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Formula 1 2008


Heikki Kovalainen wins in Hungary

Budapest, 3rd August - Heikki Kovalainen first, Timo Glock second and Kimi Raikkonen on the podium in third place - Felipe Massa seventeenth. These official results do not tell the heartbreaking story of the race victory that eluded Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro's Brazilian driver. From third place on the grid, he went straight into a lead he never relinquished apart from during the two runs of pit stops, but then with only three laps to go to the chequered flag, a large puff of smoke from the back of his F2008 saw him park alongside pit wall to retire. The race was won by Heikki Kovalainen, taking his maiden F1 victory. The result means Ferrari retains its lead in the Constructors' Championship, eleven points clear of McLaren-Mercedes who have now moved ahead of BMW-Sauber. Lewis Hamilton heads the Drivers' classification on 62 points; five points clear of Kimi with Felipe third, three points adrift of his team-mate.

The heatwave continued on race day, with the air temperature passing the thirty mark as the cars lined up on the grid, with Massa in third place behind pole man Hamilton and Raikkonen sixth. As the lights went out, Felipe made a blinding start, getting ahead of Kovalainen and pulling alongside Hamilton's McLaren going into Turn 1 to emerge as leader, driving around the outside of the Englishman. Glock was up from fifth to fourth in the Toyota and Kimi dropped a place to be seventh at the end of the opening lap. With four laps completed the order was Massa, Hamilton, Kovalainen, Glock, Kubica, Alonso, Raikkonen, Webber, Trulli, Piquet, Coulthard, Heidfeld, Button, Barrichello, Vettel, Bourdais, Rosberg, Nakajima, Fisichella and Sutil twentieth and last. Massa's lead over his pursuers was 1.5 seconds, while Raikkonen was 11.9" behind his Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro team mate.

Still in seventh, Kimi was lapping quicker than sixth placed Alonso in the Renault and on lap 9 of 70, the Finn had closed to within 0.7 of the Spaniard, as Felipe extended his lead to 2.2. Kimi's pursuit was relentless and by lap 17, he was only 0.5 behind Alonso. Lap 18 saw Felipe lead the first run of pit stops, stationary for 8.2 seconds and taking on a second set of the Prime tyre. Kubica in the BMW and Webber in the Red Bull also came in on the same lap, while Hamilton came in one lap later (9.4s.) Glock brought the Toyota in from fourth, followed by Kovalainen in the McLaren on lap 21.

Alonso and Raikkonen came in together on lap 22 and left nose to tail in the same order. By this point, Felipe was back in the lead, 3.1s ahead of Hamilton, with Piquet yet to stop in third place, until the Renault man pitted on lap 25. This left the order much as it had been since the early stages, with Kovalainen third, ahead of Glock, Coulthard, who had still not pitted, Alonso and Raikkonen back in seventh, 1.1 behind the Renault. Coulthard finally came in on lap 29, having been the only driver to start on the Option tyre. Unusually, three cars, Bourdais' Toro Rosso, Barrichello's Honda and Nakajima's Williams all suffered minor fires at their pit stops but were able to continue. Lap 38 saw Felipe extend his lead to 4.3s, while in sixth place, Kimi was 1.4 behind Alonso. Two laps later the Brazilian had 5 seconds in hand over the Englishman who suddenly slowed with a left front puncture. He pitted and rejoined ninth, which meant Felipe now led second placed Kovalainen by almost 24 seconds, with Glock in the final podium position a further 4 seconds behind. This promoted Alonso and Kimi to fourth and fifth. Felipe made his final pit stop on lap 44, stopping for 7.5 seconds and fitting the Option tyre, rejoining in second place.

Hamilton suffered a deflated front left tyre on the 41st lap and dropped back to 10th place
When Kovalainen made his final refuelling stop on lap 48, Felipe was back in the lead, heading Alonso and Raikkonen who had only stopped once so far, by 13 seconds. Kovalainen was fourth, followed by Glock, Piquet, Trulli, Kubica, Hamilton with Coulthard completing the top ten. Alonso pitted on lap 50, which promoted Kimi to second for one lap until he made his final stop next time round. With the front runners having completed their stops, this meant Felipe still led, with Kovalainen 15.4 seconds adrift with eighteen laps remaining. In the closing stages, Felipe sensibly slowed the pace so that Kovalainen was only 9.6 behind with eight laps remaining, as Kimi began setting some race fastest laps in fourth place, finally ahead of Alonso.

Then, with three laps to go disaster struck, as Felipe's Ferrari emitted a large cloud of smoke and he came to a complete stop alongside the pit wall on the start-finish line to retire. This meant that at the flag after seventy laps, Kimi finished third, behind Kovalainen taking his first ever F1 win and Glock recording his first ever F1 podium. The remaining points positions were filled by Alonso, Hamilton, Piquet, Trulli and Kubica.


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