Monthly Archives: September 2008

Hamilton stripped of Belgian Grand Prix win

In the most bizarre Formula Grand prix of the year, Lewis Hamilton was stripped of his win at the Belgian Grand prix due to a penalty of 25 seconds given to him. Ferrari’s Felipa Massa stood first while Lewis finished third after the penalty.
Spa Francorchamps is one of the best driving circuits of the Formula one calendar, with enough room for overtaking at almost all points of the racing track, it makes for a fantastic race. And for the last three years, it was one man who had ruled the Belgian Grand Prix- Kimi Raikkonen. He had won with Mclaren in 2005 and 2006 and won last here with Ferrari as he went on to become World champion. Kimi had a string of poor results and critics had begun doubting whether he had the desire left in him to go for the drivers championship or had Massa become Ferrari’s top driver. Kimi started the race in 4th place, but if there were any doubts of his racing form, they were all swept aside as Kimi took the lead in the first lap itself. On the first corner of the race Kimi overtook Heiki Kovalainen, and went on to clinch the race lead after going past both Massa and Hamilton by the end of the first lap. The Finnish driver led the race for the next 42 laps. But as faith would have it, crashed out in the closing stages of the lap. Hamilton was at Raikkonen’s tail before the heaven gods played havoc and poured in the last few laps of the race. Even the weather stations of the respective teams that are situated at the top of the nearby mountains, were of no avail as all the teams were not ready for this challenge. With the drives having no option but to stay on dry weather tyres, driving on the circuit become really tough. The track begun to get wet and it was left to race leader Raikkonen to look for dry spots and maneuver his car through the circuit. At this point Lewis began putting pressure on Kimi and with the tyres not finding grip on the wet track. What followed was two really determined drivers going wheel to wheel for the race lead. With the track conditions really wet, both drivers slid of the circuit but coming back to join the battle. It was here that Lewis cut through a chicane to have an unfair advantage over Kimi. After the chicane it was lewis leading but backed off thinking that the stewards would give him an instant penalty. The next moment, Raikonnen had crashed and it was now a race left for Hamilton to lose. He crawled on to the finish line amidst treacherous conditions for drivers. Massa too made it to the finish line in the second place.
But the real drama began after the race was over, when the race stewards decided to give Hamilton a twenty five second penalty for having missed the chicane while trying to overtake Raikkonen on the penultimate lap of the race. Thus after the penalty, Massa was declared the winner with Nick Heidfeld coming second and Hamilton making it to the third spot. Though Hamilton didn’t win the race, he maintained his lead over closest rival Massa by two points. As for Raikkonen, his dreams of retaining the drivers championship may not be fulfilled as he crashed out after having driven a stunner of the race and lead the Belgian Grand prix for forty one of the forty four laps. At the end of the Belgian Grand prix, it is Hamilton who still maintains his lead of two points over Felipe Massa whereas Raikkonen has fallen to the fourth position in the drivers championship. With just five races to go in the season, the race for the winner of the Drivers champion will go right down to the wire.