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GP Week : Issue 35
>>F1brazil and Hamilton. A mistake form Trulli at the start of the 13th lap gave Hamilton sixth, and five laps later the McLaren driver powered past Fisichella at the same spot. Incredibly, Vettel was catching Massa at the front, while Timo Glock had worked his way up into sight of Hamilton’s rear wing. With Vettel on a lighter strategy, he pitted about 10 laps earlier than the main competitors, who started to take their first real stops on lap 39 when Massa took on fuel and tyres. Two laps later and Alonso and Hamilton stooped, with Kovalainen making his duck in on lap 44. The order, then, saw Massa leading Vettel, Alonso, Raikkonen and Hamilton. Vettel had to stop again and made his next visit to the pits on lap 52, emerging in fifth and in hot pursuit of Hamilton. Raikkonen was catching Alonso, gunning for a 1-2 to seal the constructors’ championship for Ferrari. Then ... bedlam. The heavens opened and between lap 65 and 68 the entire field came in for full wet or intermediate tyres. The entire grid that is, except for the Toyotas who both stayed out in the hope of gaining track position and some lucky points. When the stops played out Hamilton was fifth, but with backmarkers proving tough to pass. Vettel sneaked up the inside of the Briton and the championship was Massa’s for the taking. The Brazilian had driven the faultless race and duly crossed the line after 71 laps to record a famous home victory ahead of Alonso and Raikkonen. But just as his family started to celebrate, Vettel and Hamilton sneaked past the slick- shod Glock, handing Vettel fourth and Hamilton fifth. The championship was Hamilton’s. As Massa stood atop the podium and beat his chest to his adoring fans, biting his lip to stem the tears from flowing as his national anthem played, you couldn’t help but feel completely gutted for him. He’d done everything right and could walk away with his head held rightfully high. Returning to the scene of his lost rookie championship in 2007, fate had looked certain to once again tear success from Lewis Hamilton’s grasp. But for once, luck was on his side. It’s on days like this that one almost wishes both drivers could have won. They both deserved to. 27