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After Canada
Championship Standings:

Drivers' Standings
1 Sebastian Vettel 121
2 Lewis Hamilton 120
3 Valtteri Bottas 86
4 Daniel Ricciardo 84
5 Kimi Raikkonen 68
6 Max Verstappen 15
7 Fernando Alonso 32
8 Nico Hulkenberg 32
9 Carlos Sainz 24
10 Kevin Magnussen 19
11 Pierre Gasly 18
12 Sergio Perez 17
13 Esteban Ocon 11
14 Charles Leclerc 10
15 Stoffel Vandoorne 8
16 Lance Stroll 4
17 Marcus Ericsson 2
18 Brendon Hartley 1
19 Romain Grosjean 0
20 Sergey Sirotkin 0

Constructors' Standings
1 Mercedes 206
2 Ferrari 189
3 Red Bull Renault 134
4 Renault 56
5 Mclaren Renault 40
6 Force India Mercedes 28
7 Toro Rosso Honda 19
8 Haas Ferrari 19
9 Sauber Ferrari 12
10 Williams Mercedes 4

Massa over Hamilton and Raikkonen in Turkey

by Mark J. Cipolloni
Sunday, May 11, 2008


Felipe Massa owns the Grand Prix of Turkey
Ferrari's Felipe Massa won his third consecutive Turkish Grand Prix from pole in Istanbul Sunday.  Lewis Hamilton, who tried a three-stop strategy passed Massa for the lead before half-distance, but he couldn't pull out enough of an advantage to beat the Brazilian after his additional stop, so had to settle for second place, just ahead of a faster Kimi Raikkonen who set fastest lap in the second Ferrari.

Robert Kubica took fourth, with his BMW teammate Nick Heidfeld in fifth, ahead of Fernando Alonso's Renault.

Hamilton on Sunday admitted that his unique and less than ideal three-stop strategy for the Turkish Grand Prix was not selected by choice.

The British driver, who finished the Istanbul race less than four seconds behind Ferrari's winning Felipe Massa, said the extra pit stop was official F1 tire supplier Bridgestone's idea.

Lewis Hamilton in Istanbul
"Bridgestone were concerned," Hamilton, 23, admitted.

Last year at the Otodrom circuit, Hamilton suffered a front tire failure during the grand prix, and Bridgestone was worried about a repeat of the incident in 2008.

"They thought the tire was going to fail like it did last year and they made us do a three-stop as it was the safest route to go," he admitted.

"Unfortunately that put us in not such a strong position to win the race. However when I am given a problem, I deal with it."

Team boss Ron Dennis confirmed the story, explaining that Bridgestone identified some "internal delamination" following the practice sessions.

Hamilton's teammate Heikki Kovalainen also stopped three times on Sunday, but the first was unscheduled, following contact with his compatriot Kimi Raikkonen on the first lap.

"Lewis was pushing me hard for the whole race," Massa admitted.

"I saw he was very light in the beginning because he was pushing me so heavily, and then after my pit stop he was right there so I thought he must have put in less fuel.

"My team told me that he was on three stops, and that was a help because he was very strong and I couldn't hold him off on the track.

"So he passed me, but I knew I still had a big chance to win the race because three stops was quite optimistic.

"I just created a gap to be in front after the pit stops.

"It was difficult, but we made it."

The victory was Massa's third straight win in Istanbul, which was the scene of his first ever Formula 1 win in 2006.

"To win a third time in Turkey is just fantastic, I think I should get a passport here," he joked.

Race Recap

The grid formed up in untypically chilly conditions for Turkey, with an ambient temperature of just 17 degrees and keeping tires warm was made even harder as the Safety Car came out immediately after the start because of a collision that Fisichella and Nakajima. Massa got a perfect start from pole, with Lewis Hamilton charging into second place from third ahead of Kubica who got ahead of Kovalainen who made a bad start from second place. The Finnish McLaren driver pitted as soon as the race restarted on lap 2 for a change of tires. Raikkonen found his path blocked off the line and had dropped two places to sixth, moving up to fifth after the McLaren had pitted. So the order on lap 3 was: Massa, Hamilton, Kubica, Raikkonen, Alonso, Webber, Heidfeld, Rosberg, Coulthard, Trulli, Button, Barrichello, Glock, Bourdais, Piquet, Vettel, Sutil and Kovalainen, 18th and last.

Out in front, Massa was having to push hard, as second placed Hamilton was only 1.4 seconds behind on lap 7 and only 1.1 five laps later. Why was the McLaren so fast? All would be revealed later! Kubica's BMW was a further 5.3 behind, while Raikkonen was 1.1 down on the Polish driver, with a comfortable 2.1 seconds in hand over Alonso's Renault. The fight for first place was turning into a fascinating duel, as the McLaren man seemed to always have a slight advantage in the first two sectors of the track, but the Ferrari had the edge in the third and final part of the lap.

Alonso was the first driver to make a planned pit stop bringing his Renault in on lap 15 and next time round, Hamilton came in for a 6.4 stop, which took the pressure off Massa, who came in for an 8.2 second stop on lap 19, as did Kubica in the BMW. But a Ferrari still led, as these stops promoted Raikkonen to first place, the Finn immediately setting a fastest lap with a clear track ahead of him. Next time round, he made his first stop, stationary for 8.6 seconds. Heidfeld who had been up to second in the BMW, also refueled on this lap. Massa was leading again, but not for long, as Hamilton tried a very brave move running down to the hairpin to pass the Ferrari man on lap 24. This meant the two F2008 were running in convoy, as Raikkonen was third, 9.3 behind his team-mate and 4.1 ahead of Kubica.

With 28 laps of 58 remaining, the lead McLaren now headed Felipe by 6.3 seconds lapping almost a second quicker than the Brazilian, while Kimi was now running a solitary race behind Massa with a 4.8 second lead over Kubica. In the remaining points positions, were Heidfeld fifth, then Alonso, Webber and Button who pitted the Honda on lap 31.

On lap 32, Hamilton made his second stop, thus handing the lead back to the Ferrari duo. The TV caption indicated the McLaren driver had enough fuel to get to the flag. Was this right? Wait and see! Sometimes the best battles are not at the front and that was the case in Istanbul, as in the middle order, there were two fantastic fights for eleventh place between Button and Piquet and for thirteenth between Kovalainen and Glock.

Massa made his final 7.3 second stop on lap 40, with fourth placed Kubica also pitting on the same lap. Hamilton was now the McLaren meat in a Ferrari sandwich, as Raikkonen inherited the lead when Massa rejoined in third place, with the Englishman back in the lead when Kimi made his second and final stop for 7.1 seconds on lap 43. This meant that with 14 laps to go, Hamilton looked set for a relatively secure sprint to the flag as he led Felipe by 14.4s, with Kimi a further 7.1 behind. But things are not always what they seem and the pace of the McLaren now became clear as Hamilton came in for a third stop on lap 45, which promoted Massa to the number one position yet again. McLaren had in fact opted to put their English driver on a three stop strategy, which is why, on lighter fuel loads, he appeared to be quicker than the Ferraris. With eight laps remaining, the Finn had closed to within 0.7 seconds of Hamilton, but it was clear that he would not get past and Kimi made sure of a good third place. Off the podium but in the points were Robert Kubica, fourth and Nick Heidfeld fifth for BMW Sauber, Fernando Alonso sixth for Renault, Mark Webber seventh for Red Bull Renault and Nico Rosberg eighth for Williams Toyota.

The next round of the championship takes place at the most glamorous venue on the calendar in Monaco, where driver confidence and good team spirit play a key role - what better way to go there than leading both championships.

Team-by-team summary: Sunday, Turkey

Kimi Raikkonen's run to third place closes his championship lead to Hamilton, and now Massa, to 7 points. Carrying wing damage after a first corner tap with compatriot Heikki Kovalainen, he narrowly missed beating Hamilton to second place at the end of a lackluster weekend, although he did set the fastest lap of the race.

Team boss Stefano Domenicali, who turned 44 on Sunday, played down any talk of dominance, despite the face that Turkey was Ferrari's fourth consecutive win in 2008. "At Monaco and Canada last year we suffered a lot and we will have to do our best in preparing for these races," he said.


The reason for Hamilton's glum face during the qualifying press conference was revealed on Sunday -- even with a light three-stop fuel load, he had been outqualified by his heavier teammate Heikki Kovalainen. The Briton explained that Bridgestone requested the strategy, which produced an exciting race and even a pass on ultimate winner Massa, for fear of a repeat of his tire failure of 2007. "I think this is the best race ever for me," Hamilton said, clearly happier with his performance in the race. "I really think we have closed the gap to Ferrari." Kovalainen's first front row start quickly turned to disappointment, after the early tag from compatriot Raikkonen forced an early pit stop, and he finished a lap down and out of the points despite a spirited fightback.


Another strong result for Robert Kubica, although he greeted the checkered flag nearly 18 seconds behind the final podium-getter, Raikkonen. "I was a little bit slower than the three guys in front of me, but quicker than the rest of the pack," the Pole said. Nick Heidfeld converted his poor 9th on the grid to 5th at the checker, but he was a long way behind his teammate at the end. "We are happy with this result," said technical boss Willy Rampf.


The Renault-powered Mark Webber and Fernando Alonso duked it out to be 'best of the rest' behind the big teams in Turkey, and Alonso won the day by 10 seconds. Nelson Piquet compounded his poor grid position with a bad start, and finished 15th in the depleted field of 17, albeit after demonstrating some fighting qualities, particularly against Kovalainen.


"Fernando was a bit strong for us today," Webber said, after following the works Renault home to seventh place and two points. David Coulthard at least got through a race without colliding with anyone, finishing ninth.


Nico Rosberg's collection of the final point was helped by his very good start from 11th on the grid. "Any more, though, is just not possible at the moment," the German said. Kazuki Nakajima's DNF was the first of his short formula one career, and he was lucky to escape unhurt after Giancarlo Fisichella's flying Force India leaped over his head at the first corner, bringing out the safety car. "I don't know exactly what happened," he said. "I was just hit from behind."


Jarno Trulli got a nudge amid the turn one chaos, dropping him three places and limiting his charge to just tenth place. Timo Glock also complained about being stuck in traffic after finishing a lap down and 13th. "There is still a big gap between our performance and that of the front teams," team boss Tadashi Yamashina admitted.


Not a good race for Honda, with Jenson Button 11th and Rubens Barrichello a lowly 14th at the end of his record-breaking 257th grand prix. "Unfortunately we did not have the pace to compete," the Brazilian veteran said. Team boss Ross Brawn said the team is working on "some visually interesting" new parts for Monaco, which may be tried at the forthcoming Paul Ricard group test.


Fisichella smashed into the rear and then flew over the top of Nakajima's Williams at the first corner. "Bourdais changed direction twice and I couldn't brake in time," he said. Adrian Sutil - rarely seeing a checkered flag - narrowly beat Sebastian Vettel home to avoid last place, after a collision with a Toro Rosso damaged his nose on the fraught first lap.


Vettel finally saw a checkered flag in Turkey, but only after an incident-packed race, including a cut tire on lap one and refueling problems, and he finished dead last after not managing to pass Sutil in the closing stages. Sebastien Bourdais also had refueling problems, but he retired after an unidentified failure at the rear of his car spun him deep into the gravel. "We are glad the STR2 era is over," said team boss Franz Tost.



Driver Team Behind
1. Massa Ferrari 0.000
2. Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes 3.779
3. Raikkonen Ferrari 4.271
4. Kubica BMW Sauber 21.945
5. Heidfeld BMW Sauber 38.741
6. Alonso Renault 53.724
7. Webber Red Bull-Renault 1:04.229
8. Rosberg Williams-Toyota 1:11.406
9. Coulthard Red Bull-Renault 1:15.270
10. R.Schumacher Toyota 1:16.344
11. Button Honda 1 lap
12. Kovalainen McLaren-Mercedes 1 lap
13. Glock Toyota 1 lap
14. Barrichello Honda 1 lap
15. Piquet Renault 1 lap
16. Sutil Force India-Ferrari 1 lap
17. Vettel Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1 lap
Not classified/retirements:
Driver Team On lap
Bourdais Toro Rosso-Ferrari 25
Nakajima Williams-Toyota 1
Fisichella Force India-Ferrari 1

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