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Images: Massa Wins The Belgian Grand Prix!

Ferrari’s Massa Finishes Second To Win The Belgian Grand Prix!



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Ferrari’s Massa Finishes Second To Win The Belgian Grand Prix!

Ferrari’s Felipe Massa finished the 2008 Belgian Grand Prix, held at the legendary Spa race track at the weekend (7 September 2008) in second place, but ended up winning the race after Lewis Hamilton, who took the chequered flag, was penalized 25 seconds for passing Kimi Raikkonen by cutting the bus stop chicane.

“This was a very strange race, with the start and finish taking place in rather difficult conditions,” said Massa at the finish. “After the start I thought Eau Rouge might be wetter and so I was a bit cautious. Kimi attacked and managed to get by. From then on I realized it would be hard to pass the two guys ahead of me, even if the lap times were quite similar. I tried to manage the situation, especially towards the end. When it started to rain, I had a pretty good margin over my closest pursuers and I preferred not to take any risks, especially given what was going on in front of me. Today the car wasn't perfectly balanced. On Saturday morning, we had slightly reduced the aerodynamic downforce, as you usually do for the race here, but today's track conditions definitely did not suit this choice. The hard tyres? They were definitely slower than the soft ones and lacked grip, which made the car a bit inconsistent in terms of balance.”

He may have inadvertently helped his team mate to a delayed victory, but Belgium is an event for Raikkonen to otherwise forget after he crashed near the end of the race, after the Lewis Hamilton incident.

“I came here to win and I came close,” he explained. “In the final laps the track conditions were very critical and unfortunately, I ran wide and when I tried to get back on track, I spun and ended up in the wall. It was a shame because today the car was working really well. I got a good start and managed to pass Felipe on the straight and then overtook Hamilton when he spun at the start of the second lap. On the soft tyres, I could run at a good pace, while the final set, the harder ones, was not quite there - definitely not as good in performance terms as those I'd used in the past couple of days - and the balance of the car was not as good as earlier. The arrival of the rain definitely did not help. In these conditions, if you are in front you have to be more cautious as you don't know how much grip you'll find in each braking area. That's how Hamilton managed to close on me and then happened what you all saw. It's the second race in a row that I've failed to score points. Clearly the championship situation is what it is, but I'm not the sort to give up that easily."

Kimi Raikkonen had made a brilliant start in his F2008 from fourth on the grid, to swallow up Kovalainen, his team-mate Massa and pole man Hamilton by lap 2 From then on, the man who has won the last three races here controlled the race, only losing the lead during the two pit stop runs.

However, with a couple of laps remaining, rain threw the race into confusion and in a controversial move, Hamilton cut the chicane to go into the lead. Shortly after that, trying to regain the lead, the Ferrari man spun and ended his race in the barrier. Hamilton still heads the Drivers' classification but is now only two points ahead of Felipe. Ferrari still heads the Constructors' championship, as the series heads to Monza next weekend for the Italian Grand Prix.

It had rained on and off throughout the morning and the majority of cars went out onto the grid on rain tyres, but with the clouds moving off, the switch to dry weather rubber began before the start, with Felipa Massa in second place alongside pole sitter, Lewis Hamilton and Kimi Raikkonen in the other F2008 lining up behind his team-mate, with Heikki Kovalainen in the second McLaren-Mercedes as his neighbour. All runners were on the softer of the two types of tyre, apart from Piquet's Renault that was fitted with the harder ones.

Hamilton got a good start from pole, but Felipe was a bit slow away, allowing Kimi, who had got the better of Kovalainen, to pass him on the straight, with Bourdais briefly fourth before being passed Alonso. Kimi was flying and took the lead, while Kovalainen spun at La Source hairpin.

After five of the 44 laps had been completed, Kimi led Hamilton by 1.1 seconds with Felipe 3.5 behind the Englishman. Fourth was Alonso, followed by Bourdais, Webber, Kubica, Kovalainen, Piquet and Heidfeld completing the top ten. Eleventh was Vettel, followed by Glock, Rosberg, Trulli, Barrichello, Sutil, Coulthard, Button and Nakajima. Fisichella was last. On lap 9, Kovalainen and Vettel both moved up a place to seventh and tenth respectively.

Out in front, Hamilton was 1.2 behind Kimi and Massa was 5.5 behind in third. Kovalainen's charge up the order after his spin got a set back when he tried to go down the inside of Webber, spinning the Australian around. The Finn was given a drive-through penalty for causing the accident. Hamilton was the first to pit, stopping for 6.8 seconds on lap 11 and Kimi came in next time round, for a 7.1 stop. Felipe came in on lap 13 (7.6 seconds.) Bourdais pitted from second place on lap 15, coming out just ahead of Kubica who had also come in on the same lap. Vettel was the last of the leading bunch to refuel on lap 17, so that one lap later the order was now, Kimi, 5.7 ahead of Hamilton, Felipe in third at a distance of 9.5 from his team-mate, followed by Alonso, Bourdais, Kubica, Vettel and Heidfeld in the last of the points scoring postions, eighth. Kimi then put in a fastest race lap to extend his advantage to 6.1s.

The two leaders made their final pit stops together on lap 25, the McLaren man's marginally shorter than the Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro driver, but Kimi was still ahead, although Felipe was the temporary race leader. Alonso brought his Renault in from fourth place on lap 27 and Felipe came in next time round, stopping for 7.9. The meant the Kimi was back at the head of the field, but his lead over Hamilton had been reduced to 2.4 and then 1.9 on lap 29, with Felipe 4.1 further back in third, all three of them now doing the obligatory race stint on the harder Bridgestone tyre. Bourdais pitted from fourth on lap 32, while the gaps between the top three barely changed as the race came down to its final ten laps. Kubica came in on lap 33 as did Vettel, the German overtaking the Pole, by beating him out of pit lane.

So with ten laps to go the order was Kimi still leading, with a 2.2 advantage over Hamilton, while Felipe trailed by 3.3. Alonso was fourth and with Bourdais and Vettel fifth and sixth respectively in the Toro Rosso cars, it meant Ferrari had four engines in the top six.

With 6 laps remaining a few drops of rain began to fall, but not enough to require rain tyres and one lap later the gaps at the front were 0.9 between Kimi and Hamilton, with Felipe 6 behind, but comfortably 33.5 ahead of fourth placed Alonso.

But with two laps to go, Hamilton closed right up to Kimi and got past him but only by cutting across the chicane. Kimi was in front again going past the pits but again Hamilton got ahead. Further down the road, Rosberg was recovering from a spin, Hamilton braked very heavily and Kimi nearly got the upper hand again, but moments later, the Finn spun off and his race ended in the barriers. He was classified eighteenth.

The McLaren man was first past the flag, followed by Felipe and the BMW of Nick Heidfeld, who had stopped to change onto intermediate rain tyres. Also adopting this tactic was Alonso and it helped the Renault man to move up to fourth, ahead of Vettel and Kubica who both managed to get ahead of Bourdais, who suffered the most of this group in the difficult conditions. The remaining point went to Timo Glock until he was penalised for overtaking under yellow flags, handing the point to Mark Webber. Then Hamilton was penalised by the Stewards which handed the victory to Felipe.

"I have often said that the race is not over until the official results are published and that was the case today,” said Ferrari Team Director, Stefano Domenicali. “As usual, Ferrari will not comment on the Stewards' decision. After the race, we were called to the Stewards and we explained our position. We are very disappointed for Kimi, who had driven a great race and deserved the win, especially at this rather difficult time This result is obviously very important for our Championship hopes: now we must maintain maximum concentration and prepare as well as possible for the forthcoming races, starting at Monza where we will be racing in front of our home fans. We will also need their support at such a delicate point in the season."

(Ends)
2008 Belgian Grand Prix

1. Felipe Massa Brazil Ferrari-Ferrari 44 01:22:59.394
2. Nick Heidfeld Germany BMW Sauber +9.3
3. Lewis Hamilton Britain McLaren-Mercedes +10.5 *
4. Fernando Alonso Spain Renault-Renault +14.4
5. Sebastian Vettel Germany Toro Rosso-Ferrari +14.5
6. Robert Kubica Poland BMW Sauber +15.0
7. Sebastien Bourdais France Toro Rosso-Ferrari +16.7
8. Mark Webber Australia Red Bull-Renault +42.7
9. Timo Glock Germany Toyota-Toyota +67.0 **
10. Heikki Kovalainen Finland McLaren-Mercedes +1 lap (DNF)
11. David Coulthard Britain Red Bull-Renault +1 lap
12. Nico Rosberg Germany Williams-Toyota +1 lap
13. Adrian Sutil Germany Force India-Ferrari +1 lap
14. Kazuki Nakajima Japan Williams-Toyota +1 lap
15. Jenson Button Britain Honda-Honda +1 lap
16. Jarno Trulli Italy Toyota-Toyota +1 lap
17. Giancarlo Fisichella Italy Force India-Ferrari +1 lap
18. Kimi Raikkonen Finland Ferrari-Ferrari +2 laps (DNF)

Rtd Rubens Barrichello Brazil Honda-Honda 19 laps completed
Rtd Nelson Piquet Jr Brazil Renault-Renault 13 laps completed

F1 DRIVERS' CHAMPIONSHIP (AFTER ROUND 13 OF 18)
POSITION DRIVER TEAM POINTS
1. LEWIS HAMILTON VODAFONE MCLAREN MERCEDES 76
2. FELIPE MASSA SCUDERIA FERRARI MARLBORO 74
3. ROBERT KUBICA BMW SAUBER F1 TEAM 58
4. KIMI RAIKKONEN SCUDERIA FERRARI MARLBORO 57
5. NICK HEIDFELD BMW SAUBER F1 TEAM 49
6. HEIKKI KOVALAINEN VODAFONE MCLAREN MERCEDES 43
7. JARNO TRULLI PANASONIC TOYOTA RACING 26
8. FERNANDO ALONSO ING RENAULT F1 TEAM 23
9. MARK WEBBER RED BULL RACING-RENAULT 19
10. TIMO GLOCK PANASONIC TOYOTA RACING 15
11. NELSON PIQUET JR ING RENAULT F1 TEAM 13
= SEBASTIAN VETTEL SCUDERIA TORO ROSSO-FERRARI 13
13. RUBENS BARRICHELLO HONDA F1 RACING 11
14. NICO ROSBERG AT&T WILLIAMS-TOYOTA 9
15. KAZUKI NAKAJIMA AT&T WILLIAMS-TOYOTA 8
16. DAVID COULTHARD RED BULL RACING-RENAULT 6
17. SEBASTIEN BOURDAIS SCUDERIA TORO ROSSO-FERRARI 4
18. JENSON BUTTON HONDA F1 RACING 3

F1 CONSTRUCTORS' CHAMPIONSHIP (AFTER ROUND 13 OF 18)
POSITION TEAM POINTS
1. SCUDERIA FERRARI MARLBORO 132
2. VODAFONE MCLAREN MERCEDES 121
3. BMW SAUBER F1 TEAM 107
4. PANASONIC TOYOTA RACING 41
5. ING RENAULT F1 TEAM 36
6. RED BULL RACING-RENAULT 25
7. AT&T WILLIAMS-TOYOTA 17
= SCUDERIA TORO ROSSO-FERRARI 17
9. HONDA RACING F1 TEAM 14
10. FORCE INDIA F1 TEAM-FERRARI 0


ENDS

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