Massa over Hamilton and Raikkonen in Turkey
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.
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.
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
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.
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