Massa leads Ferrari one-two after Hamilton and Alonso tangle

2008 Bahrain Grand Prix review

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Ferrari made it look easy in the Bahrain Grand Prix as Lewis Hamilton’s bid for victory self-destructed once again and the speed of the BMWs in qualifying was not matched by their race pace.

It left Felipe Massa to take a straightforward win from Kimi Raikkonen, the world champion unable to reproduce the form we saw in Malaysia.
The prospects of a three-way tussle for the lead vanished at the start as Hamilton struggled to get his McLaren off the line – team mate Heikki Kovalainen swerving to avoid him.

That handed the initiative to Kimi Raikkonen, who seized third from Kovalainen. It soon became second as it took only two laps for Raikkonen to find a way past Kubica.

Sebastian Vettel made it no further than lap four when contact with another car – he did not know which one – forced him out. Jenson Button and David Coulthard came limping around to the pits for new tyres after picking up punctures.

Hamilton hits Alonso

Hamilton spoiled his race by hitting Alonso
A third Briton came into the pits on the next lap – Hamilton – following a collision with Fernando Alonso that became an instant talking point. Having fallen to ninth, Hamilton was lining Alonso up for a pass between turns three and four when the McLaren hit the rear of the Renault, tearing off his front wing and take a chunk out of Alonso’s rear wing. (See video of the crash)

Hamilton had a new wing fitted but his car had clearly suffered other damage and he made up little ground over the rest of the race.

Massa assumed a four second lead over Raikkonen and although that changed a little as the pair swapped fastest lap times, it never really looked like become a serious battle for the lead. Contrary to expectations, Massa pitted later than Raikkonen, and appeared to have a few tenths of a second advantage over his team mate all race long.

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Processional race

Kubica fell to third ahead of Nick Heidfeld and Kovalainen, followed by Jarno Trulli, Nico Rosberg and Mark Webber. Depressingly, 56 laps later all that changed in the top eight was Webber moving past Rosberg, apart from some inconsequential shuffling of the pack during the pit stops.

Vettel retired early on
Nelson Piquet Jnr spun early on but recovered to over take Sebastien Bourdais on lap 11. Piquet’s gearbox wouldn’t last, however, forcing him out on lap 40, and meaning he will probably have to take a grid penalty at the next race.

The only other retirement was Button, who managed to collide with Coulthard as the pair tried to make up for lost time. Afterwards he criticised Coulthard for moving across on him in the braking zone. Button took avoiding action but ended up hitting the Red Bull.

Timo Glock got ahead of Alonso around the second pit stops and held the Renault driver back to claim ninth – but almost half a minute behind team mate Trulli.

Rubens Barrichello, 11th, was the last driver on the lead lap but Giancarlo Fisichella’s Force India team were pleased with his 12th ahead of the recovering Hamilton.

Kazuki Nakajima had a quit run to 14th ahead of Bourdais, followed by the Super Aguris of Anthony Davidson and Takuma Sato. Coulthard was 18th and Adrian Sutil a twice-lapped 19th.

Ferrari seize the initiative

Massa only had a five second advantage of Robert Kubica’s BMW at the end of the race but it looked like Ferrari could have stretched the gap quite easily had they chosen to.

Raikkonen has moved into the lead in the championship standings with Heidfeld taking second – and BMW nosing ahead by a point in the constructors’ table.

But with a three-week break until the next race it looks as though Ferrari have the initiative and BMW – not McLaren – are doing the chasing. Next stop Barcelona.

Rate the 2008 Bahrain Grand Prix

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Drivers’ championship standings

1. Kimi Raikkonen 19
2. Nick Heidfeld 16
3. Lewis Hamilton 14
4. Heikki Kovalainen 14
5. Robert Kubica 14
6. Felipe Massa 10
7. Jarno Trulli 8
8. Nico Rosberg 7
9. Fernando Alonso 6
10. Mark Webber 4
11. Kazuki Nakajima 3
12. Sebastien Bourdais 2

Constructors’ championship standings

1. BMW 30
2. Ferrari 29
3. McLaren 28
4. Williams 10
5. Toyota 8
6. Renault 6
7. Red Bull 4
8. Toro Rosso 2

Author information

Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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27 comments on “Massa leads Ferrari one-two after Hamilton and Alonso tangle”

  1. It seems that Massa handled perfectly the dusty, sandy track, without TC or engine braking…

  2. Yeah another stunning Massa victory from lights to flag without actually having to overtake anyone except blue-flagged backmarkers. It was Schumacher-esque: Ralf Schumacher-esque.

  3. What surprises me is the form displayed by Toyota. Much higher than expected! Trulli is being one of the drivers of the early season without doubt. Great qualifing runs like always and, this season, keeping the race neat without falling down on ranks. Glock needs to learn and improve his consistency and then he can give Trulli a needed run for the money.
     On the other side Williams keeps on disappoiting…
    Midfield Rank so far: Toyota, Red Bull, Williams, Renault, Honda, Toro Rosso and if you wish Force India/Fisichella 

    Meanwhile i leave a question to be answered next race: BMW is overtaking Mclaren?
    @ade: Actually Massa passed Kubica on the start. It can be considered an overtaking. It’s Massa first victory outside pole?

  4. I’m happy for Massa that finally he has opened his account. I also think this is his first win not starting from pole. However, the races are becoming very boring.

  5. All credit to Massa, he countered my prediction  and didn’t put a foot wrong.  I’ll still need more than one race to believe he’s mastered the 2008 F1 car, but still, it was a job well done.  As for Hamilton, he didn’t seem to be there all weekend really, did he?  Maybe that’s a result of seemingly having an inferior car or maybe his crash on Friday affected him more than he let on, I don’t know, but he’ll have to do better to win the championship.

  6. I guessed correctly the prediction of the other day. have i won something? ;)

    I think the race was pretty boring, and the only surprise was BMW. They did 3rd and 4th, and today it looked like if Mclaren and BMW had changed their roles.

  7. Oliver: Yes, his first win not from pole, and that’s very important in terms of self-esteem, even if, in fact, he was already leading before the first corner…

    Massa seems to completely dominate certain circuits (Turkey, Brazil, Bahrain), like no other driver of this generation does, even though I know it’s to early to say that…

    If he had the same pace every race, he would be a genius…

  8. Good race all in all, some nice overtaking throughout, loved seeing the field alot closer, will make for some gr8 racing this year.

  9. The Italian anthem is the perfect ending to a Grand Prix, so it’s good that it will be played often this year. Forza!

  10. Daniel, you are on the money about Toyota. While they are not climbing to the top like BMW, Trulli is showing consistency and has continued to be solid each week. Many teams have overshadowed them in the news, but any team improving is good news for me.

    Also, Williams is disappointing quite a bit, especialy for those of us who viewed them as the best of the rest behind the frontrunners at the end of preseason testing.

    And many of you have made a good point about some parts of the races being boring. I saw some good overtaking in the opener- on a track that many say is not good for passing- and since then i’ve noticed little exitement. I love seeing BMW making progress, but hopefully that will include some more overtaking along the way.

  11. Nico Savidge
    6th April 2008, 23:09

    Does anybody know why Hamilton was off to such a slow start? It didn’t look like wheelspin, and the engine sounded odd when they went to the onboard.

    And RE the Italian anthem – I love it. As a Ferrari fan, I can think of nothing better to hear on a Sunday!

  12. If only I could see Schumi moving his fingers while the Italian anthem starts to play… :)

  13. Now I am sure who is the best team but not so sure that MCL is the second best. BMW’s performance is surprisingly good and they may  score their first victory soon if the other top teams have a difficult weekend. Also Toyota is the good surprise of the year. On the other hand Renault is probably the 8th team out of 11 so a great disappointment on that side.

  14. I saw a comment on the live blog during the Malaysian GP which compared Lewis to Tim Henman.

    I’ve thought about it a lot since, and I have to wonder – for all the talk being of him being the Tiger Woods of F1, could he instead be the Tim Henman of F1?

    Plenty talent, but when the chips are down it just won’t happen for him. He made two crucial errors. Selecting the wrong engine map is pretty much inexcusable. Driving into Alonso wasn’t his greatest moment either.

    I have nothing against Lewis, I’m as neutral as you can get in F1, and I really do hope that he can come good in the coming races, but I think he’s now got to be under as much pressure as Massa was before this weekend.

  15. Nice to see with all the focus on the youngsters that the like of Trulli, Fisichella and Barrichello are quietly plugging away, getting the most of their cars that’s reasonably possible. Shame DC’s not been too!

    I though Massa would win – I couldn’t believe he’d have three bad races in a row. He’s no Fangio, but he ain’t *that* bad!

  16. the IT let me down big way and I missed out on most of the LiveBlog action :-( at least I had the big screen to watch on :-)

    One has to give it to Massa. Whatever Ferrari has been saying for past 2 weeks, there is no doubt Massa was under pressure even if the team supported him. He handled it pretty well and he outpaced Kimi by big margin on Saturday. As the race has shown, he was not fueled lighter than Kimi. Kimi was not happy about the car set up but still managed a solid 2nd.

    I think the pity for this race was that Kubica lost out early on. If he stayed ahead of Massa or at least managed to split Ferraris after start, we could have had interesting race. Once the Ferraris got away, the race was over.

    I was very surprised to see McLarens being outpaced by BMWs … Kovalainen did manage the fastest lap, but that was in situation when neither of the top 4 had any need to push their cars to limit.

    It does look though we will have 3 way battle for podiums this season …

  17. I’m not impressed with Massa’s race – we know that Kimi had major setup problems, and yet he kept Massa in his sights – even started closing the gap at one point. </br></br>Sure, he passed Kubica at the start, but Kubica himself admitted he didnt have the best of starts, so for Massa it was as good as starting from pole. He isn’t someone who can charge up the field (like Mika, Schumi, Kimi, or Alonso), and he isn’t someone who can race wheel-to-wheel either.</br>
    IMHO, he will NEVER be remembered for any epic on-track battles or brilliant racecraft — he’s simply a mediocre driver fortunate to be in one of the best cars on the grid.

  18. Nico Savidge  Does anybody know why Hamilton was off to such a slow start? It didn’t look like wheelspin, and the engine sounded odd when they went to the onboard.
    Hush, hush. I read this somewhere. Apparently some teams are using mny engine mappings for various stages of the race. One apparently has to hit the engine mapping for start, it stays on for about 1 minute(approx.), so drivers try to hit it as late as possible. Now, some cylinders of an engine work and some are dormant at the start. So power is controlled and thus the wheelspin, without TC. Guess somebody forgot to hit that button on time. :P My 2 cents…

  19. sChUmAcHeRtHeGrEaTeStEvEr
    7th April 2008, 11:00

    Someone mentioned that hamilton is becoming like tim henman, i wouldnt go that far but certainly the last 2 races havent been very good for him. I hope tho that the british press dont get on his back now. To be fair the mclaren isnt faster than the ferrari at the moment so its going to be hard for hamilton to beat them in a straight fight and i dont think the incident with alonso was really his fault. What id like to see him try and do is go lighter in qualifying try and snatch pole and then maybe if he gets a good start he can keep the ferraris behind, i dont see how else he will beat them while theyr still on the track.

    Good performance from massa never really looked like anyone else would win this one, would have liked to have seen kubica make a good start and them massa would have to try and get passed him and we could have seen how he handled the pressure this time. Raikkonen wasnt anywhere near him this weekend but he still bagged 8 points which is good for his championship points.

    About BMW i think theyr pretty close to maclaren definitley, what theyr doing tho is putting 1 driver on a lighter fuel load to get themselves into a better grid slot than what their race pace might allow for and just trying to minimize how far back they go and its working 2 second  places and a third prove that.

  20. Yes, Massa won and he did it in style, but as already mentioned before, this is about the only thing he can do, drive fast while he’s in the lead. He can’t fight for places when the chips are down.

  21. Massa’s secret is up……..examine the photo above, he’s got a road map of the circuit in his car!

  22. MIchael K: "Yes, Massa won and he did it in style, but as already mentioned before, this is about the only thing he can do, drive fast while he’s in the lead. He can’t fight for places when the chips are down."

    Well, but that is all he should ensure then. If he wins enough races and finishes others scoring enough points, who knows, he may become a champion.

  23. Anyone care to guess what might have been if Massa had been penalised for overtaking and setting 2nd fastest time under yellow flags in the early quali sessions? Looks like having red paint on the car blinded the stewards again, otherwise he’d have had a grid penalty which would have at least made the race more interesting.

  24. Number38, you’re right!! The guy does have a map of the circuit ion the car!!! LOL!!!

  25. Drivers all typically have a circuit map with official corner numbers somewhere in their cockpit, for the reason that they can talk to their engineers about corners and know they are both referring to the same one.

    I must admit, I had a good laugh the first time I saw them, imagining a driver thundering down the main straight and checking a map to see where the had to turn!

  26. Hey,
    Thanks so much for this post! I’m so glad that you reviewed this Ferrari! It is so interesting to read about the outcome of the race. I think that having a winner is a really great way to promote your business’ cars!

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