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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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Lewis Hamilton blows up in Istanbul

Lewis Hamilton looked like coming home in third place in a Turkish Grand Prix where his car could not keep pace with the flying Ferraris. That hope disappeared when a tyre blew with 15 laps to go.

In the event Felipe Massa, who drove to a second consecutive victory at this track, was second and Kimi Raikkonen, also in a Ferrari, third.

Hamilton said, “I had no warning, I went off and almost hit the barrier. The wheel just locked up and I was very lucky to get the car stopped. I tried to keep going, but the tyre got worse and worse. I reached Turn 12 and the car wouldn’t steer. I got to the pitlane and almost hit the wall. It was a real fight and I was relieved to get it back.”

Typically he kept his head and returned to the race after a pit stop. He was later overtaken by team-mate Fernando Alonso, but remains ahead in the Drivers’ World Championship.

Top Ten in Turkish Grand Prix
1, F Massa (Br, Ferrari) 1min 26:42.161sec
2, K Raikkonen (Fin, Ferrari) at 2.275sec behind
3, F Alonso (Sp, McLaren Mercedes) 26.181
4, N Heidfeld (Ger, BMW Sauber) 39.674
5, L Hamilton (GB, McLaren Mercedes) 45.085
6, H Kovalainen (Fin, Renault) 46.169
7, N Rosberg (Ger, Williams Toyota) 55.778
8, R Kubica (Pol, BMW Sauber) 56.707
9, G Fisichella (It, Renault) 59.491
10, D Coulthard (GB, Red Bull Renault) 1min 11.009sec.

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Drivers and Circuits

Huh, glad I didn’t touch the Fontana confession of yesterday – Peter Sauber has denied it already. And anyway, there is plenty of anti-Schumacher/Ferrari press around already, with Coulthard coming out in support of Alonso’s charge of bad sportsmanship.

Coulthard

David Coulthard

Instead, let’s talk circuits. Imola looks set to be included in the schedule for next year, although it seems Bernie Ecclestone may be squeezing a bit more money from the organizers for the favor. With the announcement that improvements to the circuit will commence in October, the circuit has cleared the major obstacle to the race’s inclusion, however.

In contrast, Suzuka has accepted that it will not hold a Grand Prix in 2007 and is hoping for 2008 instead. So F1 loses its only figure-8 circuit, even if just temporarily. I do sometimes wonder why it seems to be only the good circuits that come under threat of exclusion; maybe “interesting” equates to “dangerous” in the minds of the FIA delegates.

And then there is Turkey, of course. Amazingly, the organizers are now muttering about appealing against the $5,000,000 fine imposed on them for politicizing the awards ceremony. I would have thought their best plan was to pay up and shut up, especially as the Turkish government will foot the bill. They are insisting that it was not planned that Mehmet Ali Talat present a trophy but that makes it seem that the dignitaries drew lots after the race to see who would do the job. Doesn’t seem very likely to me.

Perhaps someone should warn them that the FIA does not take kindly to its decisions being questioned and are more likely to increase the penalty on appeal than to forget the whole matter.

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Decisions from the FIA

The FIA has issued a press release detailing its plans for the future of F1. Much of the document is concerned with the intent to force greater fuel economy in racing, to spur research and development in this area, in fact.

Istanbul

The drive to limit the amount the teams can spend on development continues, with the engine freeze brought forward to cover 2007 as well as 2008. But more time has been given (to 2009) for the FIA to develop new rules on aerodynamic advances. Interestingly, it is specified that 18 races will be held in 2007, whereas only 17 are listed in the FIA’s calendar. This must surely give renewed hope to the Imola officials that their circuit will be used next year.

Essentially, the document tells us nothing new; it merely confirms previous suggestions and makes them official. Another and more recent press release is a bit more controversial, however.

The FIA has ruled in the matter of the politicizing of the awards ceremony at the Turkish Grand Prix. The decision is brief enough to quote in its entirety:

WORLD MOTOR SPORT COUNCIL
2006 TURKISH GRAND PRIX – PODIUM CEREMONY
19.09.2006

The World Motor Sport Council has found against the National Sporting Authority of Turkey (TOSFED) and the Organisers of the Turkish Grand Prix (MSO) on all counts.

The organisations have been fined a combined total of $5 million.

That’s a huge fine to you or me but, to TOSFED and MSO, it must amount to chickenfeed, especially as they were in danger of losing their race completely. Remembering how Jerez lost its right to hold Grands Prix in 1997, I cannot help but feel that the FIA is demonstrating massive inconsistency here. Here’s what the Wikipedia has to say on the subject of the Jerez ban:

The track itself was banned from hosting FIA-sanctioned racing again after an incident where the mayor of the town disrupted the podium ceremonies. The people chosen to present the trophies were dependent on the race order, with Daimler-Benz chairman Jurgen Schrempp only willing to make a presentation to a McLaren-Mercedes driver. As the McLarens of Häkkinen and Coulthard passed Villeneuve’s Williams on the last lap, this would have meant he could present either the trophy for first or second position or the winning constructor trophy. There was some confusion due to the late changes in position and whilst the Mayor and the president of the region presented trophies, Schrempp did nothing. FIA president Max Mosely later announced “The disruption caused embarrassment and inconvenience to those presenting the trophies and therefore, no further rounds of the FIA Formula 1 World Championship will be held at the Jerez circuit.”

Embarrassment and inconvenience, hey? What, no misuse of the award ceremony for political purposes? It seems to me that it may be a case of one rule for the rich and another for the poor.

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