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Chinese Grand Prix
Shanghai, 17-19 October

Positions after 56 of 56 laps:

1. Hamilton (McLaren)

2. Massa (Ferrari)

3. Raikkonen (Ferrari)

4. Alonso (Renault)

5. Heidfeld (BMW Sauber)

6. Kubica (BMW Sauber)

7. Glock (Toyota)

8. Piquet (Renault)


To get involved use 606 or text us your views & comments on 81111. (Not all contributions can be used)
By Sarah Holt

0950: That's it from Shanghai then. Both the drivers' and constructors' titles will be decided in Brazil in two weeks' time. Just like last year, Hamilton has a seven-point lead going to Brazil. All he has to do to win the drivers' crown for the first time is to finish in fifth place. Can he do it? Do come and see me next time when we'll find out.

0945: Hamilton gives Massa a slap on the arm and they each take a glug of champagne as they celebrate their performances in the Grand Prix - with mixed feelings no doubt.

"A perfect riposte to all the problems Hamilton's had this week. He hardly put a wheel out of place. The only worrying time for him was the start as he would have had the two Ferraris all over him, but he got away cleanly and once he had done that he knew he was in good shape."
BBC 5 Live analyst Maurice Hamilton

0943: There are no slaps on the backs or smiles between Massa and Raikkonen as they wait to take their places on the podium. The pair look very gloomy indeed.

0941: The voice of Ron Dennis on the McLaren team radio tells Hamilton: "Tremendous discipline. Lots of discipline we need to keep that going in Brazil." Hamilton answers: "That was cool guys, a fantastic job. The car was a dream to drive."

0938: So Hamilton extends his lead in the 2008 world championship to seven points after claiming victory in Shanghai. Massa finishes 15 seconds behind Hamilton in second with Ferrari team-mate Raikkonen third. Robert Kubica finishes a decent sixth but is now out of the title race. The two men left standing go to Massa's home Grand Prix in Brazil and all Hamilton has to do is to finish fifth or higher. In two weeks' time we'll find out if he can.


Lap 56: Hamilton swings his McLaren round the first corner in Shanghai on his final lap towards victory. He has really hammered this track after dominating practice, taking pole and is now on his way to the chequered flag. The Englishman pumps his fist as the flag waves in front of his McLaren.

Lap 54: Hamilton is streaking away to a straightforward victory in Shanghai, which would be his ninth Grand Prix victory and fifth of the season. Alonso is pressing Raikkonen for third, but that looks a bit hopeful.

Lap 52: Lots of discussion on 606 and in the commentary box about team orders after Massa's move on Raikkonen. Team orders are out-lawed by the FIA but that rule is largely ignored when it comes to business on the track.

"I just feel sorry for Raikonnen, who had a much better race than Massa."
Chrisbolton on 606

Lap 50: Kovalainen parks his McLaren back in the garage. His race is run. Oh let's hope some good birthday presents and cake come as consolation.

Lap 49: And that's it. Massa looms large in Raikkonen's mirror and eases past his team-mate down the back straight ahead of the penultimate corner. Massa up into second, and eight points to the good in the title race.

"If it was team orders it's exactly the right thing for Ferrari to do," says BBC 5 Live commentator David Croft.

"It's fair enough as that's a repayment for last year when Massa did exactly the same thing and let Kimi past him in Brazil so he could win the championship," adds 5 Live analyst Maurice Hamilton.

Lap 48: Massa has Raikkonen in his sights now. He's 1.1secs behind.

Lap 45: At the front, Hamilton has a fairly insurmountable 13.9-second lead over Raikkonen, who is 2.0secs ahead of his Ferrari team-mate Massa. Kovalainen in the second McLaren is down in 15th place after his unfortunate puncture and that will have some bearing on the constructors' championship - as things stand Ferrari are leading McLaren by seven points.

Lap 44: The gap between the two Ferraris has diminished to 1.9 seconds now. No sign of Raikkonen moving over yet.

"There are all sorts of rumours flying around the paddock that even though Raikkonen has re-signed for Ferrari there are factions in the Ferrari team who are not happy with his performances this season. They are said to prefer Fernando Alonso joining the team. If Raikkonen is going to be eased out maybe he won't want to move over for his team-mate."
BBC 5 Live analyst Maurice Hamilton

Championship update: If the race finishes right now, Hamilton will take 10 points for the victory with Massa collecting six for third place. That means Hamilton will hold a nine-point lead over Massa going into the last race in Brazil. BUT Raikkonen is expected to concede second place to his Ferrari team-mate - no sign of that happening yet though.

Lap 40: Kubica comes back to the BMW Sauber garage for the final time. The Pole's chances of the title are pretty much over unless he wins the race in Shanghai.

Lap 39: Heidfeld comes back to the BMW Sauber pits from second place which sees the two Ferraris loom over Hamilton's shoulder. Massa is just three seconds behind Raikkonen and the question is when will the Finn let his team-mate past?

Lap 38: Hamilton dives back to the McLaren pits and is followed by Raikkonen. Hamilton had built up a big enough gap to come back out in the lead ahead of Heidfeld while Raikkonen slots in in third with Massa fourth.

Lap 37: Massa returns to the Ferrari pits to be fuelled for the rest of the race and takes on the hard tyres. He rejoins after his stop in fourth.

Lap 36: Alonso pits from fourth place and takes on the softer tyres.

Lap 35: Oh no, it's bad luck for birthday boy for Kovalainen as his front right tyre starts to deflate badly. He has to nurse his McLaren round the track as the tyre gets worse and worse and spits rubber out on the track. The Finn was fifth before he retreated to the pits.

Lap 33: It's plain-sailing for Hamilton at the moment as he builds up an eight-second lead over Raikkonen. It looks like those early laps when the McLaren driver put his foot down really made a difference.

0855: "Let's just hope Lewis can continue to drive away like this..."
MyLeftNut on 606

Lap 28: Raikkonen is eating into Hamilton's lead a little bit but the Englishman is still ahead by 6.4secs. The Finn is keeping Hamilton on his toes which will help out Massa, who is 8.8secs behind his Ferrari team-mate in third.

"Raikkonen is making Hamilton push on and the hope has to be by doing that they will make Hamilton abuse his tyres which he has a habit of doing."
BBC 5 Live analyst Maurice Hamilton

Lap 25: Kubica trundles back to the BMW Sauber pits from third place. It's a quick splash and dash so looks like he will be coming in again and is not on a one-stop strategy. Kubica's departure bumps Massa up into third behind his Ferrari team-mate Raikkonen. Behind the Brazilian is Alonso, winner of the last two races, who is having a quiet race so far.

0845: "I'm a bus driver and have to work today. First one I have missed this season! Go Lewis..."
Anonymous via text

Also hello to another Anonymous bod who texted in to say there's been a power cut in north London and so is following the race via his/her mobile. Don't forget you can also follow the race on BBC Radio 5 Live!

Lap 23: Kubica sets a personal best lap time in third. The BMW Sauber team radio tells the Pole his pace is good and that they will go for the hard tyres when he comes back to the pits.

Championship update: As things stand right now, Hamilton would have a 10-point lead over Massa in the title race which means it would go down to the last race in Brazil. BUT Kubica has yet to pit from third so Massa should be able to close the gap a little more. The two Ferraris are also likely to swap places to boost Massa's score too. Did I explain that clearly? Good.

Lap 19: The run of pits-stops has worked out very nicely for Hamilton. He's extended his lead over Raikkonen to 6.9secs while Massa is 14.1secs adrift of his front-running title rival. Massa is not matching Raikkonen or Hamilton for pace at the moment and doesn't look like he's going to catch up anytime soon.

Lap 18: Birthday boy Kovalainen pits from the lead and Hamilton moves back in front in China. Vettel dives back into the Toro Rosso pits and that puts Raikkonen back into second behind the Englishman with Kubica third ahead of Massa. Don't forget, Kubica has yet to pit though.

Lap 17: Heidfeld pits from second as the frontrunners shuffle themselves once more in Shanghai. Hamilton is still on the charge.

Lap 16: Sutil's race is run.

Lap 15: Adrian Sutil has spun his Force India at the last corner and the race is yellow flagged. Hamilton comes into the pits and takes on a new set of hard tyres. Raikkonen also comes back into the Ferrari pits. Kovalainen takes over at the lead.

Lap 14: The Ferrari pits are readying themselves and Massa comes in from third place. Alonso nips back to the Renault garage too.

Lap 12: Hamilton makes a huge sideways slide going into Turn Two but it looks like it's just a little glitch for the race leader. Webber comes back to the Red Bulls pits for his first glug of fuel and he's not hanging about in there.

Lap 11: Its looks like Raikkonen has finally got his Ferrari warmed up as he sets the fastest lap of 1:36.612. More news on the weather, apparently now it's just a 20% chance of rain now.

Championship update: If the race were to finish right now, Hamilton would have 94 points and Massa 85 which means the title would be decided in Brazil.

Lap nine: Hamilton sets yet another new fastest lap. Further down the field, Webber hauls his Red Bull passed Piquet's Renault at the last corner to move up into ninth place after starting 16th on the grid.

Lap eight: Apparently, there's now a 40% chance of rain at some point during the race. A bit of late wet weather drama is just what we wanted right?

Lap six: Hamilton now has a 3.5sec lead over Raikkonen after roaring to another fastest lap. Meanwhile, BMW Sauber must have got wind of Kovalainen's struggle as the team radio, sounding eerily like a Dalek, tells Heidfeld: "Put pressure on Kovalainen."

Lap four: Trulli's race is run, despite having a new nose fitted to his Toyota. Here's what the jovial Italian tells 5 Live. "They told me that Bourdais hit me in the back and he damaged all my car and I couldn't carry on. It's frustrating. I think he has to slow down and be a bit more quiet at the start."

Lap three: Hamilton sets a new fastest lap of 1:37.081 and his lead over Raikkonen is now 2.7secs. It looks like Kovalainen in the second McLaren is in a spot of trouble as he is losing ground to Alonso in fourth place.

Lap two: Some other interesting news from the opening stages in Shanghai. Kubica, who is still fighting for the title by the skin of his teeth, moves up to eighth from 11th on the grid, getting himself into the points. Meanwhile, at the front Hamilton is absolutely flying.

Lap one: Hamilton has a 1.1 second lead over Raikkonen after charging away from pole position. The most exciting action on the first lap is a fascinating duel between Kovalainen and Alonso. Kovalainen passed Alonso's Renault for fourth place but the double world champion was having none of it and snatched fourth place back into the hairpin. Jarno Trulli and Bourdais touch at the start and Trulli goes back to the pits for repairs.

0804: And we're off! A great start for Hamilton as he gets off cleanly and does not allow himself to be overtaken by his Ferrari rivals.

0801: The drivers have their feet on their pedals and off they go for the parade lap. The grid clears. Both Ferraris are starting on the softer tyres. Hamilton goes for the harder choice as does Fernando Alonso in fourth place and Kubica in 11th.

"Massa is looking for a bit of an attack in the early stages that would suggest."
BBC 5 Live analyst Maurice Hamilton

0756: "I reckon Hamilton gets poor start and Raikkonen takes him off of first corner. Massa wins."
Norfstandlad on 606

0753: BBC 5 Live's Holly Samos sends word that no rain is expected during the race. She's only bumped into Lewis' Dad Anthony too; he says: "Lewis won't do anything different [at the start]. He'll approach the race in the same manner as he has the rest of the year. I tried not to talk to him about anything - all I can do is to give support."

0750: By the way, a quick word on how the grid is lined up. Hamilton starts on pole for the seventh time this season with Kimi Raikkonen on the front row alongside him. Massa starts in third while Kubica is down in 11th after a dismal qualifying display. Nick Heidfeld in the second BMW Sauber starts in 9th after being demoted for impeding David Coulthard while DC's team-mate Mark Webber starts in 16th after being penalised for changing his engine.

0745: Felipe Massa is the only driver loitering near his car on the grid at the moment. He's leaning against the fence with a towel wrapped around his neck - no signs of nerves from the Brazilian either.

0743: "Heikki to take out Massa? Hamilton to sit behind Massa."
Speculation by Anonymous via text on 81111

0739: Hamilton will answer some questions about his ability to handle pressure in Shanghai. It was at this race last season that the Englishman's hopes of winning the world title began to unravel. Hamilton, the championship leader, was dominating all weekend before he spun into the gravel at the pit-lane entry and was forced to retire from the race. Here's Hamilton's take on what went wrong in 2007:

"Last year I came here off a real high, we were very competitive again. I was nervous, I was nervous as hell [to think] that I could win the world championship - it was crazy. I drove phenomenally well in the wet conditions but one little mistake really hit home hard. I come here this year on not such a high but still as humble as can be with the best approach as possible as we're still in the lead."

0730: Hamilton looks cool as you like as he nestles into his cockpit ahead of the Chinese Grand Prix. His team-mate Kovalainen leaves the garage and off come Hamilton's tyre covers as he wheels his McLaren out onto the Shanghai track.

0728: "Raikkonen to take Hamilton out at the first corner anyone?"
Doug in Leeds via text on 81111

0725: Another key to the race could be the weather of course. There's been a lot of talk that it could rain during the race. Our BBC 5 Live colleagues at the track tell us that it is very muggy and getting more overcast by the second. The temperature is up at 28C - and the forecast is saying rain for later.

0718: "The key to the race will be Raikkonen. If he can get in front of Hamilton at the start, this will work out in favour of Massa. Raikkonen will try to control the pace of the race so Massa will not be too far away from the front two, due to Massa being more heavily fuelled. I don't expect Massa to get in front of Hamilton until the second pitstop."
Fabian87 on 606 (which opens at 0730)

0711: There could be double celebrations in the McLaren garage today because... Happy Birthday Heikki Kovalainen! 21 again - sorry, 27.

The Finn wasn't too happy with himself after qualifying in fifth place but when a pesky journalist asked him if his birthday was ruined he said: "No, it will be even better because it's better to win from fifth than from pole. I don't see any reason why it shouldn't be a good birthday." I say, don't make any judgements on your birthday until you see what kind of cake Ron Dennis buys you.

0705: So, Hamilton tops the drivers' standings on 84 points - five points ahead of Felipe Massa and 12 ahead of BMW Sauber's Robert Kubica, the other men in the title hunt.

The 23-year-old Englishman can win the title on Sunday in one of several scenarios: if he wins, with Massa lower than fourth; if he is second, with Massa lower than sixth; or if he is third, with Massa out of the points, as long as Kubica does not win.

Here's what Hamilton says about winning the title:

"My personal feeling is that you can't think about it because, however exciting and amazing it could be, it's only done when it's done. I can only dream of what it would feel like to be world champion so I work every day towards it to continue doing the best job I can and hopefully one day I will be world champion. I know my family would be really proud and it would make me happier than ever."

0700: Welcome to Sunday 19th October 2008. We could be about to witness an historic day in Shanghai, don't you know.

A chap called Lewis Hamilton could be crowned world champion if all goes to plan in the Chinese Grand Prix.

If he does it he'll become Britain's first champion since Damon Hill topped the table in 1996 and, at the age of 23, Hamilton will assume Fernando Alonso's mantle as F1's youngest world champion.

It's fair to say he's got quite a lot riding on this Grand Prix and if I were in his racing shoes my hands would be shaking so much I'd be straight in the gravel pit - no question.

Can he do it, will he do, is today the day or will this season's rollercoaster world championship go down to the wire in Brazil?

Text in on 81111 or drop me a line on 606 which is opening early at 0730 BST for the occasion.

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