2008

Round 1, Australian Grand Prix, Melbourne

THE PERFECT START FOR HAMILTON

1       Lewis Hamilton (McLaren Mercedes)

2       Nick Heidfeld (BMW Sauber)

3       Nico Rosberg (Williams Toyota)

4       Fernando Alonso (Renault)

5       Heikki Kovalainen (McLaren Mercedes)

6       Kazuki Nakajima (Williams Toyota)

7       Sebastian Bourdais (Toro Rosso Ferrari)

8       Kimi Raikkonen (Ferrari)

ANOTHER new season and another campaign that was bound to bring the same unpredictability that had made the 2007 season the most sensational for twenty years.  For Grand Prix racing, this was turning into a golden era and 2008 ended up bringing much of the same, particularly on track with the battle being settled on the last corner in Sao Paulo.  However, that was eight months away and as usual, Melbourne was the setting stone for a new season.  World champions Ferrari remained unchanged in driver line-up, whilst Fernando Alonso and Heikki Kovalainen swapped seats, following Alonso’s dramatic falling out with McLaren in 2007.  The most talked about change in 2008, was the disappearance in traction control and engine braking.  Although most got used to this quite quickly, it caught many teams and drivers out on the first weekend of the season.

In 2007, it was Felipe Massa who inherited Ferrari reliability problems in the first event and the status quo was retained for 2008, only on this occasion with world champion Kimi Raikkonen.  A fuel pressure problem starved the engine of any drive and eliminated the flying Finn at the start of Q2.  He wasn’t the only one with problems, as a brake disc failure sent Aussie favourite Mark Webber skittling into the gravel pit in the same session.  Lewis Hamilton took pole, pushed all the way by Robert Kubica.  The Pole would have been infront had it not been for a mistake on his best lap.  Kovalainen was a solid third in his inaugural race for McLaren

When the lights went out, half of the 22 drivers had been involved in a variety of incidents within the first lap.  The front row got away cleanly, but Massa got on the power too soon exiting turn 1 and spun into the barriers all by himself.  A new front wing was required and Kazuki Nakajima also would need similar emergency repairs.  Meanwhile, Sebastian Vettel had been tagged by Jenson Button in the first corner fracas and more contact had both Webber and Anthony Davidson’s cash-strapped Super Aguri limping too.  The most dramatic DNF came from the Force India of Giancarlo Fisichella.  The veteran was flipped into the air by Nelson Piquet’s Renault, forcing Timo Glock onto the grass to take avoiding action.  As expected, the Safety Car was called for and Vettel, Fisichella, Webber, Button & Davidson were all already out of the proceedings.

Elsewhere, Hamilton started to pull out a huge advantage over Kubica, who struggled to get heat generation through his tyres.  Kovalainen kept him in sight, whilst the other BMW of Nick Heidfeld looked faster, but couldn’t remove Nico Rosberg’s fast-starting Williams Toyota from fourth place.  Raikkonen had threaded his way through the mess of lap one beautifully and removed Rubens Barrichello from seventh into turn three with a simple move up the inside.  Seventh became sixth when Jarno Trulli failed to leave the pits, due to a burnt wiring loom that had drained the battery and left him feeling very uncomfortable in the car.

The second Ferrari of Massa was making steady progress through the pack, before making a  suspicious move on David Coulthard’s ninth position.  Contact on the 25th circuit was inevitable, which saw the Scot’s Red Bull wrecked.  The Safety Car was sent for again, with BMW tactically bringing Kubica in to fuel him up to the end.  Alonso was on fumes and only just made it in without running out of petrol, but team-mate Piquet did not, ending a pretty humiliating weekend for the son of the three-time world champion, having qualified on the back row.  The order behind the Safety Car was: Hamilton, Kovalainen, Raikkonen, Kubica, Heidfeld, Rosberg, Sebastian Bourdais & Alonso.

On the restart, Kovalainen protected Hamilton from Raikkonen, but left the door wide open into turn three.  Luckily for Heikki, Kimi missed his braking point comprehensively and ended up in the kitty litter, sliding to the back of the diminishing field.  It had been a dismal weekend for Ferrari, conflicted even more when Massa’s engine stopped out on the circuit on the same lap.  Despite holding fastest lap, Raikkonen was driving like an amateur, not a world champion.  This view was proved further when he dropped a wheel on the grass and spun again when closing up on Glock’s evil-handling Toyota.  With the final stops in progress, Kovalainen was caught out and would lose an eternity of time and track position behind a third Safety Car.  That was after Glock suffered an enormous shunt.  The defending GP2 champion had run wide onto the service area at turn 11 and was launched airborne into a series of spins down the backstraight.  The screeching noises from his engine as he floored the throttle making it sound worse.  Glock was winded but escaped serious injury.

More crazy incidents followed as Barrichello had to pit before the pitlane was opened to avoid running out of petrol.  He was released too soon and mowed down half of his Honda mechanics.  In a rush to rejoin the track, the Brazilian missed the pitlane red light and would be promptly disqualified after the event.  Kubica was also in serious trouble, when Nakajima hit behind the Safety Car.  The Japanese driver needed another front wing, but continued and would be punished with a grid penalty forMalaysia.  It was scant consolation to Kubica, whose suspension had taken a clout and forced him onto a retirement list as long as shops having been busted by the global recession.

Next to join that list was Raikkonen, who was limping around with another broken Ferrari engine.  Just to prove that the Italian team had a lot to sort out, its sister team provider, Toro Rosso also suffered a blow-up on reigning Champ Car champion Sebastian Bourdais, robbing him of a fine fourth place on his debut.  The final act in this race full of frolics was Kovalainen fighting back to fourth with a brilliantly executed pass on Alonso.  It left Ron Dennis smiling and punching the air in joy, still no love lost between him and the double world champion following the acrimoniousness between the pair in 2007.  The Spainard was to have the last laugh though, when Kovalainen accidentally pressed his pitlane speed limiter on whilst attempting to pull of a tear strip from his visor.  Fernando was promoted back to fourth.

Hamilton made a perfect start to 2008 (Telegraph)

Almost unnoticed at the front, Lewis Hamilton had put in a professional and fluent drive to record the fifth win of his career, on a day when none of the expected title contenders scored many points.  Quick and quiet Heidfeld registered second position and Rosberg achieved his first podium finish following a competitive showing from the Williams team.  Only six cars finished, which meant having completed sufficient distance, both Bourdais and Raikkonen left with the minor points.  It had been the perfect start for McLaren and Lewis Hamilton to 2008 and another classic battle had just begun for the remainder of the season.

 

 

Round 6, Monaco Grand Prix, Monte Carlo

SUPER HAMILTON DRIVES TO STREET SUCCESS

1       Lewis Hamilton (McLaren Mercedes)

2       Robert Kubica (BMW Sauber)

3       Felipe Massa (Ferrari)

4       Mark Webber (Red Bull Racing Renault)

5       Sebastian Vettel (Toro Rosso Ferrari)

6       Rubens Barrichello (Honda)

7       Kazuki Nakajima (Williams Toyota)

8       Heikki Kovalainen (McLaren Mercedes)

MAGIC Monaco had produced some sterling drives from the greats in the past, especially from the likes of Graham Hill, Ayrton Senna and Michael Schumacher.  In 2008, Lewis Hamilton added his name to the prestigious trophy with a drive full of speed, class and precision, even getting out of a jail from a major mistake in the early laps.

It was expected for McLaren to be the class of the field again, just like they had been in their destruction of the competition in 2007.  However, the mercurial Brazilian Felipe Massa charged to a neat pole position for Ferrari, with world champion team-mate Kimi Raikkonen joining him on the front row. Hamiltonwas content to start from the inside of row two.

Even in Monte Carlo, blue skies cannot be guaranteed and they had been replaced by a gloomy outlook on raceday.  All cars started on the intermediate rubber, but if Hamilton required assistance, it disappeared on the parade lap when Heikki Kovalainen’s car refused to start.  The diagnosis was an electrical fault and the luckless Finn was forced to start from the pitlane.  At the green light, Raikkonen bogged down and Hamilton edged into second place.  Massa led up the hill from Hamilton, Raikkonen and Robert Kubica.  In the midfield, Jenson Button tagged the back of Nick Heidfeld’s BMW, removing his front wing in the process.  Three laps in and Timo Glock’s Toyota spun exiting the last corner, also doing significant damage to his Toyota’s front end.  Surprisingly Massa was extending his lead and in an attempt to keep up, Hamilton grazed the barrier on the exit of Tabac, puncturing his right rear tyre.  An urgent pitstop was required, but with a giant field spread already developed, Lewis resumed back in fifth position.

Rainfall was increasing and the intermediates were starting to lose grip.  Firstly, Fernando Alonso lost control of his Renault at Massenet and damaged his left rear tyre, forcing a pitstop visit.  Seconds later, David Coulthard caught a puddle and crashed at the same area.  His Red Bull was joined in the guardrail by the sister Toro Rosso of Sebastian Bourdais, who gave it a hefty shove in the process.  The Safety Car was deployed, wiping out Massa’s 20 second advantage and giving Hamilton an opportunity to close up again.  When it peeled in, second placed Raikkonen was slapped with a drive-through penalty for his tyres not being fitted on by Ferrari within the three minute signal to the start of the formation lap.  Kubica was promoted to second, and started pulling away from Hamilton.  Team-mate Heidfeld had moved upto fifth from 12th on the grid, but had a pesky Alonso on extreme wet weather tyres climbing all over the back of him.  From the outset, this battle looked like ending in tears and ultimately it delivered.  Alonso pulled a move up the inside of the Lowes hairpin which wouldn’t look classy in a Sainsbury’s supermarket.  Heidfeld turned in and the cars interlocked, damaging Alonso’s nosecone and ruining Nick’s afternoon with iffy handling.  Picking up the pieces in the delay was Adrian Sutil, who had sneaked his Force India up into an amazing sixth place.

Still conditions worsened and come lap 17, Massa was caught out.  The Brazilian braked too late in Ste. Devote, locked up and went straight on.  A quick turnaround followed, but Kubica was close enough to punish the misjudgement and snatch the lead.  It was at this point that the track started to dry and Hamilton came into his own element.  When Kubica and Massa pitted for their scheduled stops, Lewis was in the lead.  He still had a load to do, as he was 16 seconds behind Massa when the Ferrari came in.  What followed turned out to be one of the most awesome stints that observers had seen since Schumacher’s retirement from the sport.  Hamilton started setting fastest laps, and though he was trading that statistic with the likes of Mark Webber and the inspired Sutil, he was critically lapping two seconds faster than his main rivals, Massa and Kubica on a regular basis.  With nothing to lose, Renault gambled on sending both Alonso and rookie Nelson Piquet out on dry tyres.  It did look like it was too early a call and Piquet had a clumsy off into the Ste. Devote barrier.  With his mature experience, Alonso kept his car pointing in the right direction and starting setting the sector times that hinted it was time to switch to dries.  By being so far down in 15th though, the double world champion was not going to benefit.  Strategy was thrown back in the air, with many teams gambling and losing out.  Webber went too early onto dries and conceded two spots, Jarno Trulli stayed on the extreme tyres and paid for it as he lost the chance to pick up some points and Ferrari went with the race control forecast, thinking it would rain again.  It didn’t, Massa pitted too late and lost out in his scrap for second to Kubica.

Conversely, McLaren made Kovalainen, driving around in a distant 11th position, their guinea pig.  Heikki pitted for dries, radioed in that it was the right move and in an instant, Hamilton was in for the better rubber.  In context, his earlier error had played into his own hands, as the team were able to fuel him up to the optimum level for the drying out phase.  As a result, he now had a 40 second advantage over Kubica.

On lap 62, ninth placed Nico Rosberg had an argument with the Swimming Pool armco and it took huge bites out of his chassis.  Nico had already made two unscheduled pit visits for earlier damage, went horribly wide out of Tabac and was quickly in a precarious position.  Seconds later, the front end of the Williams had three almighty shunts with the barrier.  Nico leaped out unhurt, but had to go to hospital for precautionary checks.

With time running out, this caution period ensured that this prestigious event would go via the two hour time limit, rather than the usual 78 laps.  The order was: Hamilton, Kubica, Massa, Sutil, Raikkonen, Webber, Sebastian Vettel’s Toro Rosso and Rubens Barrichello.  Force India were 12 minutes away from a fairytale result, but it turned into an absolute nightmare.  Raikkonen lost control over a damp patch out of the tunnel and gave Sutil’s Force India a whack into the chicane.  The conclusion was that it cost Raikkonen any chance of points, as he had to pit for his second new front wing.  Meantime, Sutil’s diffuser had been smashed and there no way he could continue.  He stopped in the pits, the mechanics were beyond belief and Sutil was inconsolable in the garage.

The way was left clear for Hamilton, despite a slow second puncture that had developed from carbon fibre left from Rosberg’s crash to cruise to the chequered flag and achieve one of his ultimate dreams, to win in Monaco.  A faultless drive from Kubica netted him a delightful second place and Massa scored a solid podium finish.  Webber was a brilliant fourth, whilst an almost unnoticed trio of Vettel, Barrichello and Kazuki Nakajima came through to finish fifth, sixth and seventh.  Kovalainen held off a late attack from fellow Finn Raikkonen to claim the final point.

Enzo Ferrari once said that to win Monaco is like half a championship.  Lewis Hamilton must have been feeling like that after this result.  He was back in the lead in the drivers title battle and now had built up some serious momentum.  In 2007, the Hamilton family left Monaco feeling robbed of victory, this time there was no repeat and Lewis had ticked a major race off his list.  The world championship battle was starting to heat up…….

Round 9, British Grand Prix, Silverstone

HAMILTON CLEANS UP IN SILVERSTONE STORM

1       Lewis Hamilton (McLaren Mercedes)

2       Nick Heidfeld (BMW Sauber)

3       Rubens Barrichello (Honda)

4       Kimi Raikkonen (Ferrari)

5       Heikki Kovalainen (McLaren Mercedes)

6       Fernando Alonso (Renault)

7       Jarno Trulli (Toyota)

8       Kazuki Nakajima (Williams Toyota)

AS LEWIS Hamilton arrived home at Silverstone for the halfway point of the 2008 FIA Formula 1 World Championship, he was under tremendous pressure to deliver.  Following his pitlane blunder in Canada, things had been rapidly going downhill for Lewis and a no score inFrance had just added to his woes.  He needed a performance to turn the fans and the British press on his side again and this he managed to do.  He did it in stunning fashion as he literally washed the field away in the midst of a typical July storm.

The bombshell news as fans passed through the turnstiles on Friday was the revelation that this would be the penultimate British Grand Prix at Silverstone.  Bernie Ecclestone had done a deal for the race to be staged at the Donington Park circuit in Leicestershire from 2010 onwards, with promising upgrades planned.  It was a hammer blow for the BRDC who owned the track and the Northamptonshire economy, especially in their 60th year of hosting Grand Prix racing, but at least the future of the British Grand Prix looked to be now firmly secured.

In qualifying, Hamilton pushed too hard and went off at Priory on his first run.  A more cautious approach on his second lap left him languishing back in fourth.  It was left for team-mate, Heikki Kovalainen to pick up the pieces.  The Finn stormed to pole position, with a near-perfect lap, 0.5 seconds quicker than the surprise package of qualifying Mark Webber.  The only consolation for Hamilton was championship rivals, Felipe Massa and Robert Kubica would be lining up back in ninth and tenth, following technical gremlins in Q3.

The McLaren's come close to touching at Copse (Autoblog)

Saturday’s sunshine was replaced by Sunday’s showers, but the fans still turned up in their drones.  At the start, Kovalainen got a decent start, but Hamilton’s getaway was superb.  He charged past Webber, Kimi Raikkonen and almost his team-mate.  Heikki was uncompromising and held on just, despite nearly spinning on the exit of Copse.  Not so lucky was Webber, who made a similar error exiting Chapel and spun his Red Bull on the Hangar Straight. Massa also clipped a white line on the first lap at Abbey chicane and was left pointing the wrong way, starting a dismal day for the Brazilian.  Before the first lap was out, David Coulthard’s final British GP had ended in the Priory mud.  The Scot has announced his retirement at the end of the season in a press conference on the Thursday leading into the race and an ambitious lunge on the Toro Rosso of Sebastian Vettel ended both of their races.

For four laps, Kovalainen held Hamilton behind him, but it was clear that Lewis had much more confidence under braking and he charged past his team-mate into Stowe.  Kovalainen spun soon afterwards, relegating himself to third behind Raikkonen.  Massa also pointed the wrong way again; he was destined not to challenge the leading contenders in this event.  For a while, Raikkonen’s Ferrari looked to be handling better than Hamilton’s McLaren and he closed the gap to less than a second before the scheduled first round of pitstops.

This was where Raikkonen’s race began to unravel.  First, Ferrari decided to fuel him longer, costing him the chance to lead Hamilton on the track.  Critically though, the team were convinced it wasn’t going to rain anymore and left Kimi on the same wet tyres he had started the race on.  McLaren put fresh tyres on Hamilton’s car and he quickly pulled out a ten second advantage on the Finn.  Kimi battled on, but he soon fell into the clutches of Kovalainen, who cautiously sliced past into Luffield.  At this exact point, a buzzing Nick Heidfeld stuck his BMW up the inside, blocked off Raikkonen’s desperate attempt to pit and outgunned Kovalainen on the pit straight to move upto second.  His team-mate Kubica, who started quietly, was also making dramatic progress and relieved Kovalainen from the podium positions as Heikki strugged with worn rear tyres.

Meanwhile, the rain was falling heavily and Ross Brawn took a strategical gamble with the two Honda cars and moved both Rubens Barrichello and Jenson Button onto extreme wet tyres.  A fuel rig issue on the Brazilian’s car delayed both cars and would hurt them in time later.  Now, there was a point when everyone was aquaplaning around the course and extreme wets were the way to go.  Fourth placed Nelson Piquet was caught out and slid into the gravel at the Abbey chicane.  He was quickly joined in retirement by Button’s Honda who went straight on at Bridge.  Despite the intensifying rain and Fernando Alonso’s plea for the Safety Car to be scrambled, Hamilton and Heidfeld stuck it out on intermediates at their second pitstops.  Not so lucky was Kubica, who under pressure from Kovalainen lost control on the water at Abbey chicane and fly off into the kitty litter.  Also in trouble were the Ferrari’s, with both Massa and Raikkonen spinning twice, both seemingly unable to cope with their set-ups for these variable conditions.  Lastly, Nico Rosberg needed a new front wing after slamming into the back of Timo Glock, destroying the rear diffuser on the Toyota in the process.

Having got it right were Honda and Barrichello.  Rubens was lapping almost half a minute faster on the deeper treaded tyres.  Though he had to make an extra stop to get his car to the finish for fuel, another tactical masterstroke in the Ross Brawn hall of fame had turned a possible one point score into an almost certain podium result.  In the closing stages, the main scrap was whether Alonso could bring his Renault home in fourth place.  Raikkonen charged past on the Hangar Straight with ten laps to go and Kovalainen was soon locked in deadlock with the man who replaced him in the Renault squad.  With three laps to go, Kovalainen had more grip and got past exiting Brooklands after several near-misses.  Kazuki Nakajima also looked set to get past Alonso, but a moment of weakness allowed Jarno Trulli’s Toyota through into seventh on the last lap.

At the front, Hamilton cantered home, soaking up the atmosphere from the patriotic crowd.  He had quite literally crushed the opposition, winning by over a minute.  Heidfeld and Barrichello completed the podium, the only pair that Hamilton failed to lap.  Raikkonen managed to salvage fourth, ahead of Kovalainen, Alonso, Trulli and Nakajima.  Massa wound up a frustrated 13th, having matched his 2002 achievement of five spins in the race.

On a wet July afternoon, Lewis Hamilton had made the rest of the field look like a bunch of amateurs, it was another drive of a champion in the wet for the new rainmaster of Grand Prix racing and now, Hamilton had blasted himself firmly back into the title race.

Round 18, Brazilian Grand Prix, Interlagos

LEWIS BREAKS BRAZILIAN HEARTS ON LAST CORNER

1      Felipe Massa (Ferrari)

2      Fernando Alonso (Renault)

3      Kimi Raikkonen (Ferrari)

4      Sebastian Vettel (Toro Rosso Ferrari)

5      Lewis Hamilton (McLaren Mercedes)

6      Timo Glock (Toyota)

7      Heikki Kovalainen (McLaren Mercedes)

8      Jarno Trulli (Toyota)

YOUNG hopes and young dreams.  Two men from two different teams, with the same ambition, to become Formula One World Champion.  Neither Lewis Hamilton, nor Felipe Massa or the millions watching in Sao Paulo and across the world could predict the incredible finale that the 2008 world championship served up.  This was certainly a classic that will never be forgotten by fans from all generations…

Hamilton came into Massa’s homeyard with a healthy seven point advantage; ironically the same initiative he had in 2007 over Felipe’s team-mate Kimi Raikkonen and lost.  With the home support, the Brazilian was keen to do the business in front of his adoring public.  He scored an early psychological blow by blowing away the opposition in qualifying.  Hamilton looked content with fourth on the grid, slotting in behind the impressive Jarno Trulli for Toyota and Raikkonen.

Come Sunday and the weather was playing games with all the teams, but a torrential downpour caught everyone out five minutes away from the start.  Everyone was ready on dry tyres and the only sensible option race control could take was delay the start by 10 minutes.  Suddenly all forms of Plan A had been thrown out of the window by this last minute panic.

When the race did get underway, only Robert Kubica was prepared to gamble on dries and he quickly regretted that and pitted at the end of the parade lap.  The first three cars moved away in unison, while Heikki Kovalainen backed off to allow his team-mate Hamilton back into fourth.  Heikki’s mission was to keep dangermen Sebastian Vettel and Fernando Alonso behind him and this he spectacularly failed to do, giving in to the pair by turn four on the first lap.  Further back, David Coulthard’s final race in his distinguished career came to an abrupt end.  Stuck in the midfield, the Scot, was shunted up the back by Nico Rosberg’s Williams and then the special white livered car got a further clout from the other Williams of Kazuki Nakajima.  Both Williams drivers continued, but it was game over for DC and also for Nelson Piquet, who caught a puddle and spun off at turn three.  With the damaged Red Bull in the middle of the track, the Safety Car was deployed.

At the restart, the track was drying visibly and once Giancarlo Fisichella started setting purple sectors on his dry shod Force India, the alarm bells were ringing for the leaders.  Massa, Vettel and Alonso responded immediately whilst Trulli, Raikkonen and Hamilton were too slow to react and consequently lost positions in the pack.  The new order was now: Massa, Vettel, Alonso, Raikkonen, Fisichella, Trulli, Hamilton and Timo Glock.

Quickly, Lewis disposed of the struggling Trulli, who found out that grip off the racing was non-existent and lost three places with a half spin.  Next target was the solid Fisichella and on lap 17, he beautifully outbraked the Italian into the first corner to place himself back into world championship position.  A few laps later, Trulli practically bullied Sebastian Bourdais off the track in the first corner, seriously compromising the Frenchman’s afternoon.  By half-distance, it looked like the race was settling down into a damp squib, Massa coasting at the front and when Vettel pitted for his third stop, Hamilton moved into a cautious fourth position.  However, the mysterious weather gods had something to say about that……

Tenth placed Nick Heidfeld blinked first with six laps to go for intermediate tyres.  The Honda cars quickly soon followed for the more suitable rubber and television pictures outside the BMW Sauber garage saw puddles developing in the pitlane.  Headaches were certainly increasing on the pitwall and with five laps to go; we were all set for a nail-biting conclusion to both world championships.  Alonso and surprisingly Raikkonen first, not Massa came in for intermediate tyres.  To cover Felipe off, McLaren called Hamilton in and Vettel followed the Brit in.  However, both Toyota cars of Glock and Trulli were taking a huge gamble in the extreme and were prepared to stay on the dry tyres.  Timo was able to clear Hamilton, but crucially for Lewis, Trulli did not.  Consequently, Hamilton had to keep the faster Toro Rosso of Vettel behind him.

With two laps to go, Kubica unnecessarily unlapped himself from both Hamilton and Vettel.  As the Pole went past, the McLaren ran off line, lost speed and Sebastian was able to dive up the inside and claim fifth position.  All of a sudden, the scenario had changed and now Massa was in command.  Glock’s sector times were fine and the Ferrari powered Toro Rosso of Vettel was driving away from Hamilton.  Sixth place wasn’t good enough to the disbelief of the McLaren team and Hamilton’s family.

Massa cleared down the hill to complete the race as the winner.  It was his sixth win of the season and he had done everything that he could have done…so the remaining question was, could Glock keep his car on the island and if so, deny Hamilton his maiden title.  However, the rain had intensified and Glock was stranded on the wrong rubber.  Both Vettel and Hamilton eased past the 2007 GP2 champion into the last corner.  Hamilton cruised home to claim the fifth place he needed to become the 2008 FIA Formula One World Champion.  Down in the garages, the chaotic finish had got the better of the Ferrari mechanics and Felipe’s dad, who were jumping up and down in the pits.  So too was Pussycat Doll Nicole Scherzinger, the girlfriend of Lewis Hamilton.  It eventually dawned on the Maranello team that they had got it wrong and it was McLaren who had got it right.  Elsewhere, Alonso was an impressive second, whilst Raikkonen claimed an uninspiring third.  Glock slithered across the line in sixth, with Kovalainen and Trulli completing the point scorers.  Ferrari had gained some consolation in winning the constructors championship but surely no-one will see a more dramatic finish to any world championship again.  In such a sensational way, Lewis Hamilton was a deserving world champion.

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