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Felipe wins F1 GP - Lewis wins F1 Championship

Interlagos, 2nd November - Felipe Massa won his home Grand Prix and Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro has won the 2008 Formula 1 Constructors' World Championship. And the other big winner on the day was (besides Lewis Hamilton of course) the sport of motor racing, as this final round of the season was thrilling from start to finish, thanks to a sudden shower at the start and another one in the closing laps. In fact for a few moments on the very last lap, Felipe Massa looked to have secured the Drivers' crown as Sebastian Vettel and Timo Glock relegated Lewis Hamilton to sixth. However, in the very last metres, the Englishman got past the Toyota to retake fifth place, enough to give the McLaren-Mercedes man the Drivers' crown, by one single point. For the record, Felipe won six races this year to Lewis' five. Kimi Raikkonen came home in third place.

The atmosphere on the grid at Interlagos was electric with seemingly every single spectator chanting "Felipe, Felipe!" as the Brazilian sat on pole position, with the fans on the startline nearer to the track than at any other venue. Jarno Trulli's Toyota lined up alongside, while Kimi was behind his Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro team-mate. In fourth spot, with the comfort of a seven point lead was Lewis Hamilton in his McLaren Mercedes. The threat of rain had gradually reduced during the day, even if it had not disappeared completely. Incredibly, with just a couple of minutes to go to the start of the formation lap, a five minute deluge hit the track and the organisers aborted the start, delaying it by ten minutes. The rain had stopped but the track was wet enough for the cars to switch to intermediate rain tyres.

The podium saw an emotional Felipe flanked by second placed Alonso and third placed Kimi.
As the two Ferrari got away in grid position order with Trulli between them, an accident further down the field brought out the safety car immediately on lap 1. The question now was would drivers profit from this to dive into pit lane to fit dry tyres, or would they stay out. One of the cars involved in the tangle was the Red Bull Renault of David Coulthard who therefore had a very rapid end to his long F1 career. Piquet was also out in the Renault. The order behind the SC was Massa, Trulli, Raikkonen, Hamilton, Vettel, (up from seventh,) Alonso fighting off Kovalainen, with Bourdais in the last of the points positions.

On lap 7, Kimi made his first but unsuccessful attempt to get past Trulli, as Rosberg was the first to pit for dry tyres. Button and Bourdais followed, then Glock and Sutil. Vettel was the first of the front runners to switch tyres and he was followed in by Alonso.

Massa came in next time round, as did Kovalainen and Heidfeld, the McLaren man having a slow stop. The order was now Trulli, Raikkonen, Hamilton, but this trio all came in next, with Kimi getting ahead of the Toyota at the stop. The order was now Massa, Vettel, Alonso, as Trulli had a big sideways moment coming down the hill. Fourth was Kimi followed by Fisichella, yet to stop, Hamilton, Glock, Bourdais, Trulli with Heidfeld completing the top ten. Hamilton passed Fisichella to move up to fifth on lap 18. Massa led Vettel by almost a second, while Kimi fourth was ten seconds behind his team-mate. Vettel then put in a fastest lap closing slightly on Felipe on lap 22. Next it was Massa do to a fastest lap. Vettel was running lighter than the leader and pitted on lap 26,promoting Alonso, Raikkonen and Hamilton to second, third and fourth, with Alonso four seconds behind the Brazilian. Glock came in from fifth on lap 36, pretty much the halfway point of the 71 lap race. Felipe refulled on lap 37, rejoining in fourth place, with everyone ahead of him still to pit, as Alonso now led for Renault, but only for one lap as the Spaniard came in next time round. He was followed in by Hamilton, who rejoined sixth. Kimi pitted from the lead next time round, which meant the order was now, Massa, Vettel, Alonso, Raikkonen, Hamilton, Webber (who had only stopped once) Kovalainen, Glock, Trulli and Heidfeld rounding off the top ten. With 20 laps to go, Vettel came in from second to make his final stop, rejoining fifth, so that Massa now led Alonso by almost ten seconds, with Kimi a further 7.4 behind in third. Hamilton was 6 down on the Finn, with Vettel 2.9 behind the McLaren in fifth spot. With eleven laps to go, Kimi had closed to within 2.3 of second placed Alonso. On lap 61, the gap came down to 1.7. It was 1.2 on lap 62.

And at this point, the forecast predicted more rain in the final laps and indeed with six laps to go the rain began. Kimi came in for intermediates with 5 laps to go, followed by Hamilton and Vettel. Then Massa came in, stationary for just 5.5 seconds as he too took on intermediate rain tyres. The order was now Massa, Alonso, Raikkonen, Glock Hamilton, with Vettel only 1.2 behind the Englishman. Would the McLaren driver be passed by the Toro Rosso, which would hand Felipe the title if he won the race? There were only three laps to go and Vettel had closed the gap to 0.8. Then the unbelievable happened, as Glock passed Vettel with both men getting past Hamilton as he ran wide. For a few moments it seemed Felipe would achieve his dream. But Glock was still on dry tyres and in difficulty, so that first Vettel and then Hamilton went past him.

The podium saw an emotional Felipe flanked by second placed Alonso and third placed Kimi. The other points went to Vettel, Hamilton, Glock, Kovalainen and Trulli.

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