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Hungarian Heartbreak For Ferrari

Hungarian Heartbreak For Ferrari

With a slick and decisive overtaking maneuver on the first corner of the race that put him the lead on a track that is notoriously difficult to make over taking moves, Ferrari’s Felipe Massa looked en route to a race win in Hungary at the weekend (3 August 2008).

But three laps from the finish and still at the front of field, Massa’s hopes of climbing to the top step of the podium ended in a puff of smoke when his engine expired.

"It happened completely without warning, without giving the slightest indication,” said Massa after climbing out of his car and walking back to the pits. “I was managing the race, because I had a good advantage over second place after Hamilton was delayed with a problem and I was taking no risks whatsoever. I am very frustrated at the moment, because today we had a great car and we had done everything perfectly until just a few kilometres from the finish. Unfortunately, racing can be a cruel sport. We had given it our all, but these things can happen. Now we must not give up, but instead we must react quickly. There are seven races to go and 70 points up for grabs, which means there is plenty of time to make up ground. Our rivals are strong but we have shown we are at their level."

Kimi Raikkonen finished on the podium in third place, a reasonable result normally, but not when what could have been is considered.

"I am sorry for Felipe and for the team as it is horrible to lose a race in this way. It was tough for me because, when you spend a long time behind a slower car it becomes frustrating and boring. When I was finally able to push, the car was behaving very well, but by then it was too late. I came up behind Glock but in the end, I had to slow as I had a mechanical problem with the rear end and the team told me to be very careful to ensure I brought the car home. It's true that I'm the one who has won the most points out of the top three in the classification, which shows this championship is really unpredictable, with ups and downs for everyone. It was a disappointing weekend for me but, at least I managed to come away with a decent result. We must try and fix the problems we have in qualifying to start at the front, so as to exploit the potential of the car. If we can do that, then we can get back to fighting for the win."

The race was won by Heikki Kovalainen, taking his maiden F1 victory. The result means Ferrari retains its lead in the Constructors' Championship, eleven points clear of McLaren-Mercedes who have now moved ahead of BMW-Sauber. Lewis Hamilton heads the Drivers' classification on 62 points; five points clear of Kimi with Felipe third, three points adrift of his team-mate.

The heatwave continued on race day, with the air temperature passing the thirty mark as the cars lined up on the grid, with Massa in third place behind pole man Hamilton and Raikkonen sixth. As the lights went out, Felipe made a blinding start, getting ahead of Kovalainen and pulling alongside Hamilton's McLaren going into Turn 1 to emerge as leader, driving around the outside of the Englishman. Glock was up from fifth to fourth in the Toyota and Kimi dropped a place to be seventh at the end of the opening lap. With four laps completed the order was Massa, Hamilton, Kovalainen, Glock, Kubica, Alonso, Raikkonen, Webber, Trulli, Piquet, Coulthard, Heidfeld, Button, Barrichello, Vettel, Bourdais, Rosberg, Nakajima, Fisichella and Sutil twentieth and last. Massa's lead over his pursuers was 1.5 seconds, while Raikkonen was 11.9" behind his Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro team mate.

Still in seventh, Kimi was lapping quicker than sixth placed Alonso in the Renault and on lap 9 of 70, the Finn had closed to within 0.7 of the Spaniard, as Felipe extended his lead to 2.2. Kimi's pursuit was relentless and by lap 17, he was only 0.5 behind Alonso. Lap 18 saw Felipe lead the first run of pit stops, stationary for 8.2 seconds and taking on a second set of the Prime tyre. Kubica in the BMW and Webber in the Red Bull also came in on the same lap, while Hamilton came in one lap later (9.4s.) Glock brought the Toyota in from fourth, followed by Kovalainen in the McLaren on lap 21.

Alonso and Raikkonen came in together on lap 22 and left nose to tail in the same order. By this point, Felipe was back in the lead, 3.1s ahead of Hamilton, with Piquet yet to stop in third place, until the Renault man pitted on lap 25. This left the order much as it had been since the early stages, with Kovalainen third, ahead of Glock, Coulthard, who had still not pitted, Alonso and Raikkonen back in seventh, 1.1 behind the Renault. Coulthard finally came in on lap 29, having been the only driver to start on the Option tyre. Unusually, three cars, Bourdais' Toro Rosso, Barrichello's Honda and Nakajima's Williams all suffered minor fires at their pit stops but were able to continue. Lap 38 saw Felipe extend his lead to 4.3s, while in sixth place, Kimi was 1.4 behind Alonso. Two laps later the Brazilian had 5 seconds in hand over the Englishman who suddenly slowed with a left front puncture. He pitted and rejoined ninth, which meant Felipe now led second placed Kovalainen by almost 24 seconds, with Glock in the final podium position a further 4 seconds behind. This promoted Alonso and Kimi to fourth and fifth. Felipe made his final pit stop on lap 44, stopping for 7.5 seconds and fitting the Option tyre, rejoining in second place.

When Kovalainen made his final refuelling stop on lap 48, Felipe was back in the lead, heading Alonso and Raikkonen who had only stopped once so far, by 13 seconds. Kovalainen was fourth, followed by Glock, Piquet, Trulli, Kubica, Hamilton with Coulthard completing the top ten. Alonso pitted on lap 50, which promoted Kimi to second for one lap until he made his final stop next time round. With the front runners having completed their stops, this meant Felipe still led, with Kovalainen 15.4 seconds adrift with eighteen laps remaining. In the closing stages, Felipe sensibly slowed the pace so that Kovalainen was only 9.6 behind with eight laps remaining, as Kimi began setting some race fastest laps in fourth place, finally ahead of Alonso.

Then, with three laps to go disaster struck, as Felipe's Ferrari emitted a large cloud of smoke and he came to a complete stop alongside the pit wall on the start-finish line to retire. This meant that at the flag after seventy laps, Kimi finished third, behind Kovalainen taking his first ever F1 win and Glock recording his first ever F1 podium. The remaining points positions were filled by Alonso, Hamilton, Piquet, Trulli and Kubica.

"Today we showed the worth of our team and our drivers, but we lacked the total reliability which is absolutely vital,” said Ferrari Team Director, Stefano Domenicali. Felipe drove possibly the best race of his career and we are very disappointed about what happened to him just a handful of kilometres from the end. He made an amazing start, attacking at the right moment and then he was comfortably managing his race in the final stages heading for a well-deserved victory. Kimi's race was compromised by his poor qualifying result yesterday: when you start further back it's hard to climb up the order. He was stuck behind Alonso for much of the race, but when he finally had a clear track ahead of him, he showed all his and the F2008's potential. We have to react to this negative moment in our usual way: with grit, determination and with everyone playing their part. We have three weeks of hard work ahead of us to be as well prepared as possible for the European Grand Prix."

ENDS

Hungarian GP - Race

Budapest, 3rd August 2008

K. Raikkonen: 3rd 1:37.43.923 + 16.856 70 laps chassis 270
F. Massa: 17th 1:33.11.071 3 giri 67 laps chassis 269
Weather: air temperature 31/30 °C, track temperature 43/40 °C, clear skies.

Six points for Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro in the Hungarian Grand Prix, thanks to a third place for Kimi Raikkonen. Felipe Massa had to retire with engine failure when leading three laps from the flag. After eleven races this season, Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro still heads the Constructors' classification on 111 points, while Kimi and Felipe are second and third in the Drivers', 5 and 8 points respectively off the leader.

1. Heikki Kovalainen Finland McLaren-Mercedes 70 01:37:27.067
2. Timo Glock Germany Toyota-Toyota +11.0
3. Kimi Raikkonen Finland Ferrari-Ferrari +16.8
4. Fernando Alonso Spain Renault-Renault +21.6
5. Lewis Hamilton Britain McLaren-Mercedes +23.0
6. Nelson Piquet Jr Brazil Renault-Renault +32.2
7. Jarno Trulli Italy Toyota-Toyota +36.4
8. Robert Kubica Poland BMW Sauber +48.3
9. Mark Webber Australia Red Bull-Renault +58.8
10. Nick Heidfeld Germany BMW Sauber +67.7
11. David Coulthard Britain Red Bull-Renault +70.4
12. Jenson Button Britain Honda-Honda +1 lap
13. Kazuki Nakajima Japan Williams-Toyota +1 lap
14. Nico Rosberg Germany Williams-Toyota +1 lap
15. Giancarlo Fisichella Italy Force India-Ferrari +1 lap
16. Rubens Barrichello Brazil Honda-Honda +2 laps
17. Felipe Massa Brazil Ferrari-Ferrari +3 laps
18. Sebastien Bourdais France Toro Rosso-Ferrari +3 laps

Rtd Adrian Sutil Germany Force India F1 Team-Ferrari 62 laps completed
Rtd Sebastian Vettel Germany Scuderia Toro Rosso-Ferrari 22 laps completed

F1 DRIVERS' CHAMPIONSHIP (AFTER ROUND 11 OF 18)
POSITION DRIVER TEAM POINTS
1. LEWIS HAMILTON VODAFONE MCLAREN MERCEDES 62
2. KIMI RAIKKONEN SCUDERIA FERRARI MARLBORO 57
3. FELIPE MASSA SCUDERIA FERRARI MARLBORO 54
4. ROBERT KUBICA BMW SAUBER F1 TEAM 49
5. NICK HEIDFELD BMW SAUBER F1 TEAM 41
6. HEIKKI KOVALAINEN VODAFONE MCLAREN MERCEDES 38
7. JARNO TRULLI PANASONIC TOYOTA RACING 22
8. MARK WEBBER RED BULL RACING-RENAULT 18
= FERNANDO ALONSO ING RENAULT F1 TEAM 18
10. TIMO GLOCK PANASONIC TOYOTA RACING 13
= NELSON PIQUET JR ING RENAULT F1 TEAM 13
12. RUBENS BARRICHELLO HONDA F1 RACING 11
13. NICO ROSBERG AT&T WILLIAMS-TOYOTA 8
= KAZUKI NAKAJIMA AT&T WILLIAMS-TOYOTA 8
15. DAVID COULTHARD RED BULL RACING-RENAULT 6
= SEBASTIAN VETTEL SCUDERIA TORO ROSSO-FERRARI 6
17. JENSON BUTTON HONDA F1 RACING 3
18. SEBASTIEN BOURDAIS SCUDERIA TORO ROSSO-FERRARI 2

F1 CONSTRUCTORS' CHAMPIONSHIP (AFTER ROUND 11 OF 18)
POSITION TEAM POINTS
1. SCUDERIA FERRARI MARLBORO 111
2. VODAFONE MCLAREN MERCEDES 100
3. BMW SAUBER F1 TEAM 90
4. PANASONIC TOYOTA RACING 35
5. ING RENAULT F1 TEAM 31
6. RED BULL RACING-RENAULT 24
7. AT&T WILLIAMS-TOYOTA 16
8. HONDA RACING F1 TEAM 14
9. SCUDERIA TORO ROSSO-FERRARI 8
10. FORCE INDIA F1 TEAM-FERRARI 0

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