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European Grand Prix
Valencia, Spain, 22-24 August 2008



Final positions after 57 laps.

1. Massa (Ferrari)

2. Hamilton (McLaren)

3. Kubica (BMW Sauber)

4. Kovalainen (McLaren)

5. Trulli (Toyota)

6. Vettel (Toro Rosso)

7. Glock (Toyota)

8. Rosberg (Williams)

LATEST ACTION (all times BST)

To get involved, text us on 81111 (UK users only) or contribute to 606 Join the debate on 606

By Sarah Holt

1448: Fancy some more? Then join us for more from Spa in two weeks' time. Bye for now.

1445: "Massa has been excellent today. Deserves his win."
Licence on 606

1445: So Massa, Hamilton and Kubica will top the podium in Valencia. Kovalainen picked up some decent points for McLaren in fourth to see them cut Ferrari's lead in the constructors' championship to eight points. Trulli collected fifth for Toyota with Vettel holding on to sixth for Toro Rosso. Glock's one-stop policy saw him take seventh with Rosberg taking his first point since Hungary in eighth.

1442: "I think Massa knows this is his best chance of having a crack at the world championship. He's had his ups and downs but it's a well-deserved victory for him. Lewis drove a good race as well and I think he drove to the limit of the car."
BBC 5 Live analyst Anthony Davidson

Chequered Flag
Lap 57: Felipe Massa claims a landmark win for Ferrari by claiming victory at the European Grand Prix - the first race to be staged in Valencia.

Lap 56: Back to our friends at Toro Rosso, Vettel looks like he'll hang on to sixth place, which is exactly where he started. Hang on a minute, Bourdais should finish in 10th, which was also his grid position. So I guess that can be judged as a consistent race at the very least.

Lap 55: Three laps to go and any danger for Massa? Nope, the Ferrari man comes safely round the Valencia street circuit, whizzes past the pits and looks pretty good for his fourth victory of the season.

Lap 54: If things stay as they are in Valencia then Hamilton will extend his lead in the drivers' championship to 70 points, Massa will move up to second with 64 with Raikkonen - pointless in Spain - staying third on 57 with Kubica edging closer with 55.

Lap 52: Will Massa be worried about grinding to a halt in the closing laps? Davidson reckons lightning won't strike twice. "Massa is starting to cruise now but the gap is starting to come down. I hope he doesn't get a penalty because it wasn't his fault. He's driven perfectly."
BBC Five Live analyst Anthony Davidson

Lap 50: Back to the all-important matter of racing then. Massa is 7.4 seconds ahead of Hamilton with Kubica cut adrift in third. Kovalainen is up in fourth ahead of Trulli with Toro Rosso's Vettel sixth.

Lap 47: I need to update you on some other Ferrari-related news. First of all, the FIA officials will rule on the incident between Massa and Sutil after the race. They could decide to dock the Brazilian time later but more will come on that after the chequered flag. As for Raikkonen, there was an incident at his last pit-stop which resulted in him running over one of his mechanics. The fuel hose was still attached when he tried to leave the pits and he ended up knocking one of his pit crew to the ground. That man has now been taken to the medical centre but was waving when he was stretchered away so he seems to be OK. Again, more news on that if it comes through. I did ask for drama eh? Just maybe not quite that much...

Lap 46: Raikkonen's race is over. It looks like the same thing that happened to Massa in Hungary has happened here in Valencia. Smoke is left pouring out of his engine and that's it as he gets out of his car. His day really is going from bad to worse. Massa was using a new engine in Spain but Raikkonen was driving with the same one as in Budapest. "You just can't have mistakes like this," says 5 Live analyst Anthony Davidson.

Lap 43: Sutil looks like he has a problem with his rear suspension as he ploughs into a tyre wall, but it's in a safe place and no need for the safety car. Raikkonen and Kovalainen come back into the pits. I'll have more news in a minute.

Lap 41: Trulli pits from sixth.

Lap 40: Kubica pits from third. He feeds back out in sixth.

Pits
Lap 39: Hamilton pits and is in and out in 7.1 seconds. More news on the shaky pit-stop for Massa. The FIA officials are investigating the incident between Massa and Sutil for the unsafe release of Massa's Ferrari. There could yet be a twist in this race yet should Massa receive a drive-through penalty. Hmmmm, we wait further news.

Lap 37: Massa pits from the lead and takes on some fuel and some softer tyres. Sutil is always in the pits and there is a bit of an incident as Ferrari release Massa almost into the back of Sutil. I'll have more of that in a minute.

Lap 34: Massa is still working hard out on Valencia's street circuits and proves it by clocking a new fastest lap of 1:38.757. Hamilton is 9.6 seconds behind and looks like he doesn't have an answer to the Ferrari's pace at the minute.We should be having another round of stops soon though.

Lap 32: Well, we are over the half-way mark now in Valencia and the promised unpredictability (does that work?) hasn't really materialised. Apart from Alonso's early exit, thanks to Nakajima sticking his nose up the rear of his Renault, there has been little drama and Bernt can sit tight in the safety car and watch the Olympic closing ceremony if the race continues like this.

Lap 30: Button comes into the Honda pits from 14th place and Glock finally comes back in for some fuel. He should get in the points again if he keeps up this good run in Spain because those racing in front of him still have to pit. The German comes back out in ninth place.

Lap 29: Mark Webber has a bit of an untidy pit-stop back at Red Bull HQ and Fisichella is back for fuel at just over the half-way point for Force India.

1350: "Looks like Massa has it sewn up already. Maybe we need a safety car to liven Lewis + the race up."
Ian via text on 81111

Lap 25: Timo Glock looks like he is on a one-stop strategy as he chugs his Toyota away in fifth spot. At the front Massa has a five second lead over Hamilton and if the Englishman is to claim victory in Spain he's going to have to find some extra pace, pray for a safety car or a Massa engine blow-up. Here's what the super calm Anthony Davidson has to say:

"It really doesn't seem that Massa is particularly strong in the second sector but the place where he does open up an advantage is the first sector and he has done it all weekend. Massa is really pushing on and increasing that gap. He's at his most lethal when he's at the front of a race and extending his lead"
BBC 5 Live analyst Anthony Davidson

Lap 22: Heidfeld pits from fifth place and wends his way back in in 11th place just ahead of Honda's Jenson Button, who is yet to pit.

Lap 21: I did promise a little bit of a Toro Rosso watch in Valencia. Well, it's not great news for Vettel as wily old fox Trulli gets ahead of him after the first run of stops. Bourdais is ploughing away in 15th place.

Lap 20: Race leader Kovalainen comes back to the McLaren pits. Gets a tap on his helmet as he goes out after a 9.4 second. He gets out ahead of Heidfeld in fifth.

Lap 18: Kubica pits from the lead and Raikkonen joins him too. Raikkonen is in there a long time - 9.9 seconds.

Lap 17: Hamilton may not have made up enough ground though as he comes back to refuel and stays in for 8.9 seconds - a slightly shorter stint than Massa. He feeds in back in fifth behind both Ferraris.

"I'm really confused as to why Hamilton didn't come back out in front of Massa as now he has to get past Kimi to get to him. But the fight is back on."
BBC 5 Live analyst Anthony Davidson

Lap 16: Hamilton has got to find some vital seconds now and he is out there putting the pedal to the metal through the first two sectors. He sets a new flying lap of 1:38.884.

Lap 15: Massa comes in to refuel and takes on a big glug of fuel and a new set of tyres. He feeds back in fourth ahead of his team-mate Raikkonen. Has that scuppered Raikkonen's race? The Finn is now stuck behind a Ferrari fuelled to the brim.

Lap 14: Most drivers look they are on a two-stop strategy and the first stops will probably be coming up in around two or three laps. Raikkonen might wish it was a bit sooner as he is definitely faster than Kovalainen but he can't find a way past him. His team-mate Massa sets a new fastest lap in Valencia of 1:39.024.

1325: "It's a bit like Hungary at the moment. Hamilton will have to hope he has more fuel on board."
Gordon Murray on 606

Lap 11: It looks like Coulthard's debris is causing problems as Bourdais also has something caught under his wing. Anyway Kubica is back up and running now and Kovalaine is 1.4 seconds adrift of him now in fourth.

Lap 10: Massa leads the field by 3.6 seconds. "Clearly the race at this stage is between Massa and Hamilton and they are both doing their personal bests out there."
BBC 5 Live analyst Anthony Davidson.

Lap eight: Kubica tells his team radio that he has a problem with his car. Not sure what's happening yet but Kovalainen has closed the gap to just 0.5 seconds behind him. It could just be a bit of a wobble. Coulthard had a little spill with Sutil at Turn 17 a couple of laps ago so maybe there is a bit of debris out there.

Lap six: Massa continues to build his lead at the front and he is now almost three seconds ahead of the McLaren. Alonso says he had gearbox, suspension and rear wing damage. He's not a happy chap but at least they do good paella in Valencia so that might cheer him up. He tells Radio 5 Live: "We tried to repair the car in time for the fans but it was more damage than we thought so we had to stop."

Lap four: Nakajima is back in the race with a new nose cone but Alonso is towelling himself down back in the Renault garages after giving up on his race. That's bad news for the Spaniard who couldn't even manage to get a single lap in in front of his home crowd. If I had a Spain down arrow of doom I'd use it now.

Lap three: Massa is a man of a mission and is streaking away at the front, building a 1.8 second lead ahead of Hamilton. The Ferrari man is continuing to set the pace as he clocks the fastest time for the first sector.

Lap two: OK, Alonso is back in the Renault garage trying to get a new rear wing fitted, though his race is in reality over. Nakajima ploughed his Williams into the back of Alonso on the first lap and he's back in for a new nose cone. Looks like there was also a little shunt between Piquet and Coulthard with the Renault man running into the back of the Red Bull.

Lap one: Sighs of relief (and possibly slight disappointment) all round as there no big dramas going into Turn One. Massa protects his first place and amasses a 1.4 second lead at the end of the first lap ahead of Hamilton. Heikki Kovalainen does get the jump on Kimi Raikkonen and he is up to fourth. Big problems for Alonso and I'll have more on that soon.

1303: Green lights are go.

1301: Most drivers seem to be on the harder tyres though Nico Rosberg in the Williams is on the softer options.

1300: The cars are off for the formation lap. Ready to bite your nails yet?

1259: According to you guys on the 606 boards, Lewis Hamilton is favourite to win in Valencia. We'll find out shortly. By the way, Barrichello and Sutil both changed their gearboxes and that's why they are back in the pits.

1257: Rubens Barrichello is starting in the pit after a problem with his Honda - given that he qualified in 19th that might not be too much of a drama for the friendly Brazilian. Adrian Sutil also starts from the pit-lane too. Everyone else is lined up in their correct positions.

1254: "I foresee Massa trying to run away with it. If the safety car comes out it will make his job harder but I think Massa for the win."
F12008 on 606

1249: The drivers are making their final preparations on the grid, fitting in their ear pieces and pulling on their helmets. They are expected to race with Spanish flags on their helmets as a mark of respect for the victims of Wednesday's Madrid air disaster in which 154 people died.

1245: Seven-time world champion Michael Schumacher is knocking about on the grid again. After a monosyllabic start to his interview, Schumi tells ITV that Ferrari have got a good chance of winning the race and says the team have a reasonable set-up. Schumi - still guarding Ferrari's top secrets there...

1240: Anthony Davidson, who lost his F1 seat with the collapse of Super Aguri this season, is BBC Radio 5 Live's analyst in Valencia. Here's what he has to say: "If I was Felipe Massa I'd be feeling pretty confident that I could hang onto pole going into Turn Two. I believe Massa has got a slightly lighter car than Lewis. Kimi has a tough race ahead of him but I think the dark horse in this is Kubica."

1237: "We're here at Valencia with big hopes for the English guys especially Lewis. He's getting no support from the locals though."
Derek from Stevenage via 606

Celebrity spot!
1233: Now then, Valencia apparently has ambitions to rival Monte Carlo as the most glamorous Formula One location. With its America's Cup connections, Valencia gets a big tick on the mega-yachts front. Monaco resident David Coulthard has had a little whinge because he reckons there aren't enough yachts parked up this weekend although Force India chief Vijay Mallya's got his 320-foot vessel in the dock. Check him out. The celebrity count's not bad either with actors Penelope Cruz and Gerard Depardieu hanging about.

Sunshine
1224: Just in: A weather update from my radio colleagues in the Spanish city who report excellent conditions with no rain in sight and temperatures around 30C.

1218: "I can see Vettel snagging a podium here if he can keep out of trouble.
Greg via text on 81111

Yeah, I'll do my best to keep an eye on both Toro Rossos for you after they had their best qualifying result of the season getting both Vettel and Sebastien Bourdais into the top 10.

1216: Back to the comment at 1205, it's worth pointing out that Hamilton is starting on the dirty side of the track after race organisers moved pole position when they realised where the racing line would be. So that means Hamilton could well be jumped himself at the first corner, especially by Kubica starting in third.

1214: Can you believe that after this race there are just six Grands Prix left. Where did the year go? Right now Hamilton leads the title race on 62 points, with Raikkonen on 57 and Massa on 54.

1210: Hmmm Plebien you have to think that Hamilton might indeed want to return the favour. In Budapest, Massa leapfrogged Kovalainen and polesitter Hamilton into the first turn but then his engine blow-out cost him a sure victory right at the death. Here's what Massa says: "After that great disappointment at Budapest I really hope we can have a good one."

1205: "My money is on Lewis Hamilton doing to Felipe Massa what Felipe did to Lewis at Turn One in Hungary."
Plebien on 606

1200: Hello. I think I speak for all of us when I say Beijing has had its day in the sun, now it's the turn of Valencia and the European Grand Prix.

For the first time the Formula One circus has pitched up in Spain's third largest city for a race around the streets lining Valencia's marina.

Ferrari's Felipe Massa was chuffed to be the first driver to take pole but is now intent on converting it into a race victory to boost his title challenge, especially after the disappointment of retiring from the lead with three laps to go in Hungary last time out.

The Brazilian is eight points behind championship leader Lewis Hamilton, whose McLaren lines up alongside him on the front row.

With BMW Sauber's Robert Kubica in third and Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen fourth, an explosive start could be the order of the day, particularly as overtaking is expected to be pretty tricky in Valencia.

Most drivers predict the safety car will emerge at some stage because the close proximity of the barriers and tight run-off areas means, well, accidents are more likely to happen.

But who do you expect to come out on top in Valencia and what effect will that have on the title race?

I want you to get involved as much as possible via 606 or text on 81111.

Join the debate on 606


see also
Live F1: European Grand Prix
10 Mar 06 |  Motorsport
Alonso dismisses link with Honda
22 Aug 08 |  Formula One
Consistency is key, says Hamilton
20 Aug 08 |  Formula One


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