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F1 2008, Round 3 - Bahrain // Felipe Massa takes his first victory of the season

Published by Christine

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

The dry and dusty atmosphere in Bahrain made a change from the humidity of Malaysia, but the conditions weren’t easy for our teams this weekend. There was a strong wind that changed direction midway through the weekend, meaning setups had to keep changing, or where the rules stipulate they can’t be changed, were compromised.

Lewis Hamilton had an accident in Free Practice 2, smashing up his car, meaning his mechanics had to work until 4am to get it fixed for qualifying the next day. He wasn’t the only one to fly off track though, with seemingly all the drivers visiting the wide run off areas at some point throughout the weekend.

Qualifying was a relatively tame affair, the only exciting moments being Sato spinning off in the first session, causing a red flag, and Kubica’s pole position. This is the first time BMW have taken the front grid slot, and it was an exciting moment for them.

Unfortunately, it didn’t last long. Massa was in second place on the grid, and despite being on the dirty side of the track, he was away and ahead before Kubica could even blink. The first lap of the race was manic. In the first few corners, the cars were five wide, using the track and more to its maximum. Hamilton lost at least seven places off the line, and then in trying to make it back, he crashed into the back of Alonso’s Renault. An extra pit stop meant the McLaren’s race was ruined right from the start.

Someone had spilled oil on the track during the first lap, so when the cars came barrelling down the straight to head into their second lap, there were plenty of people struggling to keep it on the racing line. After that, though, things started to settle down, and the rest of the race was uneventful.

The only notable incident was Button and Coulthard colliding in a corner, with Button coming from way back to attempt an overtaking manoeuvre, and Coulthard shutting the door on him.

Massa took his first win of the season, to gain some desperately needed championship points, but it was Räikkönen on the second step of the podium who took the lead in the driver’s championship. Despite Kubica losing his pole position and ending up third, BMW now lead the constructor’s championship for the very first time.

Things are looking good for when racing returns to Europe in Spain in three weeks time.