Turkey hat-trick for Massa

Massa: three in a row

Brazilian up to joint second in standings after another Istanbul win

Felipe Massa has taken his third successive victory in the Turkish Grand Prix, the Ferrari driver finishing ahead of Lewis Hamilton in Istanbul.

Hamilton in turn brought his McLaren-Mercedes home ahead of World Champion Kimi Raikkonen.

BMW Sauber's Robert Kubica finished fourth ahead of team-mate Nick Heidfeld, with Fernando Alonso sixth for Renault.

Red Bull's Mark Webber finished seventh, with Williams driver Nico Rosberg taking the final championship point.

Massa certainly has an affinity with the Istanbul Otodrom, the Brazilian scoring his maiden grand prix win there in 2006 and then repeating the feat 12 months later.

Both races saw Massa disappear into the distance. On the face of it, things appeared different this time around, with Hamilton passing the Ferrari and leading for parts of the race.

However, McLaren had chosen to run the Englishman on a three-stop strategy - Hamilton's lighter car thus enabling him to fight for the lead with the two-stopping Massa before his final call for fuel and tyres.

Hamilton certainly played his role in F1's own version of 'The Tortoise and the Hare' fable to the hilt and, starting from third on the grid, was up a place at the lights past team-mate Heikki Kovalainen.


With the cars funnelling into the tight Turn One it was perhaps inevitable that there would be a collision in the pack and so it proved, with Giancarlo Fisichella slamming into the back Kazuki Nakajimja, the Italian's Force India car vaulting over the top of the Japanese driver's Williams.

Both cars were out on the spot and the safety car was deployed for two laps. Upon resumption of racing, Hamilton resumed his chase of Massa.

Meanwhile, Kovalainen pitted for a left rear puncture - Raikkonen appearing to clip the back of his fellow Finn's car as they entered Turn One at the start - and dropped down to 18th and last place.

Raikkonen, who had dropped from fourth to sixth on lap one, retook Alonso for fourth on lap three while, out front, Massa increased his lead over Hamilton to 1.5 seconds by lap five. But the McLaren driver responded and started to match the Ferrari's pace.

The pair traded fastest laps as the gap between them varied by about a tenth each side of the 1.5-second mark. They were also pulling away from the field - Hamilton's lead over third-placed Kubica going out to 3.6 seconds by lap nine.

By lap 13, Hamilton had eked a further four tenths out of Massa's lead, with the McLaren setting another fastest lap on lap 15 as the gap came down to 0.7 seconds.

But the cause for the Englishman's pace was revealed when he pitted on lap 16 - one lap after Alonso but before both Ferraris and Kubica.

Short-fuelled for his second stint, Hamilton rejoined in sixth place behind Heidfeld, leaving Massa with an eight-second lead over Kubica.

The top two then pitted at the end of lap 19, with Massa's Ferrari rejoining in third - just ahead of Hamilton - the Pole's BMW Sauber emerging fifth.

Raikkonen thus inherited the lead and, after upping his pace ahead his own first stop at the end of lap 21, he managed to leapfrog Kubica and take third place.

Making full use of his lighter car, Hamilton once more closed the gap on race leader Massa and was all over the back of the Ferrari by lap 23.


And, on the approach to Turn 12, he made his move, passing the Ferrari up the inside and immediately started pulling away - Hamilton needing to place as much distance as possible between himself and his nearest pursuers to make his strategy work.

Kovalainen was up to 11th when he made his first stop on lap 26 but anticipation was building as to when precisely his team-mate would make his second.

Lapping one second per lap quicker than Massa, Hamilton built a 7.5-second lead by the time he pitted once more at the end of lap 32. He then rejoined in third place, behind the Ferraris.

With Kovalainen engaged in some fine midfield duelling with Toyota's Timo Glock and Honda's Jenson Button on his way up to 12th place by lap 36, Massa led Raikkonen by 10.8 seconds, Hamilton 2.4 seconds behind the second Ferrari.

Massa and the fourth-placed Kubica made their second and final stops on lap 40, handing the lead to Raikkonen who, in turn, stopped at the end of lap 43.

With 15 laps to go, Hamilton led Massa by 12.9 seconds - too small a lead to prevent the Brazilian from vaulting back ahead during the McLaren man's extra stop.

Nevertheless, Hamilton could still beat Raikkonen and, following his final stop on lap 45, he emerged from the pit lane ahead of the Finn's Ferrari.

With a five-second lead in the bank, Massa thus reeled off the remaining dozen or so laps to the chequered flag. However, less than one second ahead of Raikkonen, Hamilton had his hands full in the closing stages.

But he stood his ground, in the process taking two points out of Raikkonen's championship lead - Massa's victory in turn placing him joint second with Hamilton, seven points adrift.

Red Bull's David Coulthard finished ninth, two places ahead of Button while, having briefly reached a points-paying eighth place, a late stop for fuel relegated Kovalainen to 12th.

Meanwhile, making his 257th grand prix start - breaking the record set by Riccardo Patrese in 1993 - Honda's Rubens Barrichello came home 14th.

Turkish Grand Prix, result:

1. Felipe Massa (Brazil) Ferrari 1 hr 26 min 49.451 secs
2. Lewis Hamilton (Britain) McLaren +00:03.779
3. Kimi Raikkonen (Finland) Ferrari 00:04.271
4. Robert Kubica (Poland) BMW Sauber 00:21.945
5. Nick Heidfeld (Germany) BMW Sauber 00:38.741
6. Fernando Alonso (Spain) Renault 00:53.724
7. Mark Webber (Australia) RedBull - Renault 01:04.229
8. Nico Rosberg (Germany) Williams - Toyota 01:11.406
9. David Coulthard (Britain) RedBull - Renault 01:15.270
10. Jarno Trulli (Italy) Toyota 01:16.344
11. Jenson Button (Britain) Honda 1 lap
12. Heikki Kovalainen (Finland) McLaren 1 lap
13. Timo Glock (Germany) Toyota 1 lap
14. Rubens Barrichello (Brazil) Honda 1 lap
15. Nelson Piquet (Brazil) Renault 1 lap
16. Adrian Sutil (Germany) Force India - Ferrari 1 lap
17. Sebastian Vettel (Germany) Toro Rosso - Ferrari 1 lap
r. Sebastien Bourdais (France) Toro Rosso - Ferrari 34 laps
r. Kazuki Nakajima (Japan) Williams - Toyota 57 laps
r. Giancarlo Fisichella (Italy) Force India - Ferrari 58 laps
(rank: r = retired, nc = not classified)