Upsets, upsets and more upsets. The Formula One racing world thought it had put the politics between Ferrari and McLaren to rest, but the controversy between the two front-running teams reared its ugly head once more at this past weekend's Belgian Grand Prix at Spa. Follow the jump to read how the weekend's events unfolded, and how the race results were turned on its head once again.
SPOILER ALERT: McLaren and Ferrari embroiled in more controversy at the Belgian GP
The Tifosi were elated to see their reigning champion Kimi Raikkonen recovering from his dry spell until the rain set in. After once again managing to qualify no better than fourth place, Raikkonen moved up to second place on the first lap and proceeded to jump into first place, taking a commanding lead for the lion's share of the race.
But with only three laps to go before the finish line, the skies opened up and rain poored down on the Spa-Francorchamps circuit. Both Raikkonen and championship leader Lewis Hamilton, running close behind, ventured to stay out on their dry tires in an effort to retain position over the closing laps. The gamble paid off for Hamilton, but not for Raikkonen.
The closing laps saw heated action between the two drivers, one passing the other and then slipping back behind as the two played leap-frog on the rain-soaked track. At one point Hamilton cut a chicane and took the lead. Kimi subsequently lost control on the exit from the Blanchimont corner and hit the barriers, taking the reigning champ out of the race after a dramatic performance.
Hamilton sailed to the checkered flag and seemed to have further secured his position at the front of the championship, but the race marshals ruled that in cutting the chicane, the young British driver had taken an illegal advantage. They retroactively penalized the McLaren protégé with a virtual drive-through penalty of 25 seconds off his finishing time, thereby revoking his trophy and moving him down the finishing order to third place.
The ruling handed the win to Raikkonen's teammate, Felipe Massa (above), who had maintained his distance from the combatant pair and crossed the line behind Hamilton after his team-mate's crash. Nick Heidfeld, meanwhile, had likewise maintained a quick pace and passed a disappointed Fernando Alonso for third place. Heidfeld was then retroactively moved up to second after Hamilton's penalty.
The surprise performance, however, came from Sebastien Bourdais. The French driver was keen to secure his race seat with Toro Rosso in light of his teammate Sebastian Vettel's strong performance this season, and before the rain had managed to move up to a commendable third place, only to be passed in the wet by both BMWs and Alonso's Renault to finish a more sobering but still admirable seventh place.
Leaving Belgium, Hamilton retains his lead in the drivers' championship with 76 points, but with Massa trailing right behind with 74. The disappointing crash has caused Kimi Raikkonen to slip down to fourth position for the title with 57 points, with BMW's Robert Kubica narrowly elevated to third with 58. Ferrari, however, retains its lead in the constructors' championship with 131 points to McLaren's 119 and BMW Sauber's 107.
The drivers' title is now in close contention as the circus packs up and heads for Monza for the Italian Grand Prix this coming weekend.
2008 Belgian Grand Prix
1 Felipe Massa Ferrari
2 Nick Heidfeld BMW Sauber
3 Lewis Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes
4 Fernando Alonso Renault
5 Sebastian Vettel STR-Ferrari
6 Robert Kubica BMW Sauber
7 Sebastien Bourdais STR-Ferrari
8 Mark Webber Red Bull-Renault
9 Timo Glock Toyota
10 Heikki Kovalainen McLaren-Mercedes
11 David Coulthard Red Bull-Renault
12 Nico Rosberg Williams-Toyota
13 Adrian Sutil Force India-Ferrari
14 Kazuki Nakajima Williams-Toyota
15 Jenson Button Honda
16 Jarno Trulli Toyota
17 Giancarlo Fisichella Force India-Ferrari
18 Kimi Räikkönen Ferrari
Fastest lap: Raikkonen, 1:47.930
Rubens Barrichello Honda
Nelsinho Piquet Renault
World Championship standings
(after 13 rounds)
1. Hamilton 76
2. Massa 74
3. Kubica 58
4. Raikkonen 57
5. Heidfeld 49
6. Kovalainen 43
7. Trulli 26
8. Alonso 23
9. Webber 19
10. Glock 16
11. Vettel 13
12. Piquet 13
13. Barrichello 11
14. Rosberg 9
15. Nakajima 8
16. Coulthard 6
17. Bourdais 4
18. Button 3
1. Ferrari 131
2. McLaren-Mercedes 119
3. BMW Sauber 107
4. Toyota 41
5. Renault 36
6. Red Bull-Renault 25
7. Williams-Toyota 17
8. Toro Rosso-Ferrari 11
9. Honda 14
- Volvo shoots for self-drivers by 2021
- Jeep spends $1 billion on factories
- Find Parts & Accessories for your vehicle!
- Obama rolls out new EV plan
- Infiniti dealers ranked best, Tesla worst
- Compare Volvo XC90 and Lincoln MKX