A Pointless Night For Ferrari

Felipe Massa thirteenth and Kimi Raikkonen retired, because of an accident. For the first time this season, Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro failed to score a single point in a Grand Prix. A Safety Car period early on did nothing to help the situation and a mistake at Felipe's pit stop effectively ended any chance he had of a good result having started from pole position. His result was further compromised by a drive through penalty and then a puncture.

The surprise winner was Fernando Alonso in the Renault, with Nico Rosberg taking a second place for Williams and Lewis Hamilton third for McLaren-Mercedes. This results makes the championship situation much tougher with just three races remaining as McLaren-Mercedes moves ahead of the Scuderia to lead the Constructors' by a single point, while Hamilton's lead over Felipe in the Drivers' classification goes from one point to seven.

When the lights went out the front of the grid maintained position, with Felipe leading Hamilton and Kimi, followed by Kubica, Vettel and Glock these last two moving up a place at the expense of Kovalainen who had banged wheels with Kubica. Felipe and Hamilton were separated by just over a second, while Kimi was trailing by a further 4.4 on lap 3. In the early stages the best battle was for ninth place as Rosberg was desperately trying to pass Trulli, the Finn finally getting the Italian on lap 6. On lap 7 the cameras showed Felipe running over a piece of debris but it did not seem to have any effect.

On lap 10 of 61, the order was Massa, Hamilton, Raikkonen, now upping his pace and closing on second place, Kubica, Vettel, Glock, Kovalainen, Heidfeld, Rosberg, Nakajima completing the top ten, followed by Alonso, up from fifteenth, Trulli, Webber, Button, Coulthard, Bourdais, Barrichello, Piquet, Sutil and Fisichella last. Kimi had picked up the pace and was now 3.2 behind Hamilton, while Felipe's lead over the McLaren man was 3.4 seconds.

Lap 12 saw Alonso the first man to pit, which would be a key to the final outcome and then on lap 15, Piquet crashed his Renault heavily into the wall bringing out the Safety Car. Barrichello had pitted along with Rosberg at this time but the Honda driver then stopped for no apparent reason out on track. Kubica, Webber and Coulthard also stopped, all before the pit lane was officially open. When the pit lane opened Massa and Raikkonen came in together for a double stop, but it went wrong as the Brazilian was released by the team while the fuel line was still attached to his car and he had to stop at the end of pit lane. Raikkonen came in right behind him and had a normal stop, but obviously lost time having to wait his turn. After what seemed like an eternity, the mechanics finally managed to remove the fuel line from Felipe's car and he continued out on track, not losing a lap but running at the back.

The order on lap 18, still behind the SC was now Rosberg, Trulli, Fisichella, Kubica, Alonso, Webber, Bourdais, Coulthard, Hamilton and Vettel completing the top ten. Kimi and Felipe were 17th and 18th. On lap 19, the SC came in and the race was on again. However, there was much confusion as Race Control was expected to impose penalties on those drivers who stopped before the pit lane had been officially opened. Massa would also be penalised with a drive-through for "dangerous release from pit lane."

On lap 27, Kubica came in for a 10 second stop go penalty. One lap later it was Rosberg's turn to do the same thing, dropping him from the lead to fourth, promoting Trulli to leader ahead of Fisichella, followed by Alonso, Coulthard and Hamilton. Fisichella finally refuelled on lap 29. Mark Webber retired in the garage on this lap. Kimi and Felipe were twelfth and fifteenth at this point.

So at the halfway point in this extraordinary race, the order was Trulli, Alonso, Rosberg, Coulthard, Hamilton, Glock, Vettel, Heidfeld, Nakajima, Button, Kovalainen, Raikkonen, Sutil, Bourdais, Kubica, Fisichella and Massa seventeenth and last. Alonso then moved into the lead as Trulli pitted and Kimi was up to tenth. An exciting battle was brewing in the fight for third place, as Coulthard was being closed down by Hamilton.

Rosberg came in from second for his final stop on lap 40, dropping to seventh, and one lap later, race leader Alonso made his final refuelling, coming out just ahead of the battle between Coulthard and Hamilton. The slight loss of momentum allowed the McLaren driver to get ahead of the Red Bull. These two men then came down pit lane together on lap 42, with the McLaren staying out ahead, as the Scotsman tried to leave his pit before the refuelling line had been removed. Kimi was now up to eighth and fourth a lap later, but the Finn had yet to make a final pit stop.

A second safety car period was prompted by Sutil hitting the wall and when it was over, for the final sprint to the flag, Kimi had got himself up to fifth place, while out in front, Alonso had a healthy lead over Rosberg who was being chased down by third placed Hamilton. Felipe was fourteenth. Then with just three laps remaining, further bad news as Kimi clipped the wall, damaging the right front corner of the car to retire.   

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