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F1 Race Review: European GP 2008

As if one processional street course wasn’t enough, F1 bosses have added two to the 2008 calendar. Surely, they had Fernando Alonso and his Spanish fans in mind when Valencia was proposed for inclusion. Sadly, when the inaugural race materialized, the local hero and former double world champion was merely driving for a midfield team! This Sunday belonged to Massa; Hamilton and Kubica followed in second and third.

With 24 turns along a 5.44 Kilometer track, one really cannot expect quick laps. With each lap hovering between 1:35 to 1:40, this is now the second longest race of this year. Making it worse is the dearth of overtaking opportunities. No wonder, this Sunday’s race was processional for the first three places. Well, I agree street races are popular with locals, but still, this is not a reason enough to go against overtaking excitement.

As with the Monaco, pole positions here seemed to play the bigger role. Massa albeit with a slightly less fuel load took the pole. Vettel with a Ferrari engine was the surprise package. On Sunday, Massa made a great start and built up a gap, leaving Hamilton with almost no chance. Kimi’s start was poor for a champion, with him not being able to hold up against fellow finn Heikki and dropped to fifth and pulled along till he retired.

For Ferrari, if the embarrassment of an engine blow up at the previous Hungaroring race wasn’t enough, pit lane drama at this race was worse. Massa was let out of his stop just as Sutil passed by, thus leading to a jam at pit exit and a fine for Massa for dangerous driving. Kimi eager to gain on Heikki made a sudden start and ran over a mechanic. To cap it all, within a few laps after that, Kimi’s engine blew up leaving behind a thick cloud.

With two thirds of the season through, Lewis Hamilton improved his lead in the drivers table with 70 points. Massa revives title hopes with his 10 point haul at Valencia bringing his total to 64. Kimi and Kubica follow with 57 and 55 points. If Kimi doesn’t really pull up his socks, his title chances don’t seem too bright. For the Constructors Championship, Ferrari lead with 121 and McLaren inch closer to their rivals with 113. So long until Spa!
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