Monday, November 3, 2008

Lewis Hamilton : 2008 F1 World Championship

Felipe Massa took a dominant victory in a thrilling race in front of his home crowd at Interlagos and looked to have snatched the drivers' crown until the final corner. Hamilton's fifth place finish was just enough to clinch the championship. In the race, Alonso finished second and Raikkonen third, confirming the constructors' championship for Ferrari.

With the Brazilian fans getting well into the action for a nail-biting, deciding Grand Prix, there was an early twist just two minutes before the parade lap a heavy, two-minute rain shower forced the start to be postponed by ten minutes, to allow teams to change to intermediate tyres if necessary.

Massa made a perfect start to lead Trulli, Raikkonen and Hamilton into the first corner while behind him Kovalainen fell away and lost position to Vettel and Alonso. The safety car was deployed after Piquet and Coulthard was clipped by a Williams in the first corner and also collected Piquet, ending both hopes.

The safety car was in on lap four and Massa led the field, inching out a two-second lead by lap nine. Vettel and Alonso were the first front runners to switch to dry tyres that lap, followed in by Massa on lap 10. Trulli, Raikkonen and Hamilton pitted the following lap and while Ferrari got Raikkonen ahead of the Toyota, they all lost out and rejoined behind Massa, Vettel, Alonso and Fisichella.

Raikkonen soon passed Fisichella for fourth while Hamilton got ahead of a struggling Trulli to take sixth on lap 13.

Massa kept his cool out front, keeping Vettel and Alonso at bay while team mate Raikkonen did his job of backing off with Hamilton finding no way past Fisichella until a brave move down the inside of turn one on lap 18.

Vettel held onto Massa easily until lap 27 when it became clear he was very light on fuel and needed to pit. He rejoined in sixth, while Hamilton moved up to fourth as a result.

Massa built a lead of 7.1s over Alonso before pitting on lap 38. The Spaniard stayed out two more laps before pitting on lap 40, along with Lewis Hamilton. As the second round of stops were complete on lap 43, Massa led Vettel, Alonso, Raikkonen and Hamilton.

Vettel held onto second until lap 51 when he made his third stop, rejoining in fifth, behind Hamilton, but easily closing in on the McLaren's rear wing.

Massa continued to look flawless out front even when on lap 63 a few more spots of rain began to fall in the pit lane. Hamilton meanwhile was hanging on in fourth, fending off Sebastian Vettel.

The rain intensified with five laps to go and forced the front runners to pit for intermediate tyres. Timo Glock chose not to in the Toyota and climbed to fourth, pushing Hamilton to fifth with Vettel right on his tail.

In the closing laps, Hamilton ran wide and Vettel passed him for fifth and it all looked lost for Hamilton with two laps remaining. He had no reply for the Toro Rosso and looked set to miss out for the second straight year when lady luck paid out in the final corner as Hamilton got past Timo Glock's struggling Toyota, still on dry tyres in wet conditions and came home by the skin of his teeth to win the drivers' championship.

Massa took the win from Fernando Alonso, Kimi Raikkonen, Sebastian Vettel, Hamilton, Glock, Kovalainen and Trulli. Ferrari confirms its victory in the constructors' championship