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Felipe Massa takes the spoils in France

Ferrari’s Felipe Massa won the French Grand Prix at Magny-Cours, his third victory of the 2008 season.

Felipe Massa

The Brazilian now takes over the lead in the Formula One world championship for the first time in his short career, spanning six-seasons.

He also became the first Brazilian to top the drivers’ list since his hero, Ayrton Senna, dominated 15 years ago.

The other Ferrari driver, Kimi Raikkonen, started the race from pole and led into the first corner, before meeting exhaust problems.

Lewis Hamilton suffered from accumulated woes, going back to the Canadian Grand Prix. A drive-through penalty saw him starting 13th on the grid. Various factors wrecked his race and he finished predictably out of the points. He now trails Massa by 10 points.

Before the race he told ITV, “I found out that there was a lot of negativity in the media, and that’s to be expected. That’s what they do: they build you up and then they break you down, but they can’t break me. There’s a lot of crap coming out in the papers. I’m here to race, and I don’t want all this stuff. But I’m very strong mentally, and my belief in my own ability is stronger than ever and there’s nothing that can break me.”

Massa’s victory was the eighth of his Formula One career.

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Luck at last for Lewis Hamilton at Monte Carlo

Starting third on the grid — par for the course this season — Lewis Hamilton didn’t look a safe bet for his first Grand Prix win in Monte Carlo.

Lewis Hamilton
Lewis Hamilton wins Monaco Grand Prix 2008

That he did win is a sign maybe that Madame Fortune is beginning to smile on the British race ace again.

The drivers made their way to the start in light rain. After a single lap it was teeming down, turning the famous circuit into a skid pad. Hamilton started on the second row in third. He easily passed Kimi Raikkonen on the run to St Devote.

Felipe Massa seemingly led with ease in the early stages. Weather forecasters were telling the McLaren team that the rain would lessen throughout the race. Hamilton was filled up with extra fuel and returned to the race.

He slipped into cautious mode waiting for his opponents to make the errors. Fernando Alonso, in fourth, obliged on lap eight, clipping the wall at Mirabeu. On the same lap David Coulthard and Sebastien Bourdais came together on the run-up to Casino Square to bring out the safety car.

From then on, mayhem ruled and the title was anyone’s — anyone’s, that is, who had the wet-weather skills of an Ayton Senna and the speed of Lewis Hamilton.

As his enemies tumbled from grace, Lewis Hamilton regained his lead in the Formula One Drivers’ Championship.

A notable victory — his sixth GP win — and one which sets him up for a great finish to the season. To come through all the bad luck and error-strewn campaigns this season with a win at Monte Carlo is surely an omen.

All he now has to contend with is the ferocious pace of an in-form Felipe Massa in a rock-star Ferrari and he’s home and dry.

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Felipe Massa on a Turkey roll

Felipe Massa Felipe Massa easily beat Lewis Hamilton into second place to win the Turkish Grand Prix today for the third successive year in his Ferrari.

Kimi Raikkonen, the reigning world champion, was third.

Hamilton appears to have overcome his run of bad luck, even if not quite regaining that magic winning touch. He remains in contention for the title even so.

Result

1. Felipe Massa (BRA/Ferrari) 1min 26:49.451sec (average: 213,809 km/h)

2. Lewis Hamilton (GBR/McLaren) at 3.779sec

3. Kimi Raikkonen (FIN/Ferrari) 4.271

4. Robert Kubica (POL/BMW Sauber) 21.945

5. Nick Heidfeld (GER/BMW Sauber) 38.741

6. Fernando Alonso (ESP/Renault) 53.724

7. Mark Webber (AUS/Red Bull) 1:04.229

8. Nico Rosberg (GER/Williams) 1:11.406

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Ferrari one-two in Barcelona

Kimi Raikkonen duly won the Spanish Grand Prix in Barcelona after an emphatic weekend of driving.

His team-mate Felipe Massa in the other Ferrari made it a one-two.

Lewis Hamilton, out of sorts this season, showed both class and courage to rise from fifth on the grid to third place in a fractious race.

He avoided another clash with arch-rival Fernando Alonso by patiently waiting for him to make a pit-stop in his under-achieving Renault.

Full results are:
1, K Raikkonen (Fin, Ferrari) 1hr 38min 19.051sec; 2, F Massa (Br, Ferrari) 1:38:22.251; 3, L Hamilton (GB, McLaren Mercedes) 1:38:23.151; 4, R Kubica (Pol, BMW Sauber) 1:38:24.651; 5, M Webber (Aus, Red Bull Renault) 1:38:54.951; 6, J Button (GB, Honda) 1:39:12.051; 7, K Nakajima (Japan, Williams Toyota) 1:39:17.251; 8, J Trulli (It, Toyota) 1:39:18.451; 9, N Heidfeld (Ger, BMW Sauber) 1:39:22.051; 10, G Fisichella (It, Force India Ferrari); 11, T Glock (Ger, Toyota); 12, D Coulthard(GB, Red Bull Renault); 13, T Sato (Japan, Super Aguri Honda) all one lap behind.

Championship positions
Drivers: 1, Raikkonen 29pts; 2, Hamilton 20; 3, Kubica 19; 4, Massa 18; 5, Heidfeld 16; 6, Kovalainen 14; 7, Trulli 9; 8, Webber 8; 9, Rosberg 7; 10, Alonso 6; 11, Nakajima 5; 12, Button 3; 13, Bourdais 2.

Constructors: 1, Ferrari 47pts; 2, BMW Sauber 35; 3, McLaren Mercedes 34; 4, Williams Toyota 12; 5, Toyota 9; 6, Red Bull Renault 8; 7, Renault 6; 8, Honda 3; 9, Scuderia Toro Rosso Ferrari 2.

It’s still all to play for this season, with Hamilton quite capable of overtaking a nine points lead. But McLaren will have to start matching the Ferrari’s current pace and power.

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