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After Japan
Championship Standings:
1 Lewis Hamilton 277
2 Nico Rosberg 229
3 Sebastian Vettel 218
4 Kimi Raikkonen 119
5 Valtteri Bottas 111
6 Felipe Massa 97
7 Daniel Ricciardo 73
8 Daniil Kvyat 66
9 Romain Grosjean 44
10 Sergio Perez 39
11 Nico Hulkenberg 38
12 Max Verstappen 32
13 Felipe Nasr 17
14 Pastor Maldonado 16
15 Carlos Sainz 12
16 Fernando Alonso 11
17 Marcus Ericsson 9
18 Jenson Button 6
19 Roberto Merhi 0
20 Will Stevens 0
21 Alexander Rossi 0

1 Mercedes 506
2 Ferrari 337
3 Williams/Mercedes 208
4 Red Bull/Renault 139
5 Force India/Mercedes 77
6 Lotus/Mercedes 60
7 Toro Rosso/Renault 44
8 Sauber/Ferrari 26
9 McLaren/Honda 17
10 Marussia/Ferrari 0
Spanish GP: Raikkonen leads Ferrari 1-2 romp

by Mark J. Cipolloni
Sunday, April 27, 2008


Ferrari men Raikkonen and Massa wave to crowd
Polesitter Kimi Raikkonen drove his Ferrari to a convincing win in today's Spanish Grand Prix, leading from the start. His Ferrari teammate Felipe Massa was 2nd, 3.2 seconds behind the Finn.  Massa held off third place McLaren ace Lewis Hamilton by 0.9 seconds.  Robert Kubica was 4th in his BMW ahead of Mark Webber in the Red Bull.

Jenson Button in the Honda was sixth, Kazuki Nakajima in the Williams-Toyota was seventh and Jarno Trulli in the Toyota finished the final points paying position.

As a sign of the kind of day he was about to have, on the formation lap Alonso, while warming up his tires, goes off on the grass to the inside of the final corner, but recovers. Alonso did not finish, his Renault engine bellowing smoke as he pulled to the side of the road.

The excitement began even before the start as Alonso went off on the grass on the formation lap but rejoined. At the front, Raikkonen made the most of pole to slip into the lead, and Felipe, for the second year in succession, began his Spanish Grand Prix fighting second-placed Alonso. But going into the first corner, the Brazilian surged past the Renault to take up position behind his Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro team-mate. A collision in the pack, involving Vettel and Sutil immediately saw the Safety Car on track and racing resumed at the end of lap 3, with the order Raikkonen, Massa, Alonso, Hamilton, Kubica, Kovalainen, Heidfeld, Webber, Trulli, and Piquet completing the top ten until the next lap when the Renault man went wide and dropped down the order. He then spun again, ending his race and that of Bourdais.

By lap 10, Raikkonen led Massa by three seconds, with Alonso a further 1.8 behind, still with Hamilton, Kubica and Kovalainen completing the top six. As expected after yesterday's very fast qualifying lap, Fernando Alonso was the first man to pit at the end of lap 16 (9.3s) suggesting he might be on a three-stop strategy. Hamilton in the McLaren was now third, 11.2 off the leader. Massa was the first F2008 driver in pit lane, stopping for 8.1s at the end of lap 19. Raikkonen was in next time round, stationary for just one tenth of a second longer than his team-mate. At the same time, Mark Webber came in from sixth place, while Hamilton was the new leader but only for one lap until his own stop, which occurred at the same time as Robert Kubica's.

A high speed crash saw Kovalainen go straight on and bury his car in the tire barriers at Turn 9 which immediately brought out the Safety Car. When the pit lane opened Barrichello managed to leave the pitlane with the front of his Honda hanging off. To everyone's relief, Kovalainen was shown giving a thumbs-up sign from the stretcher as he was carried into the ambulance. As the race resumed on lap 28, the order, with everyone having stopped at least once, was Raikkonen, Massa, Hamilton, Kubica, Heidfeld, Alonso, Webber, Trulli, Rosberg and Nakajima completing the top ten. Fifth placed Heidfeld was given a ten second stop-go penalty for refueling when the pit lane was closed.

On lap 35, the crowd started to leave, as Fernando Alonso parked his Renault at Turn 4, having been fifth, until his car stopped with flames coming from the back of the car. On lap 41, Rosberg parked his Williams alongside the pit wall, which left just 13 cars in the race. Out in front, Kimi led Felipe by 2.9s, with Hamilton a further 3.0 down in the remaining McLaren. Kubica was fourth, followed by Webber, Trulli, Nakajima, Fisichella, Button, Coulthard, Glock, Heidfeld and Sato 13th and last.

Laps 45 and 46 saw the two Ferrari men trade fastest lap times, as Massa came in at the end of 46, for a 7.2 second stop. Webber came in from fifth at the same time. Next time round, saw Raikkonen, Hamilton and Kubica all pit at the same time. On lap 55, with all pit stops completed, the order was Raikkonen, Massa, Hamilton, Kubica, Webber, Button, Nakajima, Trulli, Heidfeld, Fisichella, Glock, Sato and Coulthard, 13th and last, as an earlier collision with Glock saw him pit with a puncture. The only change to this order, as the checkered flag came out after 66 laps was that Coulthard passed Sato for 12th.

Team-by-team summary: Sunday, Spain

The Finn's pole lap seemed even more impressive when it emerged that Massa had in fact carried slightly less fuel in qualifying.  Ferrari now leads both championships.


Lewis Hamilton finished third, mere seconds from the Ferraris, whose actual dominance is difficult to quantify given the two safety car periods and Raikkonen's control of the race.  "It's comforting to know that we are relatively close to Ferrari," Hamilton said.  The huge accident that has hospitalized the concussed Heikki Kovalainen, caused by an apparent failure of the wheel rim, occurred on lap 22 at the Campsa corner.


Robert Kubica in Spain continued his run of form, finishing just over a second behind Lewis Hamilton's third place, and less than six seconds off the winner.  Nick Heidfeld's ninth place can be mostly blamed on the farcical safety car rules, because his need to stop for fuel when the pitlane was closed netted an undeserved ten second stop-and-go penalty that dropped him to the very back of the pack.


A skilful run to fifth for Mark Webber, cleverly coinciding with team owner Dietrich Mateschitz's visit to the grand prix.  Woe for David Coulthard, though, after he picked up damage with a hit by Adrian Sutil, and then yet another in-race collision, this time as Timo Glock tried to pass him.  He finished a lap down.  "I'm sure his luck will change soon," said boss Christian Horner.


Jenson Button's sixth place, approaching a minute behind the checkered flag, netted Honda its first points of 2008.  Rubens Barrichello, during his record-equaling 256th race, dragged his broken front wing around the circuit for a full lap after a pitlane collision with Giancarlo Fisichella, and then retired.


Kazuki Nakajima finished seventh, but the two points would have been teammate Nico Rosberg's if his FW30 had not erupted spectacularly in plumes of white smoke -- surely a Toyota engine failure.  "We haven't identified the problem as yet," technical boss Sam Michael said.


Jarno Trulli's single point should have been three, but he fell behind Jenson Button and Kazuki Nakajima when a "communication error" - a radio message intended for teammate Timo Glock - led to an unnecessary late pitstop.  Glock was being called in after a crash, and he accused David Coulthard of closing the door as he tried to pass, which damaged his front wing and left him a lap down.


Giancarlo Fisichella finished tenth out of the thirteen finishers, a lap down.  Sutil had no-one to blame for his first-corner crash, which triggered the first of the two safety car periods.  "Good and bad," technical boss Mike Gascoyne neatly summarized.


Takuma Sato finished last, and Anthony Davidson retired when a stone flicked onto the track by a Piquet off holed his radiator.


Fernando Alonso was indeed running light, but the Spaniard looked set for fifth place when his engine - the second Viry-built unit to expire this weekend - blew up.  Nelson Piquet ran off the circuit and then retired after crashing into Sebastien Bourdais while trying to recover lost ground.


A hapless Sebastian Vettel had yet another early-race incident, and he criticized Adrian Sutil for becoming an unavoidable roadblock after a "far too optimistic" passing move.  Bourdais, meanwhile, completed the team's very early bath and he similarly accepted no blame for being bumped out by the Piquet move.


1. Kimi Raikkonen Finland Ferrari 66 1h38m19.051
2. Felipe Massa Brazil Ferrari 66 3.2
3. Lewis Hamilton Britain McLaren-Mercedes 66 4.1
4. Robert Kubica Poland BMW Sauber 66 5.6
5. Mark Webber Australia Red Bull-Renault 66 35.9
6. Jenson Button Britain Honda 66 53.0
7. Kazuki Nakajima Japan Williams-Toyota 66 58.2
8. Jarno Trulli Italy Toyota 66 59.4
9. Nick Heidfeld Germany BMW Sauber 66 1m03.0
10. Giancarlo Fisichella Italy Force India-Ferrari 65 1 Lap
11. Timo Glock Germany Toyota 65 1 Lap
12. David Coulthard Britain Red Bull-Renault 65 1 Lap
13. Takuma Sato Japan Super Aguri-Honda 65 1 Lap
R Nico Rosberg Germany Williams-Toyota 41 Engine
R Fernando Alonso Spain Renault 34
R Rubens Barrichello Brazil Honda 34
R Heikki Kovalainen Finland McLaren-Mercedes 21 Accident
R Anthony Davidson Britain Super Aguri-Honda 8
R Sebastien Bourdais France Toro Rosso-Ferrari 7 Damage
R Nelson Piquet Brazil Renault 6 Accident
R Adrian Sutil Germany Force India-Ferrari 64 Accident
R Sebastian Vettel Germany Toro Rosso-Ferrari 0 Accident
Kimi Raikkonen Finland Ferrari 46 1:21.670

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