Sunday, October 19, 2008


Chinese Grand Prix
Sunday 19 October 2008
Lewis Hamilton stormed away at the start of today’s race, followed by Kimi Raikkonen and Felipe Massa. Fernando Alonso was in touch with the top three but Heikki Kovaleinen in the second McLaren seemed to be dropping back. It was later disclosed that his tyres had been incorrectly fitted.
Jarno Trulli started 7th but was hit by Sebastian Bourdais (Toro Rosso) at the first corner and had to retire. Massa pitted first after 14 laps, followed by Alonso, Hamilton and Raikkonen. This gave Kovaleinen a brief spell at the front but Hamilton was soon back in command. At this stage, the top four remained unchanged but soon Robert Kubica, who had started 12th and Nick Heidfeld (9th) began to work their way up the field. Kovaleinen, who had fallen back, pitted on lap 35 with a shredded tyre. He came back out but later had to retire.
Meanwhile Hamilton had opened a comfortable gap over Raikkonen, who was noticeably slower towards lap 50. A grateful Massa finally slipped past into second and finished 15 seconds behind the young Briton. Raikkonen made it a 2,3 for Ferrari and Alonso came in fourth, followed by Heidfeld and Kubica.
Nelsinho Piquet, who started 10th on the grid, managed to pass both Sebastian Vettel and Sebastian Bourdais in the Toro Rossos. He was in turn passed by Robert Kubica (Sauber BMW) and Timo Glock (Toyota) but, with the loss of Trulli and Kovaleinen, gained another point for Renault.
Ferrari seem to have the Constructor’s title safely in hand but what does seem surprising is that Sauber BMW are now just ten points behind McLaren. Despite the McLaren being clearly faster, Kubica and Heidfeld have simply scored points in more races than Hamilton and Kovaleinen.
Felipe Massa is now the only driver standing between Hamilton and the Drivers’ Championship, so it is perhaps fitting that the final deciding race will be in front of the Brazilian’s home crowd in São Paulo. Both drivers have five race wins and only seven points separate them, so the Brazilian Grand Prix on 2 November should provide a thrilling finish to an excellent season.
The top eight finishers were:
1 Lewis Hamilton (McLaren)
2 Felipe Massa (Ferrari)
3 Kimi Räikkönen (Ferrari)
4 Fernando Alonso (Renault)
5 Nick Heidfeld (Sauber BMW)
6 Robert Kubica (Sauber BMW)
7 Timo Glock (Toyota)
8 Nelsinho Piquet (Renault)
After 17 races, the leader board looks like this:
1 Lewis Hamilton (McLaren) 94
2 Felipe Massa (Ferrari) 87
3 Robert Kubica (Sauber BMW) 75
4 Kimi Räikkönen (Ferrari) 69
5 Nick Heidfeld (Sauber BMW) 60
6 Fernando Alonso (Renault) 53
7 Heikki Kovalainen (McLaren) 51
8 Sebastian Vettel (Toro Rosso) 30
9Jarno Trulli (Toyota) 30
10 Timo Glock (Toyota) 22
1 Ferrari 156
2 McLaren 145
3 BMW Sauber 135
4 Renault 72
5 Toyota 52
Mike O’Neill

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