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GP Week : Issue 140
THE Indian Grand Prix may have been free of Safety Cars, but there was a certain amount of carnage on the first lap. Going into Turn 1, Williams drivers Rubens Barrichello and Pastor Maldonado made slight contact, which sent the Brazilian spinning across the track, picking up the Sauber of Kamui Kobayashi in the process. Kobayashi returned to the track without due care and attention, and crashed into the Virgin of Timo Glock. Kobayashi retired from the race with his car stopped out on track, while Glock limped back to the pits for a new front wing before retiring on lap 3 with damaged suspension. Maldonado survived the crash largely unscathed, while Barrichello joined Glock in pitting for a new front wing before eventually crossing the line in P15, behind Heikki Kovalainen. Despite his lowly finish, the Brazilian had a better afternoon than his teammate; Maldonado retired on lap 14 with apparent gearbox failure. As drivers moved to avoid the crashing cars more chaos ensued, with Narain Karthikeyan rear- ending Jarno Trulli at Turn 3. Trulli span off track, and returned to the pits for brief repairs. The Lotus was damaged in the incident, and it was all the Italian driver could do to take the car slowly home in last place. First lap chaos IT all started so well for Felipe Massa. The Brazilian driver was top of the timesheets on Friday afternoon, and looked set for a good weekend in India. But during Q3 on Saturday afternoon, he snapped his suspension strut on the high kerb at the inside of Turn 8, hitting the wall and damaging his front wing in the process. The Ferrari driver was vocal about his desires to have the kerbs re-profiled, saying on Saturday afternoon that they were dangerous, but an FIA inspection found no cause for concern. “For me, it’s a high-speed corner, and as something happened then this ‘sausage’ is a little bit too high,” Massa said. “Although it will not change anything for tomorrow, for next year [race director Charlie Whiting] can do a better job with these kind of kerbs.” On lap 34 of the race, Massa’s day came to an end when he again rode over a high kerb, snapping a pushrod in the process. The Ferrari driver was not the only man to have problems with the kerbs this weekend; Sauber driver Kamui Kobayashi went airborne in practice when he hit one of the kerbs too hard. But despite Massa’s claims of danger, he was the only man to damage his car on the kerbs. Twice. While Massa had persistent trouble with the kerbs, other drivers loved them. McLaren driver Lewis Hamilton was the most enthusiastic. “I think they’re the best kerbs we’ve had,” he said. “As for the orange parts they are a lot shallower, not as high or steep as at some of the other circuits. “ They’ve done a great job with them. You can ride the rest of the kerb and they’re quite wide. Normally, you can lose a bit of time on them, but I think they’re great.” Massa snaps suspension on the kerbs. Twice. 30