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F1 Race Review: Spanish GP 2008

Ferrari seemed to be on a roll after a 1-2 led by Massa in the last race at Bahrain. At Catalunya too, the Scuderia seemed unbeatable as they logged in their second 1-2 this season, this time led by ‘Iceman’ Kimi. Lewis, after having battled with lady luck in the past two races managed a podium finish this time. The best part of the weekend was that the six others that scored points behind Ferrari were all from different teams. Well, this is really something when you see 7 of 11 teams scoring points on a weekend!

The Qualifying on Saturday was where most of Scuderia’s effort paid off when they bagged a 1-3 pole with home driver Fernando Alonso sneaking up between the Ferraris in what many speculated to be a lightly fueled run. The proof that pole is paramount at Spain is the fact that all the last seven races there were won by pole sitters. At race start, Massa followed the slipstream of Kimi, then went on to the outside and comfortably kept Alonso at Bay. Meanwhile, Lewis got ahead with an intelligent move on Kubica.

Kimi was totally in command of the race throughout, even through the two safety car periods, the first was immediately after start in an incident involving Sutil & Vettel and the second when fellow Finn Heikki rammed his McLaren into a tyre wall off the high speed corner Turn 9 on lap 22 after a suspected rim failure deflated his front left tyre. After intense efforts by the FIA medical crew and stewards, Heikki emerged on a stretcher giving a thumbs up too all those watching. Later he was said to be was safe.

One of those lead cars whose pit strategy was affected was Nick Heidfeld who has forced to come in when the pit lane was still closed, and faced a 10-second stop-go penalty. He ultimately managed to finish ninth. Force India’s Giancarlo Fisichella managed a top 10 finish in what was a brave drive, his best moment being when he resisted Heidfeld’s BMW for nearly six laps. This leaves Force India and Super Aguri to be the only teams yet to score a point after four races this season.

Among the DNFs, Nico Rosberg and Fernando retired with Engine Failures. Poor old Alonso was running fifth when his RS28 went up in flames in front of a disappointed home crowd. The latter’s team mate Piquet Jr too retired after an incident with Bourdais who also retired due to the incident. Honda’s Barrichello and Aguri’s Davidson too retired, thus leaving only 13 cars making the finish after action packed 66 laps.

Kimi and Ferrari now have a confident lead in both championships. Kimi now leads with 29 points, 9 ahead of Lewis who is followed by Kubica and Massa all separated by 1 point each. In the constructors table, Ferrari stands tall with 47 as against BMW Sauber’s 35 and McLaren’s 34. The top three are way ahead of fourth placed Williams at 12. As it appears now, it looks like an interesting three way battle this season.
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