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GP Week : Issue 36
Top five F1 drivers of 2008 #1 – Felipe Massa – Ferrari WHAT, no Lewis Hamilton in the coveted number 1 position? The two drivers were evenly matched over the season, and the fact that the battling duo were separated by just one point at the season’s conclusion is proof in itself that this was a close-run thing. Massa, however, gets the GPWeek nod by the slightest of margins over the man who eventually pipped him to the title. The development of Felipe Massa in 2008 has been astounding. Roundly criticised in the opening races of the year, Massa rarely gave the impression that he had the talent or the commitment to put together a championship challenge. That he did, in spite of reliability woes and severe misfortune, showed the measure of the man and displayed to the world just how much he had matured. If one was to take out his cruel engine failure in Hungary, the pit-stop cock- 38 up in Singapore and his lack of fuel at his first stop in Canada, he might well have sealed the championship long before Brazil. In a season where both championship rivals made mistakes, Massa made fewer, scored more wins and had the worse luck. That bad luck played its final hand on the last corner of the Brazilian Grand Prix where his dreams of a World Championship were taken from him. While either driver would have been a deserved champion, it is Felipe Massa who, in soundly drubbing his reigning World Champion team-mate, in soaking up the pressure from the media and his team, who in transforming himself into a true team-leader, and who, in proving everybody wrong about himself and his abilities, is our pick for the F1 driver of 2008.