Monday, May 12, 2008

Felipe Massa makes it Three in a Row in Turkish Grand Prix

A delighted Felipe Massa swept to a hat-trick of Turkish Grand Prix victories from pole position here on Sunday in the Turkish Grand Prix when he delivered another domineering display for Ferrari at Istanbul Park.
The Brazilian triumphed by 3.7 seconds ahead of McLaren's British driver Lewis Hamilton with Finland's reigning champion Kimi Raikkonen less than half-a-second behind in third in the other Ferrari.
"This feels fantastic," said Massa.
"But actually, it was a very difficult race. Lewis pushed me very hard for a lot of the race and I was worried for a while, but I knew he was lighter than me.
"When the team told me he was running on three stops I felt better so I realised that was a help for me and I had a chance. I could not hold him when he passed me, but I knew I could win the race so I just had to wait.
"To win here for a third time is really fantastic for me. Now I think I can already get a passport here!"
Hamilton pulled off the overtaking move of the race on Massa and denied Ferrari a likely one-two despite adopting a three-stop fuel strategy compared to his rival's two stopper.
But there was no stopping Massa who controlled the 58-lap race on the 5.338-kms track which he clearly loves.
Hamilton said: "I am absolutely thrilled to come second here after starting third and after my form yesterday.
"I knew it would be tough to get points but we did it well and I am happy. The balance of the car was great on the hard tyres, but the soft tyre was not so good at the end.
"We chose a three stop strategy for safety reasons after what happened here last year when we suffered a failure. Three stops was the safest way to go, but it left us in a less strong position to win the race."
Raikkonen's lead in the championship was cut to seven points with Massa now second, on countback, from last year's runner-up Hamilton. Raikkonen has 35, Massa and Hamilton have 28.
Ferrari extended their lead in the constructors' championship to 19 points over BMW with McLaren two points further back after Finland's Heikki Kovalainen paid for an early pit-stop to finish 12th having started second.
The Finn suffered an opening lap puncture after a suspected collision with Raikkonen on the opening lap.
Poland's Robert Kubica was fourth for BMW just ahead of team-mate Greman Nick Heidfeld with Spain's Fernando Alonso sixth for Renault. Red Bull's Australian Mark Webber was seventh and German-born Nico Rosberg eighth for Williams.
There was no points finish for Brazil's Rubens Barrichello in his record-breaking 257 appearance as he finished 14th for Honda.
Massa blasted into lead from the start with all the drama happening behind him as Hamilton powered past his team-mate Kovalainen into second spot.
Kubica also overtook Kovalainen in the race for the first corner where the Finn squeezed compatriot Raikkonen who dropped from fourth to sixth behind former two-time champion Alonso.
Further down the field, Force India's Italian veteran Giancarlo Fisichella drove right over the Williams of Kazuki Nakajima, missing the Japanese driver by inches but sending them both spinning into retirement in the gravel after a collision at the start.
The safety car was immediately deployed, staying out for one circuit as the debris was cleared. Kovalainen was forced to pit at the end of the second lap while on the third lap Raikkonen easily outpaced Alonso to move back to fourth.
Raikkonen took third spot in the first round of pit-stops leapfrogging Kubica as Massa and Hamilton battled it out at the front.
Hamilton, on a lighter fuel load, thrillingly snatched the lead on lap 24 when he darted down Massa's left before forcing his rival to move over as they came up to turn 12 at around 180mph.
The British driver's lead lasted just eight laps before he made another quick pit-stop allowing Massa to regain control of the race. Hamilton regained the lead after Massa, then Raikkonen, made their final stops.
Hamilton made a stop at the end with 13 laps left and although it was not quick enough to deny Massa, he came out just fractions ahead of Raikkonen to snatch second spot from his chief rival.

No comments: