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European GP 2008

AUGUST 24, 2008

Race Notes - Massa dominates European GP

Felipe Massa, European GP 2008
© The Cahier Archive

Felipe Massa won the inaugural European Grand Prix, at Valencia, Spain, in commanding fashion for Ferrari. Lewis Hamilton finished second, 5.6 seconds behind in his McLaren-Mercedes, and Robert Kubica in his BMW Sauber finishing third, 37.3 seconds behind.

The Brazilian took his fourth victory of the season - the ninth of his career - and jumps past his team mate into second place in the Drivers World Champion, only six points behind Hamilton. The battle in the Constructors Championship has also tightened with Ferrari leading McLaren-Mercedes by eight points.

Heikki Kovalainen in the second McLaren-Mercedes finished fourth, followed by Jarno Trulli in the Toyota in fifth, Sebastian Vettel in the Toro Rosso-Ferrari in sixth, Timo Glock in the second Toyota in seventh and Nico Rosberg in the Williams-Toyota in the final points paying position.

Before the start, Rubens Barrichello and Adrian Sutil line up from the pitlane, Nico Rosberg the only runner to start on the softer tyres.

At the start Massa leads into the first corner folloewed by Hamilton and Kubica, Kovalainen passing Raikkonen for fourth, while further back David Coulthard spins but continues, while Kazuki Nakajima hits the rear of Fernando Alonso taking off the Spanish driver's rear wing - the crew going to work to fix the Renault but the local hero is eventually forced to retire.

On lap 8 Coulthard tries to pass Sutil for 14th place, makes contact and spins, but continues.

On lap 9 Kubica has a slow lap complaining of a problem with the car - the team reporting to him that he has some debris that they will remove on the first stop.

In the early laps the field stretched out, and at lap 10 Massa leads Hamilton by 3.6 seconds, followed by Kubica (12.0s), Kovalainen (13.0s), Railkkonen (13.6s), Vettel (15.6s), Trulli (16.8s), Rosberg (23.0s), Heidfeld (26.6s) and Glock (29.1s) in tenth place.

Massa continues to edge out his lead on Hamilton to 4.8 seconds before the first round of stops.

On lap 15 Massa is the first of the leaders to pit, rejoining in fourth ahead of his team mate Raikkonen, while Hamilton out in the lead sets the fastest lap.

On lap 16 Hamilton pits from the lead, coming out behind Raikkonen, while Vettel also pits from sixth place. Kubica takes over the lead for one lap, and pits along with Raikkonen and Bourdais, Kovalainen taking over the lead with Massa 2.7 seconds behind.

On lap 19 Trulli pits from fourth, followed by Kovalainen and Rosberg on the next lap, and Heidfeld from fifth place on lap 22.

At lap 23 Massa continues to lead Hamilton by 4.4 seconds, followed by Kubica (17.8s), Kovalainen (21.0s), Glock (25.7s) having yet to stop, Raikkonen (29.5s), Trulli (31.6s), Vettel (33.0s), Rosberg (36.3s) and Webber (38.9s) in tenth place.

On lap 28 Webber and Fisichella both pit, Webber overshooting his pit box but the crew recovers and handles the stop, followed by Button on the next lap, and Glock from fifth place on a one-stop strategy, rejoining in ninth.

At lap 31 Massa continued to stretch his lead on Hamilton to 8.4 seconds, followed by Kubica (25.2s), Kovalainen (30.1s), Raikkonen (36.1s), Trulli (38.8s), Vettel (41.7s), Rosberg (45.9s), Glock (56.8s) and Heidfeld (57.9s) in tenth place.

On lap 33 Coulthard is the first to make a second stop, followed by Piquet on the next lap - running a very long first stint - finally making his first stop.

Massa continued to stretch his lead on Hamilton from 8.9 seconds on lap 34, setting a number of fast laps, to 10.2 seconds on lap 36 - just before the second round of pitstops.

On lap 36 Massa is the first leader to make his second stop, rejoining in second place, but nearly coming together with Sutil in the pitlane. Bourdais also pitting on the same lap, followed by Rosberg on the next lap.

Race Control announcing that they are investigating Ferrari for releasing Massa from the pit box in an unsafe fashion.

On lap 38 Hamilton pits from the lead, rejoining in second place behind Massa. Vettel also pitting the same lap. Kubica pitting from third on the next lap, Trulli and Heidfeld on lap 41.

On lap 43 Sutil overshoots a corner, tries to avoid the barrier by turning left, but touches the barrier and breaks his right front suspension.

On lap 43 both Kovalainen and Raikkonen, fighting for fourth place, pit at the same time - Raikkonen's stop going wrong as he attempts to leave while the fuel hose was still attached, hitting his fuel man with his rear tyre, but eventually getting started again and rejoining in sixth place. The mechanic is alert, but taken away to the medical center.

On lap 46 Raikkonen's Ferrari engine blows on the main straight billowing smoke, perhaps having overheated with the long pitstop.

At lap 50, Massa is still ahead of Hamilton leading by 7.4 seconds, followed by Kubica (37.8s), Kovalainen (41.4s), Trulli (48.5s), Vettel (52.1s), Glock (63.9s), Rosberg (66.1s), Heidfeld (81.3s) and Bourdais (84.0s) in tenth place.

On lap 53 Nakajima passes Barrichello for 15th place.

The order remained the same to the line.