Monday, October 13, 2008

Japanese Grand Prix

Japanese Grand Prix
Sunday 12 September 2008

In one of the most exciting race without rain this year, Fernando Alonso reminded us just how he came to be a double world champion by coaxing his Renault to an overall victory at the Fuji Speedway in Japan.

Grid leader Hamilton got away to a slow start, allowing Kimi Raikkonen to get ahead. As they approached turn 1, Hamilton braked late and, according to the stewards, forced Raikkonen off the track. Robert Kubica and Fernando Alonso (who started sixth and fourth) saw their chance and stole away into the lead.
Hamilton fought back but, approaching the chicane on lap 2, Felipe Massa’s wheel hit the McLaren, spinning it around. Hamilton re-joined the race but, with a drive –through penalty from the first lap still to do, his chances were not good. The only consolation came when Massa was awarded a similar penalty for their collission. Meanwhile, team mate Heikki Kovaleinen was hanging on to third place, ahead of Jarno Trulli and Kimi Raikkonen until lap16 when smoke appeared from the McLaren engine and he was out of the race. Alonso pitted behind Kubica and took on less fuel to get out ahead. He then put in some dazzling laps to ensure that when he pitted again with 23 laps to go, Kubica was firmly in second place. Raikkonen tried everything to get past the Polish driver but had to watch out for Nelsinho Piquet in the second Renault who was closing fast in the final laps.

Felipe Massa’s penalty had relegated him to 14th, but he had worked his way back up to tenth when he collided with Sebastian Bourdais, who had just rejoined the race after pitting. Massa spun, but still managed to finish eighth. Stewards later gave Bourdais, who had finished sixth, a 25 second penalty which dropped him to 10th and gave Massa an extra point.

Since McLaren failed to gain any points, Ferrari move back to lead the constructors’ table.

With just two races to go, Hamilton will be working hard to control those racing instincts that got him into so much trouble today. Next week, the F1 Show moves to Shanghai, China for Race 17.

The top eight finishers were:
1 Fernando Alonso (Renault)
2 Robert Kubica (Sauber BMW)
3 Kimi Räikkönen (Ferrari)
4 Nelsinho Piquet (Renault)
5 Jarno Trulli (Toyota)
6 Sebastian Vettel (Toro Rosso)
7 Felipe Massa (Ferrari)
8 Mark Webber (Red Bull)

After 16 races, the leader board looks like this:
1 Lewis Hamilton (McLaren) 84
2 Felipe Massa (Ferrari) 79
3 Robert Kubica (Sauber BMW) 72
4 Kimi Räikkönen (Ferrari) 63
5 Nick Heidfeld (Sauber BMW) 56
6 Heikki Kovalainen (McLaren) 51
7 Fernando Alonso (Renault) 48
8Jarno Trulli (Toyota) 30
8 Sebastian Vettel (Toro Rosso) 30
10 Mark Webber (Red Bull) 21

1 Ferrari 142
2 McLaren 135
3 BMW Sauber 128
4 Renault 66R
5 Toyota 50Mc

Mike O’Neill

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