2008 Turkish Grand Prix

By: Roger Munns

Felipe Massa won his third Turkish Grand Prix last Sunday May 11 at Istanbul Park.

The Ferrari team stuck to a conventional two-pit-stop strategy that left Massa free to set a steady pace for the duration of the race.

In a post race interview Massa said, "That was just fantastic. It was a very difficult race, with Lewis pushing me hard, but I thought he was light on fuel at the start. Then when he pitted ahead of me, my team told me straight away he was on three stops. That was a help because he was very strong and I couldn't hold him. I knew I had a chance because three stops is optimistic, so it was difficult, but we made it."

McLaren driver Lewis Hamilton did indeed start the race low on fuel. Hamilton's team used a slightly different strategy and began the race light on fuel in effort to enable Hamilton's car to run lighter and faster in effort to pass Massa.

It became a race for first place when Hamilton was able to overtake Massa for 16 laps in the middle of the race. Hamilton required a third pit stop to take on more fuel before the end of the race. This miniscule flaw in strategy allowed Massa to regain his lead on Hamilton and finish the race as the victor.

Although he wasn't the first place winner, Hamilton was very pleased with his second-place finish.

Hamilton said, "I am so thrilled with the result and I think this is the best race ever for me. I really think we have closed the gap to Ferrari."

He went on to say, "I am so excited about the next race in Monaco and just can't wait."

Hamilton's love of Formula One racing is evident in his additional statements: "It doesn't particularly matter whether you win or not. It's whether you drive 100 percent; it's whether you extract the most out of the car. It is one of those [races] where you end the race and you ask yourself and the team: 'could we have done a better job?' And I strongly feel we couldn't."

The team expected a fifth place finish due to tyre problems and a three-stop strategy, so second was a pleasant victory in itself.

Kimi Raikkonen also had quite a battle with Hamilton in attempt to retain his second-place position.

Raikkonen was hopeful during the final stint as he slowly began to gain ground on Hamilton.

Ultimately, Hamilton was able to maintain a good enough lead to retain second-place as his own.

Raikkonen said his performance suffered due to a dent to his car's front wing during the first-lap collision with Heikki Kovalainen.

The Ferrari team chose not to change the damaged wing because it would have taken too much time and potentially lost his position.

In a post-race interview Raikkonen said, "We had a difficult weekend and I'm happy to be third. I didn't lose too many points. We'll see what we can do in the next few races."

The next Formula One race in Monaco is highly anticipated by drivers and fans alike.

The McLaren team races very well on the Monaco track.

In 2007 the Monaco Grand prix saw Fernando Alonso and teammate Lewis Hamilton in first and second place respectively.

The strategy used by the McLaren team last year raised a few questions of the legitimacy of the win, but the FIA declared no wrongdoing on the part of the drivers or the team. McLaren's 2007 win was their 150th career win.

Will they drive away with 151 in the 2008 Monaco Grand Prix?

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