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Belgian GP 2008


Race Notes - Massa inhereits Belgian GP victory after Hamilton penalised

Start, Belgian GP 2008
© The Cahier Archive

Felipe Massa did not finish first across the line in his Ferrari, but won the Belgian Grand Prix today, at Spa-Fracorchamops, after the stewards decided several hours after the race to penalise Lewis Hamilton 25 seconds for having gained an advantage in his battle with Kimi Raikkonen by cutting the final chicane in the closing part of the race.

Nick Heidfeld finished second for Sauber-BMW, 9.3 seconds behind Massa, while Hamilton was demoted to third in his McLaren-Mercedes, 10.5 seconds behind after his penalty.

Hamilton started on pole, but lost the lead to Kimi Raikkonen when he spun at the hairpin on the second lap. Raikkonen lead the race in commanding style, but with rain starting to fall in with three laps remaining, Raikkonen and Hamilton swapped the lead a number of times, both slivering there way around the track, falling off several times, but Raikkonen then spun, touching the wall, and was out - leaving Hamilton to take the victory. After the penalties were handed out, Massa was declared the winner.

Fernando Alonso finished fourth in the Renault 14.4 seconds behind, followed by Sebastian Vettel (14.5s) in the Toro Rosso-Ferrari in fifth, Robert Kubica (15.0s) in the BMW-Sauber in sixth, Sebastien Bourdais (16.7s) after starting the final lap in third place ended up in seventh place in the Toro Rosso.

Timo Glock finished on the road in eighth, but was demoted to ninth after being given a 25 second penalty for ignoring waved yellow flags.

Glock's penalty gave the final point to Mark Webber in his Red Bull-Renault, 42.7 seconds behind the leader.

Before the start the surface of the grid was wet, but most of the track was dry.

At the start Hamilton took the lead into the hairpin while Raikkonen took second from his team mate Massa, followed by Alonso, Bourdais, Trulli, Piquet, Webber, Glock and Kubica, the BMW's, and Kovalainen loosing many spots.

On lap 1 Trulli spun, but resumed, jumping into the oncoming traffic.

At the start on lap 2 Hamilton spun into the hairpin, got going just ahead of Raikkonen, but on the run up the hill was passed by the Ferrari for the lead.

At lap 5 Raikkonen lead Hamiltion by 1.1 seconds, followed by Massa, (4.6s), Alonso (6.5s), Bourdais (10.9s), Webber (11.6s), Kubica (13.2s) and Kovalainen (16.3s) in eighth place.

On lap 8 Vettel passes Piquet for 10th place.

On lap 9 Kovalainen passes Kubica for seventh place.

Kovalainen attempts to pass Webber into the final chicane and makes contact, spinning the Red Bull driver.

On lap 11 Hamilton pits from second place, followed the next lap by leader Raikkonen. Massa and Kovalainen pitting on lap 13.

On lap 14 Nelson Piquet spun, touched the barriers and retired on the spot, while Kovalainen takes a drive through penalty for causing the contact with Webber.

On lap 15 Bourdais pits along with Kubica.

On lap 17 Vettel pits from fourth place.

On lap 19 Barrichello retires in the pits.

At lap 21 Raikkonen led Hamilton by 5.9 seconds, followed by Massa (10.3s), Alonso (30.2s), Bourdais (43.7s), Kubica (44.9s), Vettel (47.1s) Heidfeld (48.7s), Glock (51.7s) and Rosberg (56.2s) in tenth place.

On lap 24 Raikkonen and Hamilton both make there second pitstops, along with Rosberg on a one-stopper. Glock on a one-stopper as well, pitted on lap 26, followed by Alonso and race leader Massa, rejoining in third.

On lap 28 Kovalainen passes Webber for ninth place.

Hamilton continued to close the gap on leader Raikkonen.

At lap 30 Raikkonen lead Hamilton by 1.8 seconds followed by Massa (6.3s), Bourdais (24.4s), Kubica (27.5s), Vettel (28.9s), Heidfeld (30.2s), Alonso (33.2s), Kovalainen (44.0s) and Webber (46.0s) in tenth.

On lap 31 Heidfeld pits from seventh place, followed by Bourdais from fourth the next lap, and Kubica with a slow stop and Vettel on lap 33, Vettel passing him in the pitlane.

At lap 35 Raikkonen lead Hamilton by 2.3 seconds, followed by Massa (5.4s), Alonso (38.3s), Bourdais (49.9s), Vettel (51.9s), Heidfeld (53.1s), Kubica (55.5s), Kovalainen (61.8s) and Glock (72.9s) in tenth place.

On lap 38 raindrops were reported to be falling in spots, as dark clouds loomed.

Hamilton continued to chase Raikkonen shaving time each lap, the gap closing to 0.9 seconds on lap 40.

More rain drops continued to fall.

With two laps to go Hamilton got side-by-side with Raikkonen into the chicane, running wide gives back the spot, Hamilton then taking the lead in the the hairpin - the rain making the track slick - then Hamilton sliding off, but at the next corner Raikkonen spins and hands the lead back. Two corners later Raikkonen spins and touches the inside wall - his race over.

Heidfeld and Alonso pit for intermediate wet tyres. Bourdais running third.

On the final lap all the drivers slowly making there way around, fighting out the positions, with Heidfeld and Alonso passing cars left and right.

Kovalainen stopping by the side of the track.

The order at the line was Hamilton over Massa, followed by Heidfeld, Alonso, Vettel, Kubica, Bourdais and Glock in eighth.