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GP Week : Issue 35
Championship. He had been perfect. Peerless. And for the briefest of moments it was enough. But Lady luck can be a cruel mistress. F Never before had a Formula 1 World Championship been decided at the last corner on the last lap of the last race of the season, but when Timo Glock’s slick- shod Toyota scrambled for grip on the sodden Interlagos circuit within virtual sight of the flag, allowing Lewis Hamilton into the fifth position he needed to take the F1 crown, history was made. It is the Briton who will be recorded as the 30th World Champion in Formula 1, and at 23 years of age, the youngest in history. Massa had gone into the Brazilian Grand Prix knowing that he had to win to be in with a realistic shot at the title. With Hamilton needing only a fifth place finish to take the crown, McLaren had already admitted they would be putting the Briton on a conservative strategy, and when Hamilton could only muster fourth position in qualifying McLaren’s tactics seemed clear. Massa, meanwhile, had stormed to pole by a staggering margin from the shock of qualifying – Jarno Trulli. With Raikkonen lining up third alongside Hamilton on the second row of the grid, the first corner was going to be all-important. But with a matter of minutes to go before the off, a heavy rainstorm hit the top half of the circuit and the start was delayed by 10 minutes. With intermediate tyres strapped onto almost the entire field other than a few brave souls who started on dry rubber, the first lap was frantic. Massa maintained first place from Trulli, Raikkonen and Hamilton, but the Briton’s rear gunner Heikki Kovalainen lost out in a battle of wills to both Sebastian Vettel and Fernando Alonso before the cars had made it around half a lap. Behind them, David Coulthard’s final Grand Prix had been ended by a nudge from Rosberg at the ‘Senna S’while Piquet had fallen off at Turn 3, meaning the early intervention of the Safety Car. We were racing again on Lap 5 and three laps later the first drivers started pitting for dry tyres. It was clearly the right move and by lap 13 the whole grid was back on dry rubber. The pit-stops had shaken the order, with Massa now leading Vettel, Alonso, Raikkonen, Fisichella, Trulli 26 ELIPE MASSA drove the perfect race and did everything he’d needed to in order to take his first Formula 1 World