Monday, May 26, 2008

Ferrari's Wet in Monaco GP

Ferrari's early season momentum unravelled at a rain-soaked Monaco Grand Prix circuit on Sunday.
Ferrari, which qualified 1-2 for the first time in 29 years in Monaco, couldn't extend a four-race winning streak that had put the Italian team in control of the Formula One championship.
Defending world champion Kimi Raikkonen lost the overall lead to winner Lewis Hamilton, while pole-sitter Felipe Massa managed six points after a second straight third-place finish in Monaco.
"We are disappointed with this negative outcome - the result of a combination of errors on our part and bad luck," team principal Stefano Domenicali said. "We did not meet our usual high standards."
Ferrari, which hadn't won in Monaco since Michael Schumacher in 2001, started working on setups for this year's race immediately after last year's edition where Massa was more than a minute behind a McLaren 1-2 finish.
Massa was leading comfortably Sunday with Hamilton in fourth after the McLaren driver brushed the wall. But the Brazilian skidded off 16 laps in at the first corner of the rain-soaked track to lose the lead.
With intermittent rain falling and Hamilton on a longer middle-stint run, Ferrari improvised its strategy - though not for the better.
"We switched strategies thinking the rain was going to return, but this turned out to be the wrong choice," said Massa, who now trails Hamilton in the overall standings by four points.
Massa was let out on softer tires with the track drying out, while Hamilton's slicks had him moving up to 40 seconds ahead of his chasers. Robert Kubica of BMW Sauber eventually finished second.
Meanwhile, Raikkonen earned a penalty, destroyed two front wings and lost the championship lead - all in the 76-lap race.
"It is not what we wanted, but it is not the end of my life," said Raikkonen, who won in Monaco for McLaren in 2005. "Unfortunate things happen."
The Finn surrendered his grid place to Hamilton at the start and then was forced to perform a drive-through penalty because the team failed to get his tires on in the allotted time beforehand.
"And after that, everything went wrong," said Raikkonen, who trails Hamilton by three points.
Raikkonen ran off the track at the same spot as Massa nine laps later to damage his car's nose. He then ran into the back of Adrian Sutil with nine laps remaining after his brakes locked. The accident cost Raikkonen fifth place and Sutil lost his suspension and fourth place, which would have been Force India's first points.
"There was nowhere to go, and not enough space to try and avoid him," Raikkonen said.
With Montreal next on the calendar, Ferrari will have to double-up its efforts to avoid another McLaren sweep. It still holds a 16-point advantage over its English rival in the constructors' championship.
Ferrari has only five wins in the last 31 races on the famous street circuit. It best get a head start on next year.

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