Massa wins, Hamilton lucky to be champion

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F1 Grand Prix, GP Brazil, Autódromo José Carlos Pace, Interlagosbr

Felipe Massa has dominantly claimed the Brazilian GP, but it proved not enough for the championship. In fact, Lewis Hamilton came in 5th and was extremely lucky to still pass Glock in the final corner. Timo was struggling on dry spec tires. Alonso came in second, Raikkonen third.

Minutes ahead of the start of the formation lap, the circuit is covered by threatening clouds and moment later the starting grid is completely wet. The track had completely dried up from an earlier shower but looks again to be wet all around, but the conditions are varying around the track.

A bit surprisingly, the start of the formation lap was delayed by 10 minutes. By that time, the rain stopped again and no further drops are expected in the next 30 minutes.

At 14:10 local time, the formation lap is started, with apparently most of the drivers starting on normal wet tires, including Massa and Hamilton. Kubica immediately decides to dive into the pitlane, possibly opting for the dry weather tire.

As could be expected, some accidents happened, one including David Coulthard. Unfortunately for the Scot, he is bumped off by Nico Rosberg. In his spin, he takes out Nakajima with him, although the Wiliams driver is able to continue his race.

One corner further in the lap, Piquet is too quickly on the throttle and simply spins off, abandoning the race with a broken rear wing.

The events bring out the safetycar for 3 laps, allowing the track to dry up even more. During the re-start, the positions remain unchanged with Massa in the lead, ahead of Trulli, Raikkonen, Hamilton and Vettel who had gained two places in the official race start.

By lap 7, Trulli had Raikkonen closely on his tail. Nico Rosberg meanwhile is the first to enter the pitlane and switch to dry tires, more specifically the prime compound. One lap later, Glock, Nakajima, Bourdais and Button follow suit. The latter did however largely cross the white line at the end of the pitlane to defend his position to Nakajima.

A further lap it's Alonso and Vettel, and another lap later Massa and Kovalainen are in for dry tires. In lap 10, Trulli, Raikkonen and Hamilton also decide to make the switch.

By lap 12, Massa is still in the lead, ahead of Vettel and Alonso, all three very close to each other. Behind them is another trio, led by Raikkonen, with on his tail Fisichella on the dry option tyre and Hamilton. 7th is Glock and 8th Bourdais. Trulli has falled back to 9th place due to some slips just after his pitstop.

In lap 17, Alonso marks the fastest lap, keeping it all very close between the top three. At the same time, Hamilton passes Fisichella and savours the virtual championship.

In lap 28, Vettel is into the pitlane, handing second place to Alonso. Kovalainen has meanwhile moved up to 7th place after passing Trulli and Fisichella in consecutive laps.

Felipe Massa takes the pitlane in lap 38 for what is likely to be his only pitstop. Ahead of this stop, he built his lead to Alonso to almost 8 seconds. Two laps later, Alonso is also in for another set of scrubbed prime tires. Hamilton is also pitting in the same lap, also for the prime tires.

Raikkonen pits in lap 43 and Massa takes the lead again. Vettel is second again, Alonso third. Kimi rejoins the track in fourth place, ahead of Hamilton who remains 5th.

In lap 51, Vettel makes his final stop and rejoins in 5th place, between Hamilton and Kovalainen.

With 8 laps to go, Vettel is now right behind Hamilton.

6 laps to go and rain is falling down again in the final two turns of the circuit. Several drivers are coming in, including Hamilton, Vettel, Alonso and Raikkonen. Felipe Massa on the other hand is still out on dry weather tyres. The Brazilian pits one lap later and rejoins in the lead again.

Glock has meanwhile not pitted yet, so Vettel has the championship on his hands. If Vettel can pass Hamilton, it will be Massa who wins the championship, otherwise it is Hamilton.

One lap later Vettel and Kubia easily pass Hamilton, putting Massa in the virtual championship win. In the last corner however, Glock lost his 4th place and Hamilton regains the championship.

Results

Pos.DriverTeamTime
1F. MassaFerrari1:34:11.435
2F. AlonsoRenault+ 13.298
3K. RäikkönenFerrari+ 16.235
4S. VettelScuderia Toro Rosso+ 38.011
5L. HamiltonMcLaren+ 38.907
6T. GlockToyota+ 44.368
7H. KovalainenMcLaren+ 55.074
8J. TrulliToyota+ 1:08.463
9M. WebberRed Bull Racing+ 1:19.666
10N. HeidfeldBMW+ 1 laps
11R. KubicaBMW+ 1 laps
12N. RosbergWilliams+ 1 laps
13J. ButtonHonda+ 1 laps
14S. BourdaisScuderia Toro Rosso+ 1 laps
15R. BarrichelloHonda+ 1 laps
16A. SutilForce India F1+ 2 laps
17K. NakajimaWilliams+ 2 laps
18G. FisichellaForce India F1+ 2 laps
Did not finish
19N. Piquet jr.Renault+ 71 laps
20D. CoulthardRed Bull Racing+ 71 laps


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News on 2 November 2008