Fernando Alonso has claimed the first ever night Grand Prix. Thanks to a lucky safety car procedure, the Renault driver was able to move up from 15th on the grid and continued calmly to win the race. Nico Rosberg ended second, Lewis Hamilton is 3rd. Neither of the Ferraris managed to get into the points.
The first night race is kicked off with Felipe Massa on pole. The Brazilian has no problem holding on to that position and stays ahead of Hamilton. Kimi Raikkonen quickly lost some ground but held on to his position.
Kovalainen meanwhile fell down to 7th after he was touched by Robert Kubica. The Finn just managed to keep his car from not hitting the wall.
More at the back, Alonso managed to gain 3 places but soon finds out how hard it is to pass a car on this circuit. A famous Trulli train was formed again, followed by both Williams cars, Alonso, Webber and others, all very close to each other.
6 laps in the race, Rosberg is finally able to pass Trulli. He is immediately more than three seconds a lap quicker. One lap later Nakajima passes and Alonso follows quickly after that. Trulli is on the harder tyre and is undoubtedly heavier than anyone else behind him.
By lap 10, Hamilton is 3 seconds behind Massa, while Raikkonen is a further 4 seconds behind. The Finn does however seems to have found his pace as he starts to close the gap to the McLaren steadily.
In lap 13 Alonso is the first to make a pitstop. He is fitted with the harder tyre and heavily fuelled. Rosberg is consequently also ordered to push hard before his first stop.
Meanwhile at the front, Massa and Raikkonen exchange fastest laps.
In lap 15, Piquet violently hits the wall, bringing out the safety car. Some drivers dive into the pitlane, including Barrichello. One lap later however, the Brazilian is out of fuel as the refuelling failed during his pitstop. No doubt penalties will follow for stopping during the SC.
In lap 17, Massa enters the pitlane as first when the pitlane is open, but leaves too early with the fuel hose still connected. He stops at the end of the pitlane, after which a bunch of Ferrari crewmembers run to disconnect the hose. Massa is able to continue he race, but completely at the back of the pack.
Lap 19, the safety car will re-enter. Alonso is now 5th but will progress further as some of the drivers ahead will have to complete a drive through.
Massa is then given a drive-through penalty for the happenings in the pitlane. Rosberg and Kubica are then given a stop-and-go penalty of 10 seconds because of refuelling while the pitlane was closed.
After fulfilling his penalty, Kubica is last, behind Massa. One lap later Rosberg is also in but rejoins in 4th place. Nico was able to push hard since the SC and built up a big lead, while Kubica was blocked behind Fisichella.
When Fisichella completed his stop in lap 30, Trulli is in the lead. Alonso is second 10 seconds behind, followed closely by Rosberg, Coulthard, Hamilton, Glock, Vettel and Heidfeld.
Mark Webber then abandons the race as he is pulled into his pitbox.
In lap 32, Massa is first passed by Kubica and consequently enters the pitlane for fuel and new super-soft tyres.
Lap 34 marks the only stop for Jarno Trulli, handing the lead to Fernando Alonso. Trulli rejoins the track just ahead of Nakajima, in 8th place.
In lap 41, Rosberg enters the pitlane and rejoins in 7th place. One lap later Alonso is in and come back on track just ahead of Coulthard. A few corners later Hamilton overtakes Coulthard before both men make their final stops one lap later.
After most of the stops, Alonso is still in the lead. Behind him is Glock on 5 seconds, followed by Rosberg, Raikkonen and Hamilton, all approximately 5 seconds from each other.
In lap 51, Raikkonen is in the pits and rejoins in P5. Moments later Sutil hits the barriers and brings out the safety car. The comfortable lead of Alonso is gone, along with Rosberg's ralatively safe second place. Hamilton is now third and has good cards on hand, although he might opt to take it on safely for the sake of the championship.
Lap 53, the safety car enters the pitlane again. Alonso is alert and is immediately 2.5 seconds ahead of Rosberg. A lap later it's up to 3.7 seconds.
Only 4 laps from the end, Raikkonen bumps over the feared chicane kerbs and hits the wall. He is however able to safely park his car and prevent another safety car.
In the end, Alonso proved masterfully calm and claimed the GP unexpectedly.
|2||N. Rosberg||Williams||+ 2.957|
|3||L. Hamilton||McLaren||+ 5.917|
|4||T. Glock||Toyota||+ 8.155|
|5||S. Vettel||Scuderia Toro Rosso||+ 10.268|
|6||N. Heidfeld||BMW||+ 11.101|
|7||D. Coulthard||Red Bull Racing||+ 16.387|
|8||K. Nakajima||Williams||+ 18.489|
|9||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 Racing||+ 32 laps|
|19||R. Barrichello||Honda||+ 46 laps|
|20||N. Piquet jr.||Renault||+ 47 laps|