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Massa Drives Away Victorious at the Valencia Grand Prix

Sep 3, 2008
The 2008 Grand Prix in Valencia was a nail-biter, but in the end Ferrari's Felipe Massa walked away victorious. Massa's sheer speed could not be rivaled by Lewis Hamilton, who finished second for McLaren-Mercedes.

Controversy surrounded Massa's pit stop during lap 37 after which he was released illegally into the path of Force India's Adrian Sutil. Officials eventually decided that Massa did not gain an unfair advantage over Sutil.

Team Ferrari was fined 10,000 euros because of the safety issues caused by the incident. In an unusual decision, the stewards opted to investigate the occurrence after the race's completion.

The near miss called the pit stop procedures of Team Ferrari into question. Instead of using a 'lollipop man' to control their driver, Team Ferrari relies heavily on a system of automated lights that illuminate to indicate to the driver when the fuel pump is removed from the vehicle.

Unfortunately, the manual override sequence failed to prevent Massa from getting the green light from his pit crew when the refueling of his car was complete, causing him to veer dangerously in front of the Force India driver. Officials ultimately ruled the situation to be dangerous, but they felt it did not affect the overall outcome of the race.

Massa's sheer speed dominated the field for the majority of the race. His pole position start quickly translated into a solid lead on the first lap. Hamilton started on the dirty side of the track and fought with BMW Sauber's Robert Kubica for second place throughout much of the race.

By the time of his first pit stop, Massa had a five second lead on Hamilton, who entered the pit two laps after Massa. Even though Hamilton zipped through those two laps fantastically, the lead was only reduced by a second when he pitted.

Before his second pit stop, Massa had increased his lead to eight seconds. When Hamilton decided to stop in the pit two laps later, Massa cruised to victory.

Hamilton was fine with second place, though, as he had an undisclosed health problem. He confessed that Massa had driven a much better race than he had, as well.

The controversy surrounding Massa's second stop wasn't the only problem in the pits during Valencia's Grand Prix. Massa's fellow Ferrari driver, Kimi Raikkonen, tried leaving the pit before refueling was complete, injuring a worker in the process. Raikkonen reportedly drove away before he was given the green light and had to stop yet again. The worker suffered a broken nose and a sore back.

On a clear track, Raikkonen lapped one second slower than Massa. His troubles started with a poor performance in the qualifying heats. After his ill-fated pit stop, his engine failed, forcing him to retire from Valencia's Grand Prix.

Even with the problems in the pit, the Grand Prix was an incredible race. Massa's dominance in this race made him the closest challenger for the championship against Hamilton. When the next race comes, these two will be gunning for each other, driving like two men on a desperate mission to claim the ultimate Grand Prix prize.
About the Author
Next year's Monaco Grand Prix is in May, ticket and other details are at yourmonaco.com

They also have hotels in Paris France along with reviews for hotels in Monte Carlo and cheap all inclusive holidays

For Monaco itself there is a choice of Monaco hotels
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