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GP Week : Issue 35
Team-By-Team: Brazilian Gran Ferrari arrived in Brazil knowing that a win was essential for their man Massa if he was to have any chance of taking the World Championship. At a track on which the team has claimed victory for the past two seasons, their pedigree nor speed was ever in doubt. Massa was faultless all weekend. His pole position was one of the most impressive of his career to date and his A tough one for the beemer boys. After a season of such promise, it was surprising to see BMW so off the pace in Brazil, and ultimately the gambles they were forced to make through their lack of out and out pace cost them dear. Heidfeld was clearly happier with his car than Kubica, who struggled again in qualifying to line up 13th. Grip was once again an issue. Another strong weekend from Renault at the end of what has been an incredible second half of the season. The cars were quick from the outset, with Alonso topping Friday’s practice times and repeating the feat on Saturday morning. Qualifying was slightly tougher as Piquet narrowly missed the cut for Q3 and Alonso lined up sixth. The race was a huge let down for Piquet Oh dear. Oh dear indeed. Not what one would term as the greatest of final races for Williams, Brazil turned into something of a nightmare. Practice had looked promising, with both Nakajima and Rosberg sitting within the top 10 on Friday afternoon. It was qualifying that did them in. Neither made it out of Q1, with Rosberg only slower than the Force Indias. Ouch. Red Bull were permitted to run two different liveries in Brazil, as David Coulthard prepared to wave a sad farewell to Formula 1 racing with a special design to promote the Wings For Life charity of which he is an ambassador. The Scot started off fairly slowly but had worked himself onto the outskirts of the top 10 by the end of practice. Webber was inside the top 10 and hoping for good results. 32 race drive on Sunday could not have been better. That he was beaten to the title may make him stronger still following a season in which he has matured hugely. Raikkonen had a pretty measured race, and may have taken second had the rain not fallen at the close of play. Still, the outgoing world champ did enough to beat Kubica to third in the championship and seal Ferrari’s constructors’world title. Come the race and Kubica bizarrely started his formation lap on dry tyres, before pitting to change onto inters and then back onto dries. That ruined his race and any chance he might have had of hanging onto third in the championship. He came home 11th, with Heidfeld 10th. A disappointing end to a good season, but much learning has been done for 2009. who exited proceedings at Turn 3, but for Alonso it was another one of those days when he just shone. Second position was richly deserved and signed off the most incredible turnaround in performance of any team on the F1 grid in 2008. After the strong end to the year there is every reason to think that Alonso will be staying in 2009, and in a team hungry to get back to championship winning ways. Starting 18th he nerfed Coulthard out at the start but rose well to finish a happy 12th. Nakajima also picked up damage and had to settle for 17th, one place down from where he had started. So an end to an up and down season for Williams, who will be hoping for a marked improvement from car and drivers in 2009. Neither made it out of Q2 and both knew the race would be something of an uphill battle. That battle became insurmountable for DC at the start when he was tagged out by Rosberg. Webber hated the handling of his car and finished ninth having started 12th. Not a bad result but a frustrating end to the season for Webber, and a gutting end to the career for DC.