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F1 2008, Round 13 - Belgium - Mixed conditions at the Spa-Francorchamps provide an entertaining race

Published by Christine

This article was originally written for BellaOnline, but is republished here for posterity.

The Belgian Grand Prix looked like a good one right from the start. The entire weekend had been damp, and race day dawned having seen heavy overnight showers, although the rain was predicted to hold off for the race itself. Hamilton qualified on pole, and had an eager Massa lined up on the first row with him, their team mates sitting in third and fourth.

The first corner was manic, with half the field missing the corner and using the maximum run-off area before rejoining the track. Most got through safely, but then Hamilton spun. He allowed Räikkönen past, which in turn ruined his strategy. It looked as though it was going to be an easy run to the finish for Räikkönen, with Hamilton behind, and Massa in third.

Kovalainen had a nightmare start, having lost ten places off the grid, then receiving a drive through penalty for a bad overtaking move as he tried to work his way back up the order.

It all came down to the last few laps, though, when the rain started. Immediately, you could see Räikkönen become cautious and Hamilton took the opportunity to close the gap and then overtake the Ferrari. They were battling corner to corner for the position, running wide, avoiding the traffic, and generally being a nuisance to each other. Then Räikkönen spun twice successively, with the final incident seeing him end up in the wall. He handed the race to Hamilton. It wasn't easy though, as the very last lap saw the rain come down heavily. Many drivers chose to pit for wet tyres, but Hamilton and Massa, with just one lap to go, were determined to see it out to the end. They slowed to a crawl, until eventually Hamilton took the chequered flag.

After the race, however, the stewards annoucned they would be investigating Hamilton for an incident with Räikkönen. Hamilton had cut the chicane, then given the place back to Räikkönen, as the rules suggest. However, he managed to take the place back immediately, having the better position on the straight. After a couple of hours, they decided on a 25 second penalty for Hamilton, meaning he was demoted to third position. Massa picked up the win, with Heidfeld stepping up to second. McLaren intend to appeal the decision.