• Sep 9, 2008
Click above for high-res gallery of the 2008 Belgian Grand Prix

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.




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

Not classified/retirements:
Rubens Barrichello Honda
Nelsinho Piquet Renault


World Championship standings
(after 13 rounds)

Drivers:
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

Constructors:
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



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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 45 Comments
      • 6 Years Ago
      Retarded. Simply retarded.

      Regardless of the whole passing incident, he did not gain any advantage by cutting (being forced wide in) that chicane. Kimi decided the wall was cooler than the track so he went there. Hamilton's next lowest competitor was WAY farther behind than any advantage he may have gained. The only way for the Ferrari to win was if they suddenly made Lewis's time 25 seconds slower.

      Woot, another hard-earned Ferrari victory. What a shame :/
      • 6 Years Ago
      It's interesting seeing so many people saying how FIA is biased towards Ferarri when just a few years ago when Michael Shumacher was sweeping everything with Ferarri the very same FIA mades rule explicitly to stop Ferarri's domination. Funny how times has changed
      • 6 Years Ago
      I've only seen highlights of the incident. I've got the race recorded and haven't watched it yet.

      But from what I can tell Hamilton did cut the corner and he did get back behind Kimi just like you are supposed to in order to not receive a penalty for it. Unless there is a specific definition of just how far back you are supposed to go behind, then Hamilton did what he was supposed to do. Kimi got twitchy going into La Source and Hamilton was able to dive back in front of him under braking.

      The penalty was not justified in my opinion and that is coming from a Ferrari fan.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Might as well just call it a track day. No passing allowed.
      • 6 Years Ago
      In 2003, Ferrari on Bridgestone struggled against the Michelin teams. Late in the season, at a critical time in the championship, the rules on how tire width was measured were changed, forcing Michelin to change a tire that had previously been approved as legal. Ferrari won the last 3 races of the year and MS won the championship by 2 points.

      In 2006, Renault and Alonso were leading. Several teams including Renault and Ferrari were using the mass damper system, but it was banned midway thru the season. Apparently it had a greater effect on the Michelin teams as Alonso would win only 1 more race the remainder of the season, although Alonso would hold on for the WC.

      And now this penalty, two drivers in a spectacular battle for the lead under extremely challenging conditions. Hamilton had no choice but to go to the grass. Why even bother taking the risk of passing now when you are just going to get penalized. It's really sad, I feel like it's not even a sport anymore when the results are consistently manipulated to close points gaps and/or benefit the red team.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Having watched the overtaking incident over and over again, I still cannot see what else Hamilton could have done. Kimi forced Hamilton into cutting the curb by not giving him any room what so ever on corner entry. Hamilton gave Kimi the position back and he was still penalized! BTW, no mention was made or penalty assessed of Kimi passing Hamilton under yellow! This sport is becoming more corrupt each and every day.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Hamilton cut the chicane at the bus stop because Raikkonen pushed him wide (fairly). So, Hamilton had to choose between crashing them both out or cutting the chicane
      • 6 Years Ago
      This decision to strip Hamilton of the win is just another ludicrous decision being made by people who should not be making these decisions. Hamilton was clearly faster. He was going to pass Kimi at some point. Kimi regained the lead when he pushed Hamilton onto the grass while both were taking evasive action dodging a back marker coming back onto the track after going off in the rain. Kimi then managed to spin out and hand the lead back to Hamilton. The FIA needs to decide if it is running a racing series or a series of demonstration runs to showcase technology that is invisible to public view.
      • 6 Years Ago
      The only problem with all this. Massa jumps the gun in an unsafe manner last race in Spain and gets a slap on the wrist and a fine that is pocket change to him. Quote from Formula1.com:

      "However, his victory was only confirmed once stewards had investigated his second pit stop on lap 37, in which he was deemed to have been released unsafely into the path of Force India’s Adrian Sutil. It resulted in a reprimand for the Brazilian and a hefty €10,000 fine."

      Is this event something that is given a drive thru penalty in a race? This would have dropped hamilton to the lead if Massa got a penalty, but I'm sure stewards wouldn't want to see that!
      • 6 Years Ago
      It was a stupid call. Kimi pushed Hamilton out! It's painfully obvious when you watch the replays because Kimi could have taken the chicane tighter but nooooo! Absolutely BS call.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Thats the freaking point!!!!! As long as you have the nose in on a corner...you do not have to make it easy to overtake for pete's sake!!!!!!!!! Hamilton should have realized before that aggressive move that he would run out of track, therefore he should have braked in behind Kimi to try at another corner...thats racing! That cutting the chicane and that BS of giving the position back is just as bad as a technicality call after the race!
      • 6 Years Ago
      F1 = Ferrari Won.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Remember everyone wants be like NASCAR, So now we have it ! Nascar acrossed the board, bring back the days when people raced and no BS.
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