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GP Week : Issue 22
>>F1HUNGARY with just three laps left to run. The Brazilian’s bad luck however handed F a career first F1 win to Heikki Kovalainen, who had driven a sensible and lonely race to pick up the pieces and the trophy. He was joined on the podium by Timo Glock, who recorded his first F1 rostrum visit for Toyota, with Kimi Raikkonen recovering from a disappointing qualifying to finish third. Massa’s domination had begun at the start. Sitting third on the grid, he got a fantastic launch when the lights went out, and in a ballsy move held his nerve around the outside of pole-sitter Lewis Hamilton at the first corner. From there, the Ferrari driver drove an imperious race and was never troubled for the lead. His lap times were consistently quick, and most importantly were suitably faster than those of the chasing Hamilton, and the Brazilian was able to build up an easy gap to the Brit. Kovalainen had started the race in second but, along with McLaren team- mate Hamilton had lost a place at the start to sit third. The man with the most to smile about, other than Massa, was Glock who had gained a place from fifth to sit fourth. Massa took his first stop on the 19th lap and emerged ahead of the battle for seventh between Fernando Alonso and Kimi Raikkonen. Hamilton was in ELIPE Massa was robbed of a deserved victory at the 2008 Hungarian Grand Prix when cruel misfortune saw his engine expire one lap later and he exited behind that same battle. One lap later Glock was in, but a problem with the fuel rig cost him time and dropped him back by about four seconds. Kovalainen, Alonso and Raikkonen came in, and when they exited the order was maintained. Massa led Hamilton, Kovalainen, Alonso and Raikkonen with Piquet seventh and Trulli eighth. Lap 41 however saw the first of two pivotal moments. Hamilton had flat spotted his tyres early on in his second stint, but picked up a cut on the sidewall of his left front and on lap 41 the puncture resulted in a sudden loss of air. As his car struggled for grip and his beaten-up tyre bounced along, Hamilton lost position after position, before pitting at the end of the lap for fuel that would take him to the race end, and a set of super-soft tyres. Emerging down in tenth it seemed his afternoon was over, but all ahead of him still needed to make a final stop. Massa was the first of his rivals to do so on lap 45 for fuel and super-softs and emerged in third behind Glock who pitted next time round. Kovalainen followed suit one lap later. Alonso pitted on lap 51 and Raikkonen made his final pit call on the following lap… and emerged ahead of the Spaniard after a far shorter dose of fuel. Ferrari’s strategy was starting to pay off, as the Finn was now in fourth and started cutting into Glock by over a second a lap. Hamilton found himself sixth after the stops had played out, ahead of Piquet and Trulli but behind his old rival Alonso. With just 10 laps to go, the only risk of change seemed to be a potential Raikkonen podium at Glock’s expense. And then, on lap 68, the man who had led almost every lap of the afternoon and who had put in a simply superb performance, pulled to the dirty side of the start straight as smoke billowed from the back of his Ferrari. Half dumbstruck, it took Massa a while to emerge from the cockpit, a reaction born as much of incomprehension as disappointment. Kovalainen blasted past the stricken scarlet car, and held on for the final three laps to take his first F1 win. With Ferrari clearly concerned about the fragility of their engines, Raikkonen backed off, and Glock, who had held off the determined advances of the reigning world champion for the previous five tours, crossed the line in second. Raikkonen took third ahead of Alonso, with Lewis Hamilton a fortuitous fifth. Piquet came home sixth for another points finish, with Trulli seventh and Robert Kubica eighth. After such a crazy race, it seems only fitting that the championship order should reflect such confusion. Despite wearing out his tyres and throwing away what, with Massa’s retirement, would have been a victory, Lewis Hamilton has increased his championship lead from four points over Felipe Massa, to five points over Kimi Raikkonen. The Brazilian now sits third, three points back from his Ferrari team-mate. 25