weekend is one to be wiped out," Massa said. "On Friday I had an accident, yesterday there was the problem in qualifying and today a series of mistakes at all levels. Today I could hardly keep the car in a straight line and it was always difficult to drive."

At the front, Hamilton overtook Kovalainen on the fourth lap with a bold move going into the fast Stow right-hander, powering ahead and then timing his braking to keep the lead.

The British driver then opened up a 6-second gap only for Raikkonen to cut the lead to less than a second when they both came into the pits for the first time on lap 22. Although Hamilton changed tires, he kept the same intermediate style while Raikkonen made no change, which proved to be a mistake.

Although Hamilton left the pit line just ahead of the Finn's Ferrari, he began to pull away and opened up a lead of almost 25 seconds halfway through the race.

From that point, no one got near him, and Hamilton gave British racing fans the victory they had been waiting for.

French GP

Felipe Massa wins

Massa wins as Kimi pulls up exhausted

Sunday 22nd June 2008

Felipe Massa won the French GP ahead of team-mate Kimi Raikkonen whose chances of victory were undone by a broken exhaust.

Raikkonen led from the start, quickly eeking out a few seconds lead over his team-mate. However, the Finn started to lose time to Massa on Lap 34 due to a broken exhaust, banging and burning the side of his F2008.

As a result Massa was able to cruise past the reigning Champ, taking the lead in the grand prix, which he went on to win by over 17 seconds. In doing so he also became the newest leader of the Drivers' Standings.

Jarno Trulli held off the attacking Heikki Kovalainen to finish third, his first podium finish since Spain 2005.

Race Report With rain expected, the ambient temperature was down at 24C with the track at 31C as the cars lined up on the grid. Indeed there had been a flurry of light rain as the cars went to the grid.

As the red lights went out Kimi Raikkonen was quickly into the lead with Felipe Massa slotting in behind - back down the grid everyone behaved themselves through Estoril and down to the Adelaide hairpin. Fernando Alonso was slow off the line and immediately dropped from 3rd to 5th.

Both Red Bulls were also slow away and lost places while Lewis Hamilton made it through to 11th before attempting to pass Sebastian Vettel before the Imola chicane. Hamilton had got his car in front, but was out too wide to turn in and opted to cut the chicane (very much like Vettel had done a couple of times to keep in front of Kovalainen at Montreal).

This move would attract a highly contentious drive-through penalty later in the race. Hamilton didn't do himself any favours by tapping the back of Kovalainen later in the lap and losing small aero parts from his front wing.

Across the line at the end of the first lap the order was: 1.Raikkonen, 2.Massa, 3.Trulli, 4.Kubica, 5.Alonso, 6.Glock, 7.Webber, 8.Piquet, 9.Kovalainen, 10.Hamilton 11.Coulthard 12.Vettel

On the second lap Fernando Alonso was able to take advantage of a move by Robert Kubica on third placed Trulli - the BMW got out of shape and Alonso was able to get past for 4th.

Hamilton was soon past Kovalainen for 9th as Kimi Raikkonen started to open a gap to Massa at the front and both Ferraris started to edge away from the pack. By Lap 8 Hamilton was on the back of Piquet and locking his tyres up into the Adelaide hairpin trying to find a way through to 8th place.

By Lap 10 Raikkonen had opened a 3.2 second gap to Massa and the World Champion looked to have a clear edge on his team-mate.

On Lap 14, Lewis Hamilton's drive-through penalty was announced - the stewards diving that the Brit had gained an unfair advantage bu missing the apex - and being able to find no way past Nelson Piquet he elected to take it straight away, rejoining in P13.

Renault's bid for pole glory was revealed on Lap 15 when Fernando Alonso came in for a very early pit-stop. Alonso was fueled long and came out between Nick Heidfeld in 12th and Lewis Hamilton in 13th.

On Lap 19 Hamilton put a very robust pass on Alonso as he dawdled through Estoril, the cars momentarily bouncing tyres. Hamilton's lead over his old team-mate didn't last long as he dived into the pit at the end of Lap 19 for his first pit-stop. Neither Lewis nor Fernando would be running 3-stoppers as some had predicted.

At the end of Lap 21 Raikkonen pitted with a 4.3 second advantage. Massa pitted two laps later and the deficit to Raikkonen was exactly the same, 4.3 seconds. However, Raikkonen started to edge away from the Brazilian in traffic - by Lap 25 the gap was 5.9 seconds, by Lap 27 the gap was out to 6.5 seconds.

The Ferrari drivers were in a race of their own - on Lap 30, third place Jarno Trulli was 25.7 seconds back. Once the final stoppers had come in for fuel, the positions on Lap 31 were: Raikkonen, Massa, Trulli, Kubica, Alonso, Webber, Kovalainen, Piquet, Glock, Coulthard and Nakajima.

On Lap 34, though, something strange showed up on the timing charts. Kimi Raikkonen was two seconds a lap slower than Felipe Massa with a 1:19.799 compared to Massa's 1:17.825 - he was a second a lap slower on lap 35 and the lead went down to 3.2 seconds.

On Lap 36 the loss was another second and by Lap 38 Massa was right on his tail. Raikkonen had got a broken right exhaust and it was flailing along over the side pod, the bodywork discolouring with the heat.

Massa was soon past the Finn into the lead and the question now was could the Ferrari keep going to the flag?

On Lap 42 Heiki Kovalainen made a very neat pass on Mark Webber's Red Bull for 6th place, which soon became 5th when Fernando Alonso came in for his second stop, the Spaniard rejoining in 12th, between Heidfeld and Hamilton again.

Lewis was losing time behind Alonso, dropping from 1:17s laps to the mid 1:18s and on Lap 47 he did something about it going tight into the Adelaide hairpin and passing Alonso for the second time in the race.

Jarno Trulli had been hauling Kimi Raikkonen in at about 0.8 a lap, but out of nowhere the Finn put in a 1:17.894 and increased the gap to the Toyota. Provided the overheating didn't get too bad he might hold position to the line.

The main battle now was for P3 between Trulli, Kubica and Kovalainen. Trulli pitted on Lap 50 from third place, Kovalainen and Kubica on Lap 52 and they exited the pit lane just behind the Toyota.

On Lap 56 it started to rain and the sudden shower started to slow times by two seconds a lap. Kovalainen closed right up on Trulli and Kubica lurked behind both, ready to pick up the pieces from any clash.

However Jarno held it together to resist any move from a fairly tentative McLaren and though the Finn got alongside Trulli before the Imola chicane on Lap 69, he never had the racing line and had to opt for an escape route across the chicane as his team-mate had done earlier in the race.

The only change of position in the closing stages was when Fernando Alonso got caught out while trying to lap a Force India three laps from home. He ran wide and allowed Nelson Piquet Junior to get alongside him and through for 7th place, a great result for the Brazilian.

Kimi Raikkonen's exhaust finally fell off on Lap 61 but he continued on to pick up second place. Only Jenson Button's Honda failed to finish, the Honda stopping on Lap 17.

It was deserved 1-2 for Ferrari in a relatively drama-free French Grand Prix. Jarno Trulli resisted Kovalainen to take an emotional third place in memory of much-loved former Toyota boss Ove Andersson. Robert Kubica picked up an efficient four points for his afternoon's race, but the BMW looked no serious threat at all.


01 F. Massa Ferrari 1:31:50.245
02 K. Räikkönen Ferrari + 17.984
03 J. Trulli Toyota + 28.250
04 H. Kovalainen McLaren + 28.929
05 R. Kubica BMW + 30.512
06 M. Webber Red Bull + 40.304
07 N. Piquet jr. Renault + 41.033
08 F. Alonso Renault + 43.372
09 D. Coulthard Red Bull + 51.072
10 L. Hamilton McLaren + 54.521
11 T. Glock Toyota + 57.738
12 S. Vettel Scuderia Toro Rosso + 58.011
13 N. Heidfeld BMW + 1:02.013
14 R. Barrichello Honda + 1 laps
15 K. Nakajima Williams + 1 laps
16 N. Rosberg Williams + 1 laps
17 S. Bourdais Scuderia Toro Rosso + 1 laps
18 G. Fisichella Force India F1 + 1 laps
19 A. Sutil Force India F1 + 1 laps
Did not finish
20 J. Button Honda + 52 laps 

Canadian GP

Robert Kubika from Poland wins!

Kubica Makes F1 History

Sunday 8th June 2008

Robert Kubica made F1 history in Canada when the BMW won the grand prix at the track that almost cost him his life a year ago.

In sharp contrast to the 2007 event, which saw Kubica head to hospital after a huge crash, this year's race had him re-writing F1's history books by becoming the first Polish driver to win a F1 grand prix.

BMW team-mate Nick Heidfeld finished in second place ahead of David Coulthard in a rather unusual looking podium - the result of an early crash involving F1's top two drivers and a track that began to turn into marbles.

Race Report With the official timing screens declaring that there was going to be no rain during the race, and with an ambient temperature of 26C and the track at 34C, the biggest hazard in the Canadian GP was going to be the track itself.

A mix of concrete dust and resin had been applied liberally to the Casino hairpin where the newly laid tarmac had been stripped away and race director Charlie Whiting had presumably crossed his fingers that it would hold.

As the lights went out Lewis Hamilton led off for a very careful opening lap and despite Turn I in Montreal often supplying us with a wide range of accidents and off-track excursions, the 20 cars rumbled through with no contact whatsoever. In fact the order was hardly shuffled during the opening lap, the significant gainer being Nico Rosberg who took P4 off Fernando Alonso and the significant loser being Mark Webber who fell back to 11th.

At the end of the opening lap it was: Hamilton, Kubica, Raikkonen, Rosberg, Alonso, Massa, Kovalainen, Barichello, Heidfeld, Nakajima, Webber and Coulthard back in 12th place.

In the opening laps Hamilton set about establishing a gap to Robert Kubica which he duly did, the Pole edging out a slight advantage to Raikkonen. Nick Heidfeld in 9th had been displaced by Rubens Barrichello off the grid and showed signs of impatience. By Lap 5 he was through at the Casino hairpin, Rubens allowing him room to make the pass.

By Lap 9 Hamilton had a 4.3 gap to Kubica which was steadily widening, by Lap 11 it was 5.4 seconds. However Raikkonen suddenly started to pick up pace on Lap 12 and set the fastest first sector of anyone. By Lap 13 he had begun to start hauling Robert Kubica in and was 0.4 quicker than both Hamilton and Kubica in Sector 1 alone.

Adrian Sutil had just parked his car against the barriers on Lap 14 when Raikkonen set the Fastest Lap of the race, a 1:17.387. By now Lewis had a 7.1 second lead over Kubica, but Raikkonen was hauling in Kubica very quickly and by Lap 15 was right on his gearbox. The result of the pressure was that Kubica began to erode the gap to Hamilton. On Lap 17 he was almost a second slower than Raikkonen in Sector 3 alone.

Despite the seemingly innocuous position of Sutil's retired Force India, Race Director Charlie Whiting decided to wait three laps before dispatching the Safety Car on Lap 18. At which point Hamilton's diminishing 5.9 second lead would disappear to nothing. The second that the pit lane opened all seven leading cars dived into the pit lane for a stop - Hamilton, Cubic, Rankine, Ros berg, Alonso, Mass and Covalent.

The problems occurred at the pit lane exit. Robert Cubic got away quickest and was cruising down the pit lane when Kimi Raikkonen was released from the Ferrari garage alongside him. They arrived at the pit lane exit side by side instead of nose to tail.

The pursuing Lewis Hamilton - seemingly distracted by the Raikkonen vs Kubica duel failed to notice that the pit lane exit light was on red and now with two cars across the track - when it finally dawned on him that they were stationary - had nowhere else to go. He clattered into the back of the Ferrari taking both of them out of the race. The following Nico Rosberg was similarly surprised and lost his nose running into the back of Hamilton.

Rosberg would need to make a lap without a front wing, but the surprisingly calm Raikkonen and the embarrassed Hamilton climbed out of their cars and walked back to their garages.

Out front, the Safety Car was now trailed by: Heidfeld, Barrichello, Nakajima, Webber, Coulthard, Trulli, Glock, Fisichella,Vettel in 9th (all not stopped) then Kubica, Alonso, Massa (all stopped). However in the confusion of Raikkonen's Ferrari stop Massa hadn't taken on any fuel and had been sent round again. When he finally rejoined the race with more fuel on board he was way back in 17th.

On Lap 21 we were racing again and Nick Heidfeld set about creating a huge gap to P2 Barrichello who was sometimes two seconds a lap slower than the BMW driver.

On Lap 28 Nelson Piquet spun his car at the entry to Turn 3 and the Renault ended sideways across the track, nose pointing centimeters away from the wall. Reversing out, he almost collected Felipe Massa. It had already been an eventful race for Nelson, having overtaken both Toyotas and clouting Jarno Trulli's tyres hard at the Casino hairpin.

On Lap 29 Heidfeld pitted for his one and only time, coming out in front of Robert Kubica who would have to stop again - at this point, Lap 30, Rubens Barrichello led the race. In a Honda.

Kubica got past Heidfeld suspiciously easily on Lap 31 and set off after the non-stoppers.

On Lap 32 the order was: Barrichello, Nakajima, Coulthard, Trulli, Glock and Vettel (all not stopped) followed by Kubica, Heidfeld, Alonso and Kovalainen who had all stopped once.

Barrichello pitted on Lap 35 handing over the lead to Coulthard who came in a lap later. The men on the move at this stage of the race were Kubica who was making his way towards the front as the non-stoppers pitted, and Felipe Massa who was recovering well.

By Lap 43 the order had shaken out to 1.Kubica, 2.Heidfeld, 3.Alonso, 4.Coulthard, 5.Barrichello, 6.Kovalainen, 7.Massa, 8. Button, 9. Nakajima, 10.Webber. Kubica was stretching out a lead that would allow him to pit one final time while Fernando Alonso was pressuring Heidfeld and Kovalainen and Massa were being held up by Barrichello.

Alonso had a couple of looks at Heidfeld into Turn 1 but didn't make it though, then on Lap 46 lost control of his car in Turn 7 (like Mark Webber in Qualifying) and ended his race in the barrier. At the same time Nakajima's afternoon came to an end after running into the back of Jenson Button's Honda at the Casino hairpin. When the Japanese driver's car got into the pit lane his nose jammed under the front wheels and he speared into the barriers.

At the end of Lap 49 Robert Kubica had a 26 second lead, enough to take a final pit stop and rejoin comfortably in the lead from Nick Heidfeld and now Coulthard in P3.

Heikki Kovalainen finally lined Rubens Barrichello up at the Casino hairpin on Lap 51 and was effortlessly inside him. In fact, Rubens ran so wide that the pursuing Felipe Massa followed through as well, and, seeing Kovalainen lose grip on the marbles, nipped cheekily across the grass and took both cars at once. It was an exhilarating moment.

Massa immediately set off in pursuit of DC's podium position, but would still have to pit again for more fuel. When Giancarlo Fisichella lost control of his car at Turn 4 on Lap 53 his Force India was in a similarly precarious position to Sutil's which had brought out the Safety Car, but this time it was recovered under double waved yellows.

Massa, Kovalainen, Button and Webber all pitted again leaving the order on Lap 55 as: Kubica, Heidfeld, Coulthard, Barrichello, Glock, Trulli, Massa, Vettel and Nico Rosberg.

The Toyotas closed and both passed Barrichello on Lap 59 when Rubens took to the grass between Turns 3 / 4. Massa nailed him up the inside of Turn 1 to take sixth place on Lap 60. Rubens would hang onto 7th, but Massa wasn't finished yet.

Closing behind the Toyotas and with every driver having to be mindful of getting off line and onto the marbles he had to wait his opportunity to get past the Toyotas. That moment arrived on Lap 67 when Glock ran wide in Turn 2 and Trulli was delayed by his team-mate. Massa arrived with momentum and nicked 5th place, but Glock held on to 4th until the line.

Robert Kubica duly took his first and well-deserved GP win, followed home by BMW team-mate Nick Heidfeld, who was being gently caught by David Coulthard's Red Bull. Glock and Massa were 4th and 5th, Trulli had to settle for 6th while Ruben Barrichello picked up two unexpected points in 7th and Sebastian Vettel held onto 8th place thanks to several trips across the inside of the final chicane to keep Heikki Kovalainen at bay.

Never having a won a race before BMW boss Mario Theissen looked like a man who still had to learn how to celebrate. They had achieved their target for the year with a first win for the team - the fact that Kubica now led the driver's championship was just icing on a very big cake.

Frank Hopkinson

01 R. Kubica BMW 1:36:24.447
02 N. Heidfeld BMW + 16.495
03 D. Coulthard Red Bull + 23.352
04 T. Glock Toyota + 42.627
05 F. Massa Ferrari + 43.934
06 J. Trulli Toyota + 47.775
07 R. Barrichello Honda + 53.597
08 S. Vettel Scuderia Toro Rosso + 54.120
09 H. Kovalainen McLaren + 54.433
10 N. Rosberg Williams + 57.749
11 J. Button Honda + 1:17.540
12 M. Webber Red Bull + 1:21.229
13 S. Bourdais Scuderia Toro Rosso + 1 laps
Did not finish
14 G. Fisichella Force India F1 + 17 laps
15 K. Nakajima Williams + 23 laps
16 F. Alonso Renault + 25 laps
17 N. Piquet jr. Renault + 29 laps
18 K. Räikkönen Ferrari + 50 laps
19 L. Hamilton McLaren + 50 laps
20 A. Sutil Force India F1 + 56 laps 

Lewis Hamilton wins in Monaco

Lewis Hamilton in the rain

Lewis Hamilton in the rain

more rain

FIA president Mosley makes first F1 appearance since sex scandal

May 22, 2008, 11:14


MONTE CARLO, Monaco -- Embattled FIA president Max Mosley emerged at the Monaco Grand Prix on Thursday, making his first Formula One appearance since being embroiled in a sex scandal.

Max Mosley said he was too busy to answer questions in Monaco, where he made his first F1 appearance since his infamous sex scandal.

The 68-year-old Englishman walked past a group of photographers and reporters and through the pit lane after coming out of the governing body's paddock office.

"I can't speak. I'm too busy," said Mosley, who was scheduled to meet with team officials during a day of practice for Sunday's GP.

Toro Rosso driver Sebastian Vettel walked alongside the group but wouldn't comment. Red Bull's Mark Webber is the only driver to have spoken out on the controversy.

"Most guys say 'no comment' because it's easier, but if someone asks you if it is good or bad, why can't you say what you think?" the Australian driver said. "He's big enough and old enough to make his own decisions for himself, and what will be will be this weekend."

Mosley has been under fire since being exposed in a British tabloid for having taken part in sex acts with five prostitutes in London, in a session the News of the World said involved a sadomasochistic, Nazi theme. It emerged Sunday that the wife of a British MI5 intelligence agent was the prostitute who sold the story.

Mosley has laid low since the Crown Prince of Bahrain asked him not to attend the Bahrain GP at the start of April after the scandal broke. He also missed the Spanish and Turkish GPs.

Mosley's fate will be decided at a June 3 special assembly by FIA in Paris.

Mosley was meeting with Williams team principal Alan Parr on Thursday, a day after talks with Ferrari head Stefano Domenicali and Renault team principal Flavio Briatore.

BMW Sauber head Mario Theissen said he doesn't expect Mosley's presence to overshadow F1's marquee race around the streets of the tiny principality.

"I'm not looking for him," Theissen said when asked if he would avoid Mosley.

F1 chief Bernie Ecclestone was expecting to see Mosley at some point.

"He lives here," Ecclestone said. moseley

Mosley's fourth mandate ends in October 2009. He has sent a letter sent to FIA's 200 member federations saying F1's future could be jeopardized if he is ousted.

FIA and rights holder Formula One Management are renegotiating the commercial rights to F1, and Mosley says any instability in the presidency would give F1 Management -- owned by Ecclestone -- the chance "to take over Formula One completely."

Ecclestone sees the whole affair in business terms.

"The problem is that the European Commission is quite clear that the FIA will just regulate motor sport and we are the commercial rights holder, so we're not taking over," Ecclestone said. "We have a Concorde agreement signed and it's what we've had for 25 years and its worked very well. We just want to re-sign (it)."

The Concorde agreement, signed in 1981, is the document which sets the terms by which the teams compete in races and share television revenue and prize money.

Max Moseley is the son of the fascist Oswald Moseley. Max Moseley paid 5 prostitutes 2,500 pounds to dress up as Nazis and beat him. One of the prostitutes was married to an MI5 agent, who placed a hidden video camera in the room and sold the story to the News of the World. Max Moseley did nothing wrong yet he is the victim. The MI5 agent who misappropriated public funds and misused government surveillance equipment has yet to be accused of any wrongdoing.

Force India want Raikkonen banned

Sunday 25th May 2008

Force India have made a formal complaint against Kimi Raikkonen and demanded that the World Champion is banned after he shunted the luckless Adrian Sutil out of the Monaco GP.

Sutil was on course to finish a career-best fourth when, shortly after the second re-start of the race following the deployment of the Safety Car, he was hit from behind by Raikkonen as the Finn lost control exiting the tunnel. As luck - well, bad luck - would have it, the Ferrari driver was able to continue, but the damage to the Force India was terminal. Sutil, close to tears, was beyond consolation.

While the German later spoke phlegmatically of the "disappointment", Mike Gascoyne, the team's Technical Director, bitterly condemned the World Champion's driving.

"Raikkonen always looked like doing stupid and in the end he did," the 'Rottweiler' barked. "If that was the other way around, and it was a little Force India driver hitting the World Champion, then he would be facing a one- or two-race ban. We've asked the stewards to take a look and act accordingly."

Monaco GP: Lewis wins action-packed race

Sunday 25th May 2008

MONTE CARLO, Monaco -- Just how prestigious is a victory in the Monaco Grand Prix?

After he won the 2003 Monaco Grand Prix, Juan Pablo Montoya rated it similar to winning the 2000 Indianapolis 500.

"Winning in Monaco is a bit like when I was in America and I went to Indy," he said in 2003. "It is like the most special race you can win. And being the only street course in the championship, it is very special. It is a great atmosphere, it is a bit different to every other race, and to come here and win is fantastic."

A win at Monaco pays 10 points, just like a victory at any other Grand Prix on the calendar.

But drivers treasure a win through the glamorous streets of Monaco far more than just any race victory.

"A win here is very special," two-time Monaco winner Fernando Alonso told

"Monte Carlo, Indianapolis, Monza [Italy], Spa [Belgium]. There are three or four F1 circuits that all the drivers want to win. I have been lucky the last two years [2006 and 2007] to win here, and obviously I want to win more and more here."

Alonso said drivers would exchange a F1 win just about anywhere for a win in Monaco.

"In 10 years' time, 20 years' time, it will be something special to taste," he said.

Monaco is the jewel in F1's crown.

People who know little of auto racing, never mind F1 specifically, know about the famous Monaco Grand Prix.

Like the Indianapolis 500 and the Le Mans 24 Hours, the Monaco Grand Prix is a "stand-alone" event.

All three tracks have histories dating to the early days of racing. Indianapolis opened in 1909. Le Mans staged its first 24-hour race in 1923, and Monaco held the first Grand Prix in 1929.

These three races unofficially comprise the triple crown of racing worldwide. Graham Hill is the only driver to have won all three.

The first Monaco Grand Prix was won by an Anglo-French driver listed by the pseudonym "Williams" on the entry list and driving a Bugatti. William Grover, his real name, later worked as a secret agent for the Allies behind enemy lines in World War II. He was captured and executed by the Nazis.

Another British driver won the Monaco Grand Prix 79 years later, as Lewis Hamilton steered his Vodafone McLaren Mercedes through treacherously slippery conditions to victory on Sunday.

This is the best win ever, for sure. … It was the most fun I have had in a race. Ever.

-- Lewis Hamilton

"This has got to be the highlight of my career and I am sure it will continue to be the highlight for the rest of my life," an ecstatic Hamilton said. "I remember on the last few laps I was just thinking that Ayrton Senna won here a lot of times, and to win here would be amazing."

Senna, Hamilton's hero, won the Monaco Grand Prix a record six times.

Monaco is all about tradition. And it's about glitz and glamour and huge yachts and exotic cars. It's about excess and seeing and being seen.

For the drivers, however, the lure of Monaco is not the glitz but the challenge of surviving 78 laps just inches away from walls and barriers at high speed.

Mark Webber won the Formula 3000 race held in conjunction with the 2001 Monaco Grand Prix. Since graduating to F1, he scored a third-place finish in 2005 and has had several other strong showings, including fourth this year.

What makes doing well at Monaco so special?
(continued in column 3)

Monaco GP: Lewis wins action-packed race

Sunday 25th May 2008

Lewis Hamilton fought back from an early barrier-bending puncture to win an incident-filled Monaco Grand Prix.

A wet start to the race meant the treacherous street circuit become an obstacle course that few front wings survived. It was the theme of the day as drivers tapped one another or shunted with the barriers, limping back to their pits for quick repairs before heading out again.

Surprisingly, though, only six drivers failed to finish the incident-packed race. However, only one, Hamilton, actually benefited from his minor crash.

It allowed the Brit to pit early for fuel and tyres, putting him in contention for the victory while the early leader and pole position man Felipe Massa took the conservative approach which cost him any chance of winning. In fact it even cost him second place which Robert Kubica took off him in the second round of pit stops.

Mark Webber eventually finished fourth after a late Safety Car saw the field bunch up and Kimi Raikkonen take out Adrian Sutil. They had been on course to finish fourth and fifth with the Force India driver showing Raikkonen how it's done in Monte Carlo.

Race Report There was light rain falling as the cars lined up on the grid and the teams needed to make the correct choice of tyre. With no indication of how long or how heavy the rain would get, it could have been a choice of wets, intermediates or even dry tyres, but as all the tyre warmers came off it was clear that everyone had opted for the Bridgestone inters.

Kimi Raikkonen had failed to get his tyre selection complete within the allotted three minute time and would face a drive-through penalty later in the race, but even worse luck was to befall McLaren's Heikki Kovalainen who stalled his car before the parade lap and would have to start his race from the pit lane instead of P4.

As the lights went out Felipe Massa took off perfectly from pole position, but Ferrari team-mate Kimi Raikkonen was slow away and Lewis Hamilton was immediately up the inside and into P2. The McLaren driver probably had the pace to get alongside Massa into Turn 1, Ste. Devote, but thought better of it.

Behind, the rest of the field behaved impeccably in the wet conditions and all the cars got through unscathed, though many cars had looks into the Mirabeau. Running down the hill to the Lowe's hairpin Fernando Alonso got tapped up the back by Nico Rosberg who deranged his front wing. It didn't come off, but was left at an unconventional angle.

Nick Heidfeld had started cautiously in the BMW and Jenson Button wanted to get past quickly. Coming out of the Swimming Pool complex Button thought of a move up the inside but left enough room for the German, and then coming out of the corner put his car up the inside at the same time that Heidfeld decided to veer over and cover the line. The Honda wing was immediately knocked off and Button had to pit.

So coming over the line at the end of the first lap it was Massa, Hamilton, Raikkonen, Kubica, Alonso, Rosberg, Trulli Glock, Heidfeld and a slow-starting Mark Webber.

As the cars set about creating a dry line, the spread in lap times was enormous. By the second lap there was already 8 seconds between Massa and fourth place Kubica.

Timo Glock continued the theme started by Rosberg and Button by losing his front wing by spinning away 8th place at the Anthony Nogues (final) corner and dropping back down the field.

At the front Felipe Massa had opened a gap of three seconds to Lewis Hamilton by Lap 5, and Raikkonen was an enormous seven seconds behind the McLaren. Cameras switched to Fernando Alonso having a lurid moment coming out of Casino Square at the same time asking on the radio whether he might go to full wet tyres as the rain got heavier.

Seconds later Lewis Hamilton let the tail of his Mclaren out too wide at Tabac and the right rear impacted the barrier heavily and stripped most of the carcass off the tyre. He was lucky to have his incident so close to the pits and managed to rejoin in 5th place thanks to the huge spread of the field. The McLaren team took the opportunity to stick more fuel in the car and the Brit took on another set of intermediates.

With the rain continuing to fall, on Lap 7, Massa already led his team-mate by 12 seconds, while the uncertain Raikkonen had been caught up by Robert Kubica.

On Lap 8 Alonso ruined his 4th place by hitting the barriers on the outside of Massanet, puncturing his right rear. Seconds later David Coulthard and Sebastien Bourdais hit the same patch of water and hit the Massanet barriers but this time harder than Alonso. The Red Bull getting hit up the back by the Toro Rosso seconds later and both retiring on the spot.

Out came the Safety Car and the field closed up, while both Alonso and Jarno Trulli pitted, Alonso for a tyre and Trulli for a new front wing. Alonso chose to change his tyres to the full wets and rejoined in 7th place.

While the Safety Car circulated the announcement came through that Raikkonen would have to serve a drive-through penalty for changing his tyres on the grid too late.

By Lap 10 we were racing again and the order behind the Safety Car was Massa, Raikkonen (still to stop), Kubica, Hamilton, Heidfeld, Webber, Alonso, Nakajima, Barrichello, Sutil and Piquet in 11th.

On the restart Fernando Alonso launched his Renault up the inside of Mark Webber's Red Bull going into the Mirabeau and controlled the car beautifully - he was up to 6th place and now with the most suitable tyres for the conditions. He was soon up to the back of 5th place Heidfeld and looking for a way past the defensively driving BMW driver.

A lap later and Heidfeld had to hug the barriers coming out of Casino Square to stop Alonso doing to him what he'd done to Mark Webber into Mirabeau. A frustrated Alonso then tried a move that was never going to work and dived down the inside going into the Lowe's hairpin. He arrived there as Heidfeld was already turning in and nerfed him in the side, spinning the BMW round and losing his front wing in the process. The rest of the field queued behind them as they tried to find a way past.

Raikkonen had just taken his drive-through penalty and rejoined behind Lewis Hamilton in P4. At the front Felipe Massa was coming under serious pressure from Robert Kubica who was closing on the Ferrari driver at half a second a lap. Pressure told and at the beginning of Lap 16 Massa missed his braking for Ste. Devote and went straight on down the escape road handing the lead to the Pole.

On Lap 17 the order was Kubica, Massa, Hamilton, Raikkonen. Heidfeld, Webber, Sutil, Nakajima, Trulli and Rubens Barrichello. Sutil in the Force India had kept himself out of the barriers and when the queue formed behind the Heidfeld/Alonso incident had got his car in front of Nakajima.

Mark Webber, and very soon the rest of the field overtook Nick Heidfeld after the BMW developed a puncture. It looked as though the tyre that had taken off Alonso's wing in the Lowe's accident also picked up a puncture at the same time.

On Lap 19 the positions were: Kubica, Massa, Hamilton, Raikkonen, Webber, Sutil, Trulli, Barrichello, Nakajima, Piquet, Vettel and the recovering Heikki Kovalainen.

Despite Robert Kubica's pace - on Lap 21 the Pole took Fastest Lap down to 1:33.218 - Felipe Massa was beginning to close the gap to the leader and open up one to 3rd place Hamilton. By Lap 25 Kubica led by just 1.8 seconds while Massa had almost 15 seconds on Hamilton. Raikkonen was four seconds further back and there was an enormous 27 second gap to 5th place Mark Webber from the 4th place Ferrari.

It all changed on lap 26 when Kubica pitted and took on more intermediates, Kimi Raikkonen couldn't take advantage and pick up a place because he did what Massa had done and drive straight on at Ste. Devote. The only difference was that it dislocated his front wing which hung limply off the Ferrari nose. Kimi returned to the pits for a new one and had to rejoin behind Mark Webber and Adrian Sutil.

The watershed of the race occurred on Lap 29, when for the first time Lewis Hamilton went quicker than Felipe Massa. At this stage of the race Massa had a 16.8 second lead. Hamilton started to put in a series of Fastest Laps while Mark Webber also started to go quickly, although a fair way back in fourth place.

Massa came in for his first pit-stop at the end of Lap 33. When he emerged he was 13.2 seconds behind Hamilton who was now leading. On Lap 34 Lewis put in the first sub 1:30 second lap, a 1:29.420 as he started to put the hammer down.

Despite all the incidents, on Lap 35 approaching half distance, there were still only two cars retired from the race.

Both 4th and 5th place men were flying - on Lap 36 Mark Webber in the Red Bull traded fastest laps with the Force India of Adrian Sutil. The heavily fueled Raikkonen in 6th place was dropping back from the Force India!

Lewis was chipping in with some significant Fastest Laps too and was rapidly opening a gap to Massa. By Lap 38 he had an 18 second lead. By Lap 41 it was up to 21.6. Rubens Barrichello, who always excels in mixed conditions was also joining in the fun with Fastest laps on Lap 40, 42 and 43.

Massa was very sluggish through the traffic and on some laps he lost as much as four seconds to the leader. By Lap 45 the gap was 26.2 seconds.

Despite the computer predicting that there would be rain in six minutes, Fernando Alonso was the first person to change to dry tyres on Lap 45. The change-over from Inters to the normal grooved tyre was reckoned to be a1:26 second lap and on Lap 46 Hamilton took the Fastest lap down to 1:26.546.

Massa was not only going backwards from Hamilton, he was being reeled in by Kubica and on Lap 49 the BMW driver got onto the Ferrari gearbox while the McLaren was a full 32 seconds up the road.

Mark Webber also decided to go for dry tyres when he pitted on lap 49 and at first it looked like it might be a marginal decision as the Red Bull got off line and the tyre lost temperature. Three laps later Rubens Barrichello overtook him going into the final corner, the first successful F1 move witnessed there for many many years. However the good news for Webber was that Alonso had just put in the fastest middle sector of the race and dry tyres was definitely going to be the way to go. Rubens would still have to come in.

On Lap 53 Robert Kubica pitted at the perfect time for dry tyres and rejoined without losing a place just as Fernando Alonso set the Fastest Lap with a 1:24.707. A lap later and the leader Lewis Hamilton was in for dry tyres and was able to rejoin with a comfortable lead.

It now transpired that both Ferraris were fueled to the finish, but both were in danger of shredding their intermediate tyres in the dry conditions. Massa pitted for tyres on Lap 56 and Raikkonen on Lap 57. Massa couldn't make it out in front of Kubica and slithered out of the pit lane as the BMW screeched past.

So the order on Lap 58 was Hamilton 39.3 seconds ahead of Robert Kubica, who had 5.6 seconds on Massa, Sutil was in 4th place a healthy 18 seconds ahead of Raikkonen, followed by Webber, Vettel, Rubens Barrichello and Nakajima.

Then it all changed on Lap 61 as Nico Rosberg's Williams went straight on at the Swimming Pool and bounced off both barriers. Rosberg had had a miserable afternoon, losing two front wings (one his fault, one not) and in clear air had set fastest laps, although with no chance of getting in the points. With his car in pieces on the Swimming Pool exit he managed to hobble over the barriers while the Safety Car was dispatched.

Lewis Hamilton's lead had been 40.3 seconds and it would now be a few car lengths as the stricken Williams was craned clear. The cars lined up behind the Safety Car but the snake was a long time in forming.

On Lap 65 the lapped cars were instructed to overtake the SC and catch up at the back but inexplicably Kovalainen and Heidfeld remained in their place for two laps.

It was all go again on Lap 68 and it was clear now that not all 78 laps would be run and the two-hour rule would prevail. Hamilton got a good restart and easily opened the gap to Kubica. It was the Force India of Adrian Sutil who might come under most threat from Raikkonen. Coming out of the tunnel the Ferrari lost control under braking and Raikkonen got into a 'tank slapper' unable to slow his car he went careering into the back of the Force India.

Ironically, while the Ferrari was able to get a front wing change, the Force India limped back to the pits and retirement, a cruel blow for the team and the distraught German driver. Raikkonen rejoined in 9th place.

Lewis Hamilton proved that he had pace to spare by trading Fastest Lap times with team-mate Heikki Kovalainen in the closing laps, as the Finn stayed ahead of fellow countryman Kimi Raikkonen.

Kubica could get nowhere near Hamilton and similarly Massa was unable to get close to the second place BMW. Mark Webber was up into 4th, with Vettel, Barrichello and Nakajima further behind. Had Heiki Kovalainen got out of the Safety Car crocodile earlier he would no doubt have got himself 7th place as he was hauling the Williams driver in by three seconds a lap.He had to settle for 8th.

Lewis Hamilton duly took an emotional chequered flag on a day when more front wings were destroyed than seemed feasible. Robert Kubica drove a brilliant error-free race for second, while Massa (who'd come perilously close to emulating Hamilton through the Swimming Pool on several occasions ) suffered most from the wrong strategy.

It was perhaps fitting that the World Champion should end up with no points having made several mistakes in a race where he never looked comfortable and was a long way off his team-mate's pace.


01 L. Hamilton McLaren 2:00:42.742
02 R. Kubica BMW + 3.064
03 F. Massa Ferrari + 4.811
04 M. Webber Red Bull + 19.295
05 S. Vettel Toro Rosso + 24.657
06 R. Barrichello Honda + 28.408
07 K. Nakajima Williams + 30.180
08 H. Kovalainen McLaren + 33.191
09 K. Räikkönen Ferrari + 33.792
10 F. Alonso Renault + 1 laps
11 J. Button Honda + 1 laps
12 T. Glock Toyota + 1 laps
13 J. Trulli Toyota + 1 laps
14 N. Heidfeld BMW + 4 laps
Did not finish
15 A. Sutil Force India F1 + 7 laps
16 N. Rosberg Williams + 17 laps
17 N. Piquet jr. Renault + 31 laps
18 G. Fisichella Force India F1 + 40 laps
19 D. Coulthard Red Bull + 70 laps
20 S. Bourdais Scuderia Toro Rosso + 70 laps 

Hamilton earns Formula One victory at wet Monaco GP

May 25, 2008, 11:27 AM ET

MONTE CARLO, Monaco -- Lewis Hamilton overcame an early accident and wet conditions Sunday to win the Monaco Grand Prix and take the lead in the Formula One standings.

Lewis Hamilton's victory on the rainy streets of Monaco was his second in inclement weather. Hamilton also won a wet Japan GP last year.

The McLaren driver, who started third on the grid, finished 3 seconds ahead of BMW Sauber's Robert Kubica, while pole sitter Felipe Massa of Ferrari was third at Formula One's most famous race.

"That was a fantastic job as always," a pumped-up Hamilton said to his team over the radio. "I apologize for hitting the barrier. Let's go party tonight."

The 23-year-old Briton swiped the wall early on but took advantage of Massa's mistake on the slick street circuit to earn his sixth career win.

Massa, starting from the pole, ran off the track 25 laps in to lose the lead with Hamilton able to make up the difference.

Hamilton improved to 38 points in the overall standings, three better than defending world champion Kimi Raikkonen, who finished out of the points in ninth. The Ferrari driver's poor day began with a drive-through penalty and culminated with an accident involving Force India driver Adrian Sutil.

Massa is third with 34 points and Kubica next at 32.

Hamilton hung on despite seeing a 40-second advantage erased with 20 minutes remaining when the safety car emerged after Nico Rosberg of Williams crashed.

Red Bull's Mark Webber was fourth ahead of Sebastian Vettel of Toro Rosso. Rubens Barichello of Honda, Kazuki Nakajima of Williams and Heikki Kovalainen rounded out the places in the points.

The morning rain came and went as drivers took on the tight street circuit without the banned driver aids that help improve traction control.

Kovalainen, fourth on the grid, had to start last after stalling before the formation lap.

Hamilton was sandwiched between the Ferraris after moving ahead of Raikkonen in a clean start for the 20-car field.

Showers picked up and shooting spray had lap times nearly 20 seconds slower than Saturday's qualifying and Hamilton pitted six laps in after his right rear tire brushed the wall.

David Coulthard lost control of his Red Bull car for the second straight day to crash out before Toro Rosso's Sebastien Bourdais reared into him to bring out the safety car for the first time. Six drivers would retire as the 78-lap race was transformed into a clock countdown with Hamilton in front at the end.

Raikkonen was then dealt a drive-through penalty for not fitting his tires in time to start the race and the Finn dropped to fourth behind Hamilton, with Kubica trailing Massa.

Hamilton, who won a wet Japan GP last year, was 17 seconds ahead with half of the 78-laps raced.

With the track drying out, Hamilton set another fastest lap -- 3 seconds better than Massa -- to push out. The McLaren driver was clear with only the weather to worry about after a quick pit after 54 laps and the dry tires fitted.

Sutil was set to score Force India's first points with a fourth-place finish before Raikkonen ran into him with 7 minutes remaining.

The glamour of Monaco's race carried into the pit lane with film director Quentin Tarantino, actress Michelle Yeoh, entertainment mogul Sean "P. Diddy" Combs and tennis star Boris Becker all on hand.

I won before
I won
Felipe Massa
Lewis in the tunnel
Timo Glock

What makes doing well at Monaco so special?
(continued from column 1)

"It is a real challenge for the drivers," Webber told "The drivers like the unique challenge of Monaco, which is zero tolerance for mistakes. Immense concentration. Absolute focus.

"You get punished incredibly quickly if you screw up here, not like other places where you can get away with a few mistakes here and there, especially the modern circuits. This place bit me in Formula 3000 in 2000. I was determined to come back and master the place, and I won the next year in F3000."

Monaco is a true street circuit. Venues like Montreal and Melbourne, Australia, are more like "park tracks" with a combination of streets and an actual racetrack in a city park. The latter tracks do offer at least a tiny bit of runoff area, allowing the driver to make a mistake of a few inches here or there.

In Monaco, the walls bite any error of judgment.

"Monaco is my favorite race," Hamilton said. "You have the history all around, you can just feel it, and the atmosphere is fantastic. It is the Grand Prix that every driver wants to win. Being a street circuit, it is very exciting to drive -- there is no room for any error all weekend.

"You are on the limit the whole time; there are no long straights where you have a moment to think. It is so tight and narrow, and when you consider how quick you are driving, it is unreal. To be quick you need to use every centimeter of the circuit, this even includes touching the barriers at some points."

Ironically, Hamilton did tag the barriers early in the race and got a flat tire, but he got back to the pits for new tires and a new fuel strategy that allowed him to win.

Later this season, two new street tracks join the F1 calendar with races in Spain and Singapore.

"It will be interesting to see how the street circuits in Valencia and Singapore compare," said Jenson Button. "The whole lap at Monaco is just a nonstop challenge, and you have to maintain absolute focus and concentration over every single one of the 78 laps of the race. The absolute key to a really quick lap is to not let the barriers intimidate you, as this is a circuit that rewards precision."

Not all the drivers like Monaco.

In the past, Felipe Massa finished third here, and he also raced from 16th on the grid to fifth in 2004. This year he started on pole and finished third.

"I have had some good results here," he said, "but it is not one of my favorite circuits. I enjoy much more a real circuit like, for example, Spa or Turkey. Even the new circuits, Bahrain and China, I prefer much more than here.

"A street circuit is not very fun to drive. It looks like sometimes that if you push a little bit you are slow. So you need to drive very technical, you need to be very careful, as if you brake a little bit late sometimes you gain in the braking but you lose in the exit, so it is very different driving here than the other circuits."

Heikki Kovalainen and most of the other drivers disagree.

"I always enjoy driving at Monaco because it is a very challenging circuit," Kovalainen said. "Some people think because it is not as fast it must be easier, but it is not very forgiving and you have to focus every single moment and be the maximum on each lap. You can't relax anywhere.

"It also has unique characteristics, such as the sound is very different. It is louder even in the car because of the buildings surrounding the track. All the drivers like it because it is a challenge, and we like our challenges! It is a very special race and it is very difficult to win. That is why everybody is very motivated to do just that."

Kovalainen's McLaren teammate Hamilton will savor his win for a long, long time.

"This is the best win ever, for sure," Hamilton said after his victory Sunday. "Even if I was to win here again, which I plan on doing, this is the best one. It was the most fun I have had in a race. Ever."

Jenson Button and la tete de chien in the background
Felipe Massa
Sebastien Bourdais

Massa wins in Turkey

Massa wins in Turkey

Turkish GP: Massa makes it three from three

Sunday 11th. May 2008

Felipe Massa scored a hat-trick of Turkish GP victories following a fascinating tactical battle with Lewis Hamilton.

Three of Massa's seven career wins have now come at the Istanbul Park circuit, propelling the Brazilian to within seven points of current Championship leader and Ferrari team-mate Kimi Raikkonen.

The Brazilian was forced to settle for third as Hamilton managed to hold off the reigning World Champion over the closing laps to claim the runner-up spot in his McLaren.

However, only McLaren will know whether their gamble to put Hamilton on a three-stopper cost him the victory or secured him second place.

Grand Prix Report The ambient temperature at the track was an unseasonally low 17C with heavy cloud and a slim chance of rain towards the end of the race. The track was at an equally low 29C.

As the cars formed upon the grid there was an unusually long pause before the red lights went on (and out), but it wasn't long before Heikki Kovalainen's race was heading swiftly downhill. Starting from P2 on the grid, he couldn't match polesitter Felipe Massa's pace away from the line and vainly moved across to the racing line to see Lewis Hamilton and Robert Kubica sweep past him on the outside.

At the same time Kimi Raikkonen, who also started from the dirty side, decided to see if he could find a way down the inside of Kovalainen. It was a risky move for the Ferrari driver because there was nowhere near enough room and as Heikki closed the door he had to stand on the brakes. Even then he didn't make it and his front wing speared into Kovalainen's tyre giving it a slow puncture.

The heavy stop for Raikkonen allowed Kubica and Alonso through and Mark Webber almost got by as well. For Kovalainen, though, it meant an inevitable return to the pits to change tyres and his chance of any points gone.

At least he'd get to race, though, unlike Kazuki Nakajima who was ploughed into by Giancarlo Fisichella. Fisichella simply came into Turn 1 too quickly, braked too late and slammed into the back of the entirely innocent Williams-Toyota driver. Fisichella characterised it as "I did a good start, some other driver closed the door and I couldn't stop."

The Force-India was out on the spot, the third year in a row Fisi's had an accident on the opening lap in Turkey. For his part Nakajima took it very well but it was a mystery that the stewards didn't think it was worth investigating, if only to put on record where Giancarlo thought his braking point might have been.

The Safety Car was instantly dispatched to collect the field with the order: Massa, Hamilton, Kubica, Kovalainen, Alonso, Raikkonen, Webber, Heidfeld, Rosberg, Coulthard, Trulli, and Button.

Sebastian Vettel continued his run of poor opening lap form and pitted for a rear puncture, while Adrian Sutil needed a new front wing.

We were racing again on Lap 3 and immediately Felipe Massa started collecting Fastest Laps and it looked like this would be the start of another Ferrari demonstration. However by Lap 6, Hamilton was lapping faster than the Ferrari driver and by Lap 7 it was Lewis who had the Fastest Lap with a 1:27.427, the gap between the two just 1.4 seconds.

Kimi Raikkonen made shot work of overtaking Fernando Alonso who eased off the throttle as though he were being lapped to let the Ferrari past.

Felipe and Lewis began to trade Fastest Laps between them as they pulled clear of Robert Kubica in third, with Raikkonen trailing the Pole by a steady second and a half in fourth place. Lewis brought the Fastest Lap time down to 1:26.869 on Lap 12, but a lap later he did a 1:26.951 compared to Massa's 1:26.919. It was all very close. More Fastest Laps from Lewis reduced Massa's lead to just 0.7 of a second at the end of Lap 15.

Fernando Alonso was the first driver to stop at the end of Lap 15, but Hamilton caught a lot of people unawares by pitting at the end of Lap16. By taking on board just 53 liters of fuel in a six-second stop, it looked like the McLaren driver was shaping up for a three-stop race compared to the conventional wisdom of two stops.

It was clear now that McLaren had attempted - and failed - to grab pole position in Qualifying and control the pace of the race from the front.

Massa and Kubica pitted on Lap 19, and though Kimi Raikkonen managed to put in the fastest lap of the race on Lap 20 with a 1:25.506 he was already too far back to get past anyone except third placed Kubica. And so when battle was recommenced on Lap 22, Massa had a 0.8 gap over Hamilton, with Raikkonen 7.7 seconds from Hamilton, but now in front of the BMW-Sauber.

In this stint, though, Hamilton looked a lot quicker than Massa thanks to his much smaller fuel load. The Brit closed surprisingly easily and running down towards the final complex of turns on Lap 24 launched his McLaren up the inside of the Ferrari. Massa moved across to defend the line leaving a car and a half's width through which Hamilton threaded his McLaren. Both were now well off the racing line and Massa had to give way to avoid contact (though they still almost touched wheels).

Hamilton was through and set about establishing a lead. The positions on Lap 25 were now: Hamilton, Massa, Raikkonen, Kubica, Heidfeld, Alonso, Webber (all stopped) followed by Button, Barrichello and Glock (not stopped) Heikki Kovalainen had made it though to 11th place.

On Lap 26 Sebastian Bourdais became the third and final retirement from the race when something broke at the back of his Toro Rosso and the car went straight on into the Turn 10 gravel.

At the front, Hamilton was pumping in some amazing quick laps to establish a gap to Massa
Lap 26: 2.8 gap
Lap 27: 3.8 gap
Lap 28: 4.8 gap
Lap 29: 5.5 gap
Lap 30: 6.3 gap
Lap 31: 7.5 gap

At the end of Lap 32 Hamilton came in for another quick stop and exited behind Kimi Raikkonen in third place. This time round, though, the McLaren driver did not make serious inroads and put pressure on Raikkonen. Further back his Finnish team-mate was having fun battling through the field. On Lap 35 Kovalainen overtook, lost the place then re-overtook Timo Glock in the final sequence of corners and out onto the pit-straight.

Nelson Piquet Junior achieved the same feat with Jenson Button, although Jenson, having successfully defended his 11th place, allowed room for Piquet at the apex and was squashed firmly into the pit lane entrance in return and Piquet took the place.

By Lap 39 the field had been sufficiently spread out that the closest battle was between Raikkonen in P2, 2.5 seconds ahead of Hamilton in P3.

Massa and Kubica pitted for the second and final time at the end of Lap 40, while Raikkonen waited until Lap 43. As Raikkonen went in for his stop, Lewis Hamilton had reduced the deficit to just 1.6 seconds and instantly set about some fast laps. On Lap 44 he was a whole 1.4 seconds quicker than Massa, but Raikkonen was maintaining his pace.

Hamilton had just two laps to establish an advantage because he was in at the end of Lap 45. The McLaren was stationary for just 5.9 seconds and easily cleared the Ferrari of Raikkonen on its return to the track. Massa was already five seconds down the road, though.

The positions on Lap 46 were: Massa, Hamilton, Raikkonen, Kubica, Heidfeld, Alonso, Trulli (not stopped) Webber, Rosberg and Coulthard. From there on in, the front three produced very similar lap times to the flag. Massa had a 5.2 advantage on Lap 46 and Hamilton had 1.4 on Raikkonen. Traffic and slightly faster lap-times reduced Hamilton's lead over Raikkonen to 0.7 by Lap 50, but at the end of the penultimate lap, Lap 57, it was still the same.

Though Kimi could close up through the final two slow corners, the McLaren was always 0.2 faster in the first sector. The final stages of the race, although a stalemate at the front, was illuminated by Heiki Kovalainen producing a series of banzai overtaking moves on Coulthard (Lap 49), Rosberg (Lap 50) after which he had to pit for a splash and dash, ending the afternoon by seeing off Glock around the outside of Turn 3 for P12.

The BMWs had cruised round for most of the race by themselves, Nick Heidfeld having dispensed with Mark Webber and Fernando Alonso after the first round of pit-stops to take 5th place, and Robert Kubica slowly dropping backwards from the battle at the front in 4th. Fernando Alonso had pit-stopped his Renault early, but Mark Webber couldn't take advantage in the Red Bull and the pair ended up 6th and 7th respectively. Nico Rosberg had the satisfaction of 8th place and beating the official Toyota team.

Most satisfied of all, though, was Felipe Massa who took his third successive Turkish GP win from his third successive Turkish GP pole. With a race he rarely does well at (Monaco) coming up next, it couldn't have come at a better time.


01 F. Massa Ferrari 1:26:49.451
02 L. Hamilton McLaren + 3.779
03 K. Räikkönen Ferrari + 4.271
04 R. Kubica BMW + 21.945
05 N. Heidfeld BMW + 38.741
06 F. Alonso Renault + 53.724
07 M. Webber Red Bull + 1:04.229
08 N. Rosberg Williams + 1:11.406
09 D. Coulthard Red Bull + 1:15.270
10 J. Trulli Toyota + 1:16.344
11 J. Button Honda + 1 laps
12 H. Kovalainen McLaren + 1 laps
13 T. Glock Toyota + 1 laps
14 R. Barrichello Honda + 1 laps
15 N. Piquet jr. Renault + 1 laps
16 A. Sutil Force India F1 + 1 laps
17 S. Vettel Scuderia Toro Rosso + 1 laps
Did not finish
18 S. Bourdais Scuderia Toro Rosso + 32 laps
19 K. Nakajima Williams + 57 laps
20 G. Fisichella Force India F1 + 58 laps

Start of Spanish GP

Start of Spanish GP

Finish of Spanish GP

Ferrari one two, Hamilton third.

Finish - Ferrari one two, Hamilton third.

Spanish GP: Kimi wins but Heikki makes headlines.

Sunday 27th April 2008.

Kaikkonen made it three in a row for Ferrari as the Finn claimed the Spanish GP victory ahead of team-mate Felipe Massa.

The action and excitement of Sunday's retirement-packed race was overshadowed by a huge accident on Lap 22 that sent Heikki Kovalainen hurtling into the tyre wall at Turn Nine at 140mph.

Marshals had to pull his McLaren out of the barrier before the medics could help him, taking him by ambulance to the track's medical centre where he was declared "stable."

But while Kovalainen's retirement was the most dramatic, it wasn't the only one as eight other drivers joined him on the sidelines including home-town favourite Fernando Alonso. The Spaniard's dream start from second on the grid ended with an engine failure halfway through the race.

Race Report

The cars started off on the parade lap in bright sunshine with an ambient temperature of 23C and a track surface temperature of 40C. Everyone had opted for the softer tyre. As the cars headed round the final turn we got the unusual sight from Fernando Alonso's on-board camera of the Renault on the grass on the outside, his tyre-warming manoeuvres having gone too far. Thankfully he didn't hit anything, but with debris on his tyres, it wasn't the greatest move for someone on the front-row.

As the lights went out both Ferraris were swiftly away and Alonso was demoted to P3 long before the braking zone for Turn 1. All the fun was to be had between Lewis Hamilton and Robert Kubica. Kubica starting from P4 moved to the inside line to block Hamilton off, but Hamilton kept on coming and was very close to clipping the grass at the end of the pit lane as he got inside him and took the place.

Kubica knew he'd lost it, but when Lewis eased back to the racing line he was in danger of squeezing Kubica against Heikki Kovalainen who was now challenging round the outside.

Everyone got through Turn 1, but going into Turn 2 at the back of the pack Adrian Sutil tried an over-ambitious move to get past old stager David Coulthard, lost control and spun in front of the backmarkers. The unfortunate casualty of this was Sebastian Vettel's Toro Rosso which had nowhere else to go but to clatter into the sliding Force India. Sutil and Vettel both out and the Safety Car deployed on the first lap.

As they came across the line at reduced pace the order was: Raikkonen, Massa, Alonso, Hamilton, Kubica, Kovalainen, Heidfeld, Webber, Trulli, Piquet, Rosberg (who made the most impressive start of anyone, up from 15th), Barrichello and Button.

The two stricken cars had been removed for the beginning of Lap 4 and we were GO again. At which point Nelson Piquet Jr's afternoon went downhill. On Lap 5 Piquet went off-track with a mistake and he sank down behind Bourdais' Toro Rosso in the order. Two laps later his race was over after he tried to overtake Bourdais from too far back and launched his R28 up the inside just as the French driver turned in. The pair banged wheels and both were out - Piquet stranded on the track, Bourdais able to limp back.

At the front Kimi Raikkonen set about bringing down the Fastest Lap time from Takuma Sato's 2:10.548 on Lap 2. By Lap 9 he had it down to 1:22.526 with a 2.7 second gap to his team-mate. On Lap 10 he reduced it to 1:22.508, Lap 12 1:22.518, Lap13 1:22.178, Lap 15 1:21.971.

The pundits had predicted that Fernando Alonso would be in at the end of Lap 14 for fuel. Prolonged by the Safety Car he came in at the end of Lap 16 and rejoined in 11th place. It looked very much like he'd be battling for 6th or 7th places.

However the heartening thing for the Spanish crowd, the Renault team and Fernando in particular was that Massa came in for fuel at the end of Lap 19 and Raikkonen Lap 20, which meant that Alonso had just four laps less fuel on board and almost grabbed pole. It was game on again for the Renault team.

Robert Kubica and Lewis Hamilton came in for fuel on Lap 21 which was fortunate given what was about to happen. Running into Turn 9 on Lap 22, Heikki Kovalainen's front left tyre on the McLaren suddenly lost pressure and the car went straight on into the barriers, the speed woefully unabated by the gravel run-off. The McLaren buried itself deep in the tyre barriers at speed with the cockpit disappearing beneath the tyre sheath.

Surprisingly, race control took its time to dispatch the Safety Car on Lap 23 hotly followed by the Medical Car as the worldwide audience held its breath.

Nick Heidfeld had been caught out by the timing of the accident and low on fuel the BMW had no choice but to come into the pits even though the pit lane was officially closed. When he did, he automatically incurred a stop and go penalty, all from the arbitrary nature of chance. His chances of points were now remote as at the re-start on Lap 29 he would be last.

Before that time Rubens Barrichello had ruined his record equaling 256th GP start by losing his front wing. When the pit lane finally opened he came in and had lost his nose by the time the Honda was cruising down the pit lane. He came back in for another but retired soon after.

After the re-start the cars began to space out again, but this time the Ferraris weren't able to extend a huge margin on the rest of the field. The positions on Lap 34 were: 1.Raikkonen 2.Massa 3.Hamilton 4.Kubica 5.Alonso 6.Webber 7.Trulli 8.Rosberg 9.Nakajima 10.Sato 11.Glock

A lap later and the home crowd's hopes of a strong Alonso finish were over when the Renault engine smoked and died, Alonso parking his car at the side of the track to huge applause from the home crowd. Seven laps later and Rosberg's Williams-Toyota engine suffered the same fate on the straight.

Coming up to the second round of pit-stops Raikkonen held a 3.5 second gap to Massa, who was 3.2 seconds in front of Hamilton who was just 2.1 seconds in front of Robert Kubica's persistent BMW.

An indication that the second round of pit-stops were coming up was when Felipe Massa reduced the Fastest Lap to 1:21.801 on Lap 45 and then Kimi Raikkonen lowered it to 1:21.670 on Lap 46. Massa pitted at the end of Lap 46 along with Webber and Trulli, while Raikkonen, Hamilton and Kubica all came in a lap later. No positions were changed, but with harder tyres now on all the cars, the McLaren was able to close a little on the Ferraris at the start of the next stint.

It didn't last long and the red cars looked to have it all under control even though Hamilton whittled the gap to less than two seconds to Massa in the last six laps.

The only moment of drama in the closing phase of the race was when Timo Glock had a rush of blood to the head and skeetered his Toyota into the back of David Coulthard's Red Bull on Lap 54. The stewards decided it was worth investigating after the race, unlike the Piquet/Bourdais shunt which was put down to a 'racing accident'.

Kimi Raikkonen took a confident win from Massa, but Hamilton and Kubica had pushed the Ferraris right to the end. They were closer courtesy of the Safety Cars but were all lapping around the same time on the harder tyre.

Mark Webber took a useful fifth place, while Jenson Button lucked into three points for sixth place, Nakajima was seventh for Williams-Toyota and Jarno Trulli's three-stop Toyota strategy netted eighth. It had been an eventful but processional race with only one overtaking move of merit witnessed when Heidfeld overtook Fisichella.

The Safety Cars blunted Ferraris true advantage and the Championship still looks like theirs and Raikkonen's to lose. The best news of all was that Heikki Kovalainen was concussed but had no broken bones. Now that really was a result.


01 K. Raikkonen Ferrari 1:38:19.051
02 F. Massa Ferrari + 3.228
03 L. Hamilton McLaren + 4.187
04 R. Kubica BMW + 5.694
05 M. Webber Red Bull + 35.938
06 J. Button Honda + 53.010
07 K. Nakajima Williams + 58.244
08 J. Trulli Toyota + 59.435
09 N. Heidfeld BMW + 1:03.073
10 G. Fisichella Force India F1 + 1 laps
11 T. Glock Toyota + 1 laps
12 D. Coulthard Red Bull + 1 laps
13 T. Sato Super Aguri + 1 laps
Did not finish
14 N. Rosberg Williams + 25 laps
15 F. Alonso Renault + 32 laps
16 R. Barrichello Honda + 32 laps
17 H. Kovalainen McLaren + 45 laps
18 A. Davidson Super Aguri + 58 laps
19 S. Bourdais Scuderia Toro Rosso + 58 laps
20 N. Piquet jr. Renault + 59 laps
21 S. Vettel Scuderia Toro Rosso + 66 laps
22 A. Sutil Force India F1 + 66 laps 

Hamilton third behind Raikkonen

Eurosport - Mon, 28 Apr 17:15:00 2008

Lewis Hamilton battled to a podium finish at the Spanish Grand Prix as Kimi Raikkonen and Felipe Massa secured a Ferrari one-two.

Hamilton third behind Raikkonen

Eurosport - Mon, 28 Apr 17:15:00 2008

Lewis Hamilton battled to a podium finish at the Spanish Grand Prix as Kimi Raikkonen and Felipe Massa secured a Ferrari one-two.

Raikkonen's 17th grand prix win - from pole position - left the Finn with 29 points, nine clear of closest rival Hamilton, and catapulted Ferrari back in front of BMW Sauber in the constructors' standings.

"If we wanted, we could have gone a bit faster but there was no point in pushing more than we need to," said Raikkonen, who still set the fastest lap.

Spaniard Fernando Alonso, who started on the front row for Renault, retired on lap 35 with a blown engine but he had already fallen down the field after being the first driver to refuel.

Massa, winner in Bahrain, had got past double world champion Alonso at the start while Hamilton slotted into fourth place after muscling past BMW Sauber's Robert Kubica from fifth.

"When we qualified fifth we knew it would be very difficult to beat the Ferraris," said Hamilton. "The key was to get a good start and make up as many places as possible.

"We had two bad races and to come back on the podium is fantastic."

While Raikkonen had an uneventful afternoon in the sunshine, his compatriot Heikki Kovalainen was flown to hospital with concussion after his McLaren plunged across the gravel and into a tyre wall.

Kovalainen had been leading at the time after both Ferraris and Hamilton had made their first pit stops.

"He banged his head in the accident and has concussion. As a precaution he is going to hospital to have more checks," McLaren chief executive Martin Whitmarsh said.

Briton Hamilton, who suffered a similar accident at the Nuerburgring last year, said he had been concerned until team boss Ron Dennis had assured him on the radio that Kovalainen was conscious and stable.

The safety car was deployed following Kovalainen's crash, having already been brought out after Sebastian Vettel's Toro Rosso and Force India's Adrian Sutil collided on the first lap.

Poland's Kubica finished fourth, moving him up to third in the championship with 19 points, ahead of Massa on 18, with Australian Mark Webber fifth in a Red Bull.

Britain's Jenson Button finished sixth for Honda's first points of the year while Japan's Kazuki Nakajima was seventh for Williams and Italian Jarno Trulli eighth for Toyota.

Ferrari lead the constructors' standings with 47 points to BMW Sauber's 35. McLaren have 34.

The first European race of the season ended with an entirely predictable result, with the Circuit de Catalunya setting a record as the track with the longest run of successive winners from pole position.

Raikkonen, the only driver to have won twice so far this season, was the eighth in a row to have triumphed in Barcelona from pole. Reuters

Felipe Massa

Felipe Massa wins in Bahrain

Start of Bahrain GP

start of Bahrain GP

Bahrain GP: Massa bounces back in style

Sunday 6th April 2008

Felipe Massa has bounced back from his miserable start to the 2008 campaign to take an impressive victory in the Bahrain GP and silence his critics.

The Brazilian led from start to finish, relegating Ferrari team-mate Kimi Raikkonen into second and pole sitter Robert Kubica into third. It was a deserved victory for a driver who, with the exception of qualifying three, was the class of the field throughout the weekend. Once Massa had overtaken Kubica into the first corner, his win was all but assured with a subdued Raikkonen unable to make a meaningful impression.

But while there was formality at the front, there was controversy elsewhere when Lewis Hamilton crashed into the back of Fernando Alonso's Renault. It wasn't only in the McLaren garage that the suggestion that Alonso had brake-tested his former team-mate was aired.

Race Report As the cars lined up on the grid, the winds blowing across the Sakhir circuit had picked up with an ambient temperature of 20C and a track temperature of 39C.

Felipe Massa was late onto the grid after a problem with his earplugs meant that communicating with his race engineer Rob Smedley was impossible.

Opening Lap

Even though the Ferraris were starting from the dusty side of the grid they got an impeccable get-away and though Robert Kubica was on pole, he'd lost the position well before the first turn thanks to the phenomenal traction of the Ferrari of Felipe Massa.

The same couldn't be said of Lewis Hamilton who bogged down at the start and got away disastrously slowly. In fact by the first turn Hamilton was overtaken by up to 10th and 11th on the grid, Alonso and Mark Webber.

Raikkonen dived inside Kovalainen to take 3rd place but Kovalainen took it back, outmuscling his fellow Finn round Turns 2 and 3. A couple of turns later and Raikkonen had it back again as Kovalainen locked the Mclaren's brakes.

Further back Jarno Trulli got the jump on Nick Heidfeld for what was now fifth place.

Hamilton retook Mark Webber for 10th place, which became 9th place after Alonso's front wing made contact with Jenson Button's rear tyre giving him a puncture. So at the end of the opening lap the order was: Massa, Kubica, Raikkonen, Kovalainen, Trulli, Heidfeld, Rosberg, Alonso, Hamilton, Webber and Nelson Piquet in 11th.

Hamilton was all over the back of Alonso's Renault and exiting from Turn 3 in the acceleration zone Hamilton suddenly slammed into the back of Alonso's Renault which jinked right before the Mclaren hit it. It was a bizarre accident coming as it did in the acceleration zone away from a turn and was either caused by a sudden inexplicable Renault malfunction or Alonso lifting.

As a result the McLaren of Hamilton almost rode up the back of the Renault and got launched into the air, as it was it lost its front wing, while the rear wing of the Renault became tyre marked! Even more remarkable, the stewards didn't feel the need to investigate the incident.

Hamilton without grip drove a sluggish lap back to the pits, his slim chance of points ended. His lack of a getaway had already robbed him of a podium finish and the accident denied him any shot at 7th or 8th places.

On Lap 2 Heidfeld found his way past Trulli and Nelson Piquet spun out of contention. The only casualty of the opening lap had been Sebastian Vettel who had been hit and exited the race, while both Button and Coulthard limped back to the pits to have tyres replaced. Vettel was to be one of only three retirements from the race.

Hamilton rejoined in 18th place and commenced his weary trawl back to the pack with what looked to be an aerodynamically damaged car.

By the third lap Kimi Raikkonen had managed to get his way past Robert Kubica with a majestic move around the outside of the Pole going into Turn 1, and the pattern was set for the afternoon.

At the front Felipe Massa quickly opened up a gap and by Lap 8 he had 4.4 seconds on Raikkonen who couldn't shake off Kubica. Behind them, Heidfeld had made it a BMW 3-4 by taking advantage of a mistake from Kovalainen going through turns 9-10. The McLaren driver ran wide, almost like a backmarker letting someone through.

In qualifying Massa had the clear edge on Raikkonen, but the Finn was able to put in a greater number of Fastest Laps as he kept the gap to his team-mate at never more than five and a half seconds.

The polesitter, Kubica, was expected to stop early, and he duly came in at the end of Lap 17, however the big surprise was that it was (the much slower in qualifying) Raikkonen and not Massa who needed fuel first. Kimi came in at the end of Lap 20 and Massa a lap later. This really put into context the brilliance of Massa's qualifying performance.

The second retirement of the race resulted from a bump between good mates Jenson Button and David Coulthard battling for 18th and 19th positions. Jenson's Honda was clearly quicker than the Red Bull and dived down the inside of the Scot into Turn 8. Both cars were braking as DC turned in and the Honda had nowhere else to go but slither into the Red Bull.

Though it looked to be Jenson's mistake, Button pointed out afterwards that in the drivers' briefings they had all agreed not to move across and close the door (ie change the line) under braking. Which DC clearly had done. The Red Bull was able to survive contact for once, but Button headed back to the pits for his second unscheduled stop of the afternoon - soon to be retirement.

After the first round of pit-stops, the order on Lap 23 was Massa, Raikkonen, Glock (not stopped), Kubica, Heidfeld, Kovalainen, Trulli, Webber (ahead of Nico Rosberg after the pit-stops), Rosberg, Bourdais and Alonso in 11th.

McLaren weren't having a great afternoon of it. Hamilton, who had taken on fuel during his front wing stop, struggled to overtake 13th placed Fisichella in the Force India while Heikki Kovalainen had to keep an eye in his mirrors on 6th placed Jarno Trulli.

At the front, it was shaping up to be a battle for supremacy between the Ferrari drivers in the middle stint of the race. Massa and Raikkonen swapped fastest lap times as the gap yo-yo'd between three and a half and four and a half seconds.

Further back Fernando Alonso indulged in some glove waving at Timo Glock when he couldn't get past the Toyota driver on the track, even though they were racing for position.

The definitive moment of the Bahrain GP, though, came when Kim Raikkonen pitted before Massa at the end of Lap 38 just as Felipe Massa set a new fastest lap time of 1:33.600. Raikkonen emerged into traffic and when Massa pitted a lap later, he had established a comfortable seven second gap and the race was his.

Heikki Kovalainen pitted for the second time surprisingly late in the race, with just 10 laps to go at the end of lap 47. Then the order was: Massa, Raikkonen, Kubica, Heidfeld, Kovalainen, Trulli, Webber and Glock in the points paying positions. It didn't change to the flag. And though Robert Kubica kept the Ferrari drivers looking in the rear mirrors with a gap-narrowing charge at the end, it was too little too late. Only three cars had retired in the race, Vettel, Button and Piquet.

Though both Ferraris could clearly have gone quicker it was left to Heikki Kovalainen to pick up the Fastest Lap time with a 1:33.193 on Lap 49.

The win for Felipe Massa will restore a lot of confidence for the Brazilian, but the fact that he could so demonstrably outpace Raikkonen in qualifying will be an even bigger boost. McLaren don't look as menacing as BMW right now. Hamilton's bump with Alonso ended his afternoon, but it was his lamentable start that really put paid to his chances. Had he avoided Alonso he was still only looking at 6th or 7th place.


01 F. Massa Ferrari 1:31:06.970
02 K. Räikkönen Ferrari + 3.339
03 R. Kubica BMW + 4.998
04 N. Heidfeld BMW + 8.409
05 H. Kovalainen McLaren + 26.789
06 J. Trulli Toyota + 41.314
07 M. Webber Red Bull + 45.473
08 N. Rosberg Williams + 55.800
09 T. Glock Toyota + 1:19.800
10 F. Alonso Renault + 1:17.100
11 R. Barrichello Honda + 1:17.800
12 G. Fisichella Force India F1 + 1 laps
13 L. Hamilton McLaren + 1 laps
14 K. Nakajima Williams + 1 laps
15 S. Bourdais Scuderia Toro Rosso + 1 laps
16 A. Davidson Super Aguri + 1 laps
17 T. Sato Super Aguri + 1 laps
18 D. Coulthard Red Bull + 1 laps
19 A. Sutil Force India F1 + 2 laps
Did not finish
20 N. Piquet jr. Renault + 16 laps
21 J. Button Honda + 37 laps
22 S. Vettel Scuderia Toro Rosso + 57 laps

SAKHIR, Bahrain

Sunday 6th. April 2008

A return to one of his favorite tracks was all Ferrari's Felipe Massa needed to find his stride again.

Felipe Massa overtakes polesitter Robert Kubica at the start of the Bahrain Grand Prix on Sunday.

Massa scored his first points of the season by winning his second straight Bahrain Grand Prix on Sunday, edging teammate and new overall leader Kimi Raikkonen by 3.339 seconds.

Massa entered the race under considerable pressure after retiring from the season's previous two races, but moved ahead of polesitter Robert Kubica of BMW Sauber at the start and then held off world champion Raikkonen for his sixth career win.

"I love this circuit. I've always been very, very strong here," Massa said. "We knew we could count on a great car and that certainly proved to be the case."

Raikkonen picked up his 50th career podium and the Italian team won its second straight race after picking up a single point at the season-opening Australian GP.

"The car was pretty perfect all weekend," Raikkonen said. "Finishing second after such a weekend is not bad, and now I am leading the world championship so I have to say I am happy."

Kubica followed a second-place showing at the Malaysian GP two weeks ago with his first pole here, but struggled with wheel spin at the start. He then ran over some loose debris at the first turn to finish third ahead of teammate Nick Heidfeld as BMW Sauber filled out the second row.

"We had problems already at lap formation at the start," said Kubica, the first Polish F1 driver. "But this was a great day for the team."

McLaren's Heikki Kovalainen, who had the day's fastest lap, finished where he started in fifth while teammate Lewis Hamilton, who started third, experienced a second accident in two days to end up 13th.

"The whole weekend has not been ideal," said Hamilton, who stalled on the starting grid. "I messed up at the start ... I lost a lot of places but things were still salvageable at that point."

Hamilton surrendered the lead in the drivers' standings to defending champion Raikkonen, who has 19 points. Heidfeld has 16, two more than Hamilton, Kovalainen and Kubica.

Massa, a preseason championship hopeful, joined the hunt with 10 points.

"Finally, after a start to the championship under dark clouds I can see the sunshine again," Massa said. "There were a few difficult laps because of oil on the track ... but I was always in control."

Without pressure, Massa spun out while running second at Sepang two weeks ago.

The Brazilian led a subdued celebration with a couple of fist pumps atop his car.

"For sure it wasn't very easy weeks, but that's life," said Massa, who retired from the opening two races for zero points coming into Bahrain. "You always have some bad days in your life and I had some bad days in my first two races."

Massa had dominated practice at the Bahrain International Circuit but his qualifying session left him second at the start.

The increasing wind made driving difficult at the slick desert track, as a rule change has barred traction control this season.

Oil on the track made it more difficult and Raikkonen rounded Kubica by the second lap.

"I felt good, if we didn't have these problems on the second lap then maybe we fight with Kimi, you never know," Kubica said.

Ferrari was running 1-2 and Heidfeld put BMW Sauber 3-4 after going past Kovalainen from the inside.

Massa maintained a four-second lead over his teammate past the halfway mark of the 57-lap race to the end.

"I was just pushing as normally and tried to get close to him. But sometimes I got close, sometimes he pulled away," Raikkonen said.

After falling to 10th at the start, Hamilton tried to get past former teammate Fernando Alonso but instead went up over the back of the Spaniard's Renault to lose his front wing. Hamilton also crashed to severely damage the right side of his car in Friday's practice session.

Toyota's Jarno Trulli, Mark Webber of Red Bull and Nico Rosberg of Williams filled out the top eight to collect the remaining points. Two-time world champion Alonso finished outside the points in 10th behind Toyota's Timo Glock.

BMW Sauber took the constructors' championship lead with 30 points. Ferrari has 29 and McLaren has 28.

Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press

Kimi Raikkonen wins in Malaysia

Kimi Raikkonen wins in Malaysia

Sunday 23rd March 2008

In almost a complete reversal of events in the season-opening Australian GP, Kimi Raikkonen romped to a trouble-free victory in Malaysia while World Championship rival Lewis Hamilton endured a torrid afternoon.

While Kimi simply blitzed the field in a car that was in a class of its own, Hamilton could only finish in fifth place after a pit-stop mistake by his McLaren team. BMW's Robert Kubica grabbed second place with his best display to date in F1, but the day belonged to Ferrari's flying Finn.

Any suggestion of a Ferrari crisis after the debacle of Australia were put to rest by Raikkonen's awesome display of speed, particularly around the period of the first pit-stop when he managed to leapfrog team-mate Felipe Massa for the lead of the race. Massa tortured afternoon ended in ignominy when he spun off, denying Ferrari the 1-2 their speed advantage warranted and heaping yet more pressure on the Brazilian. Has a fatal flaw in his driving been exposed by the removal of traction control?

McLaren, too, have questions to answer after an undistinguished weekend. Hamilton, already struggling to keep in touch with the dominant Ferraris, was undone by a pit-stop delay that cost him ten seconds and the probability of a podium finish. Stuck behind the Red Bull of Mark Webber for much of the afternoon, Hamilton's frustration was compounded by his failure to catch Jarno Trulli and take fourth place on the final lap of the race

In contrast, Heikki Kovalainen had a trouble-free day. But tellingly, while he was able to secure the consolation of third place, he finished over forty seconds behind Raikkonen - a gap that will give McLaren plenty of sleepless nights over the next two weeks before the Bahrain GP.

Report: Pole-sitter Felipe Massa led the way after the first lap of the Malaysian Grand Prix.

The Ferrari driver fended off the challenge of team-mate Kimi Raikkonen through the first corner before opening up a one second gap over the Finn, with BMW Sauber driver Robert Kubica close behind in third.

Mark Webber was fourth in the Red Bull, while McLaren's Lewis Hamilton had jumped from ninth to fifth.

The big loser was Jarno Trulli in the Toyota, who slipped from third on the grid to sixth.

Massa was still out in front by lap 10 as the two Ferraris were proving dominant in the early stages.

The Brazilian led Raikkonen by 1.6 seconds but was a healthy nine-and-a-half seconds in front of third-placed Kubica.

Hamilton was unable to exert any pressure on Webber in fourth, although he was beginning to catch the Australian, while Trulli was dropping back in sixth.

McLaren team-mate Heikki Kovalainen had gained a place at the start and was running seventh, while Nick Heidfeld was eighth.

Kubica had assumed the lead by lap 20 after most of the front runners made their first stops.

Webber was first to come in at the end of lap 15 before Massa followed a lap later, an 8.5 second stop seeing him rejoin behind Kovalainen.

Raikkonen then set the fastest lap of the race as he tried to make the most of his slight advantage before coming in shortly afterwards.

A 7.9 second effort meant he came out ahead of his team-mate in fourth.

Hamilton then stopped from second but a problem with the right front tyre saw the Brit remain stationary for nearly 20 seconds, compromising his hopes of a podium finish.

Raikkonen had hit the front by lap 30 and had established a five-second gap over Massa before the Brazilian beached his car after spinning at turn eight, ending his race.

That pushed Kubica up to second but 22 seconds behind the leader, while Kovalainen had crept up to third, a further 17 seconds adrift.

Kubica came in for his first stop at the end of lap 21, allowing Raikkonen to take the lead and he immediately stamped his authority on proceedings.

Hamilton was harassing Webber for sixth but could not find a way past the Red Bull while Heidfeld also joined the scrap, before the trio all gained a place as a result of Massa's aberration.

Kubica was back in front by lap 40 after Raikkonen made his second stop of the afternoon.

The Finn came in at the end of lap 37 with a 24.5 second advantage over the Pole and a clean effort saw him rejoin in second place, around six seconds back.

Kovalainen was still running a lonely third while Trulli had made his way up to fourth.

Hamilton was still tussling with Webber for fifth but Heidfeld had begun to fall away before the Red Bull pitted and the Brit at last had a clear track in front of him.

Raikkonen was firmly on course to claim victory as he led Kubica by 20.9 seconds after 50 laps.

The Pole had pitted for a second time at the end of lap 42 allowing Raikkonen to regain the lead.

Hamilton came in at the end of lap 44 and an 8.9-second stop saw the 23-year-old rejoin behind Trulli in fifth, while McLaren team-mate Kovalainen made his second stop and maintained third position.

Hamilton was taking chunks out of the Toyota's advantage as he closed in on fourth, while Heidfeld was running sixth, Webber had dropped to seventh and Fernando Alonso was in the final points-scoring position in eighth.

01 K. Räikkönen Ferrari 1:03:18.555
02 R. Kubica BMW + 19.570
03 H. Kovalainen McLaren + 38.450
04 J. Trulli Toyota + 45.832
05 L. Hamilton McLaren + 46.548
06 N. Heidfeld BMW + 49.833
07 M. Webber Red Bull + 1:08.130
08 F. Alonso Renault + 1:10.000
09 D. Coulthard Red Bull + 1:16.200
10 J. Button Honda + 1:26.200
11 N. Piquet jr. Renault + 1:32.200
12 G. Fisichella Force India F1 + 1 laps
13 R. Barrichello Honda + 1 laps
14 N. Rosberg Williams + 1 laps
15 A. Davidson Super Aguri + 1 laps
16 T. Sato Super Aguri + 2 laps
17 K. Nakajima Williams + 2 laps
Did not finish
18 S. Vettel Scuderia Toro Rosso + 16 laps
19 F. Massa Ferrari + 26 laps
20 A. Sutil Force India F1 + 50 laps
21 T. Glock Toyota + 54 laps
22 S. Bourdais Scuderia Toro Rosso + 56 laps 

Lewis Hamilton wins in Australia

Hamilton wins in Australia

Eurosport - Sun, 16 Mar 08:19:00 2008

McLaren's Lewis Hamilton avoided the mayhem around him to open the Formula One season with a pole-to-flag victory in a crash-strewn Australian Grand Prix.

The 23-year-old Briton, last year's rookie sensation, finished 5.4 seconds ahead of Germany's Nick Heidfeld in a BMW Sauber.

Germany's Nico Rosberg celebrated the first podium of his Formula One career with third place for Williams in a sweltering race that saw only seven of the 22 starters still running at the finish and neither Ferrari reach the chequered flag.

"Coming into a new season, turning over a new leaf, we really wanted to get off on the right foot," said Hamilton, who missed out on the title last year by a single point to Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen.

"It's quite different to my first win in Montreal, just because that was really not expected," he added.

"This win perhaps feels better than any because I feel I've improved in many areas.

"I wouldn't say it's the perfect win... but I think in terms of managing my tyres, controlling my pace and confidence and being comfortable in the car, it's the best race I've had so far," Hamilton said.

With traction control and electronic driver aids now banned, the safety car was deployed three times. Through it all, Hamilton lapped in a league of his own to chalk up his fifth win in just 18 starts.

Raikkonen retired five laps from the end with an engine problem after a torrid afternoon at the wheel, with the Finn also skidding off on lap 31 after overtaking McLaren's Heikki Kovalainen for second place and rejoining at the back.

The Finn still scored a point however after Honda's Rubens Barrichello, who had finished sixth, was excluded for exiting the pit lane when the lights were still red.

The Brazilian also sent a mechanic flying when he accelerated away before the fuel hose was detached.

Fernando Alonso, Hamilton's team mate at McLaren last season, was fourth on his return to the Renault team with which he won his two titles.

Hamilton's Finnish team mate Heikki Kovalainen was fifth, his hopes of anchoring a one-two on his McLaren debut dashed by a late pit-stop, and set the fastest lap of the race.

Barrichello's exclusion lifted Kazuki Nakajima to sixth place for Williams, despite the Japanese tangling with Red Bull's Mark Webber at the start and again with the BMW Sauber of Poland's Robert Kubica nine laps from the end.

Stewards gave the rookie a 10-place penalty on the starting grid for the Malaysian Grand Prix next weekend.

Four times Champ Car champion Sebastien Bourdais, the first Frenchman to start a season since 2004, joined the elite group of drivers to score on their debuts with seventh place despite his Toro Rosso's engine blowing two laps from the end.

First corner carnage brought out the safety car on the opening lap and led to the retirement of five drivers including Webber, Australia's only participant.

Honda's Jenson Button, one of the immediate casualties after a coming together with fellow-Briton Anthony Davidson and Germany's Sebastian Vettel, said it had been "mayhem everywhere".

"Somebody came on the right hand side of my car like a kamikaze and pushed me out," added Force India's Italian Giancarlo Fisichella.

Ferrari's Brazilian Felipe Massa, who started in fourth place, was forced to pit for a new front wing after spinning into the wall.

The safety car was deployed for a second time just before the halfway point when Massa and Red Bull's David Coulthard collided at the end of the main straight.

The Scot, who had a big accident at the circuit last year when his car flew over the Williams of Austrian Alex Wurz, flew off again and blamed the Ferrari driver.

Germany's Timo Glock brought out the safety car for the third and final time on lap 44 when he hit a kerb and flew into the air before plunging into the barriers. Reuters

Result of the Australian GP - Sun March 16th. 2008

1 Lewis Hamilton McLaren 10 94:50.616
2 Nick Heidfeld BMW-Sauber 8 +5.40
3 Nico Rosberg Williams 6 +8.10
4 Fernando Alonso Renault 5 +17.10
5 Heikki Kovalainen McLaren 4 +18.00
6 Rubens Barrichello Honda 3 +52.40
6 Kazuki Nakajima Williams 3 +1 lap
7 Sebastien Bourdais Toro Rosso 2 +3 laps
8 Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 1 +4 laps
Ret Robert Kubica BMW-Sauber0Retirement (lap 48) - crash with Nakajima
Ret Timo Glock Toyota 0 Retirement (lap 45) - crash
Ret Takuma Sato Super Aguri 0 Retirement (lap 33) - mechanical failure
Ret Nelson Piquet Jr Renault 0 Retirement (lap 32) - technical failure
Ret Felipe Massa Ferrari 0 Retirement (lap 32) - suspension failure
Ret David Coulthard Red Bull 0Retirement (lap 25) - crash with Massa
Ret Jarno Trulli Toyota 0 Retirement (lap 21) - technical failure
Ret Adrian SutilForce India 0Retirement (lap 10) - technical failure
Ret Giancarlo Fisichella Force India 0 Retirement (lap 1) - crash
Ret Mark Webber Red Bull 0 Retirement (lap 1) - crash
Ret Anthony Davidson Super Aguri 0 Retirement (lap 1) - crash
Ret Jenson Button Honda 0 Retirement (lap 1) - crash
Ret Sebastian Vettel Toro Rosso 0 Retirement (lap 1) - crash
Lewis Hamilton

Australian GP Hamilton on pole; Raikkonen 16th Eurosport - Sat, 15 Mar 04:16:00 2008

McLaren's Lewis Hamilton seized pole position for the season-opening Australian Grand Prix after world champion Kimi Raikkonen's Ferrari suffered an early breakdown.

The 23-year-old Briton pipped Poland's Robert Kubica, who will be making his first appearance on the front row for BMW Sauber, to line up a perfect start to his second season in Formula One.

Finland's Heikki Kovalainen, in the second McLaren, qualified in third place with Ferrari's Brazilian Felipe Massa alongside on the second row.

Raikkonen, winner in Melbourne on his Ferrari debut last year, was eliminated after the first phase of qualifying when his car coasted to a halt with a fuel pressure problem. The Finn will start in 16th place.

Spain's double world champion Fernando Alonso, now back with Renault after a turbulent year alongside Hamilton at McLaren, failed to reach the final 10-car shootout for pole and will line up 12th on the grid.

Red Bull's Mark Webber, the only Australian in Sunday's race, crashed out in the second session in a big disappointment for local fans.

"It was just a failure on the front right of the car, so it pitched me off," he said.


Australian Grand Prix Preview Tuesday 11th March 2008

Welcome to a new season of races on Planet-F1. We could have published a season preview, but the Australian GP preview is very much the same thing. Because the fact is that the teams are all waiting to see their relative performance in Australia to work out what they do next.

Look ahead to the months of June and July? It's not possible, right now the 11 race teams want to be reassured that they're at least where they think they are, if not a little better.

The phony war of winter testing and other cars running with uncertain fuel loads is over, now it's the real thing.

Though we will know a lot by the end of testing on Friday, we still won't know the whole picture. That's because the Albert Park road circuit in Melbourne needs a lot of rubber laid down before it starts acting like a GP track.

With little grip and barriers in close proximity, it's an interesting place to see how the cars will operate without engine braking and traction control. And by interesting of course I mean potentially very disastrous.

The team to beat will be last year's winners Ferrari. In the 2007 race Kimi Raikkonen stormed away for a win and the car looked uncatchable. We subsequently learned that a lot of this advantage was thanks to an illegal movable floor (though only illegal once the test had been properly implemented at the correct loads).

Ferrari arrive at the race as everyone's hot favourites for another season of domination. Though they were not always fastest in winter testing, they were consistently fastest over the longer runs. Snapping at their heels were McLaren.

So in a way, plus ca change from Brazil 2007 - McLaren faster on the one or two banzai laps, with Ferrari faster over a race distance and the rest struggling to catch up.

The car right behind Ferrari and McLaren should be the Renault. Given that the team very publicly quit developing last year's R27 car halfway through the season to work on the R28, nothing less than third place in the pecking order will do. Flavio Briatore has done well to get Fernando Alonso back on board, but the car should have been testing a lot quicker.

Ferrari's tester Marc Gene was convinced that the slow times were a massive exercise in sandbagging and that they would spring a surprise, but it's looking increasingly likely that the car is just down on pace. If that's the case and they can only manage fourth or fifth, then they might not even hang on to Alonso for 2009. He may have returned to the team he calls his 'family', but family rows can be the worst.

An outfit with no such worries is the resurgent Williams team who have been consistently quick in testing, but haven't done the major mileages and race simulations of some of their rivals. It's important to have a well-balanced car for Melbourne that gives the drivers confidence, because they have to flirt so dangerously with limited run-off areas.

This is why last year's third quickest team, BMW, are likely to be struggling. Right from the time the charismatically named F1.08 was introduced the engineers were getting complaints from Messrs Kubica and Heidfeld that the car was undriveable. Heidfeld now says that the team were right to take the radical approach and that they are making "rapid progress". We shall see on Saturday.

"Rapid progress" seems to be the phrase of the hour as Honda have also been making "rapid progress" thanks to their final, private, three-day test at Jerez. The lack of running alongside other faster cars gives them at least the crumb of comfort that they are improving relative to the baseline of last year's 'Earth Dream'.

The freedom to improve will certainly be there with Ross Brawn guiding progress and Yasuhiro Wada returned to Honda HQ for a job in the PR department (you'll notice not an engineering role).

Honda's great rivals Toyota, who had an inauspicious start to their testing programme, believe that they are on the verge of a breakthrough. Instead of being at the arse end of the mid-grid, behind BMW, Renault, Williams and Red Bull, Timo Glock and Jarno Trulli believe they have the speed to be at the front end of it.

Red Bull should have been able to solve their hydraulics fragility of last season. With Webber and Coulthard continuing in 2008, the old gits team are high on experience and wilyness, but getting low on patience. A lack of reliability would be even harder to endure this season, which is almost certainly Coulthard's last in F1.

Toro Rosso, thanks to the strength of their Ferrari engine, have had a great off-season and one of the most fascinating duels of the season will be the battle of the Sebs - Vettel versus Bourdais.

Force India have been making progress (probably "rapid") thanks to an owner, Vijay Mallya, who is actually prepared to put some investment into the team. The only team that has stood still is Super Aguri who have been beset with financial difficulties. The lack of solid news has been greeted by speculation based on whether their garage was being prepared for the first race or not - the kind of thing that happened to Arrows before they slid into the abyss. Spookily Super Aguri is based in Arrows old HQ at Leafield.

With all 11 confirmed we're ready for the five red lights on the grid at Melbourne.

Though Ferrari and McLaren are likely to be the class of the field, the grid has closed up so that the difference between pole and P20 could be as little as two and a half seconds at some races. A lack of traction control will provide more errors and force drivers to take a lot more care accelerating out of corners. Wet races will be especially gripping.

Finally, we have the prospect of our first night race and also a new circuit at Valencia. The 2008 season has a lot in store. With Ron Dennis announcing that he will be on the pit wall in Melbourne only today, all the pieces of the jigsaw have finally fitted into place. Let's go racing.

Andrew Davies

Some of the many formula one motor racing web sites:-  link already visited  link not yet visited     shame about the advertising
http:// - the official formula one web site - lot of redirection by microsoft

This page was updated on January 30th. 2014.

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