Lewis Hamilton Takes The Win In China
In a race that he dominated from start to finish, Lewis Hamilton, driving his Vodafone McLaren Mercedes F1 car, won Sunday's 2008 Chinese Grand Prix at the Shanghai International Circuit. The two Ferrari's of Raikkonen and Massa were in hot pursuit throughout the race but didn't appear to have the matching speed of Hamilton's Vodafone McLaren Mercedes car. Second to cross the finish line was Ferrari's Felipe Massa, who nearing the end of the race, was allowed an overtaking manoeuvre into second place by his Ferrari teammate, Kimi Raikkonen, who finished third.
Lewis Hamilton started in pole position and led 53 of 56 laps (305.066 km), setting the fastest lap of the race and finishing 14.9 seconds ahead of Massa. With the win in China, Hamilton now has 94 points and a seven point lead over his rival, Ferrari's Felipe Massa, in the quest for the F1 Driver's Championship. It will go down to the last race two weeks from now in Sao, Paulo Brazil to determine the 2008 champion between the two. Ferrari continues to lead the Constructor's Championship with 156 points to Vodafone McLaren Mercedes' 145.
At the start of the race Hamilton pulled away cleanly, maintaining his lead with Kimi Raikkonen behind him in second place. By about lap three, it was apparent that the Vodafone McLaren Mercedes F1 car was quicker than the either Ferrari as Hamilton was putting in 0.5 second faster laps. By lap 10, Lewis Hamilton had gained a 3.9 second lead over Kimi Raikkonen (Ferrari). On lap 13, Hamilton posted the fastest lap of the race with a 1m36.325, which amazingly was only .022 seconds slower than the lap he set yesterday in qualifying (1m36.303) to gain the pole.
Both Raikkonen and Hamilton took their pit stop on lap 38 and Hamilton emerged on the track with the lead after the pits. By lap 50, Lewis had a 16.6 second lead over Felipe Massa, who had by that time secured second place. On lap 56, Lewis crossed the finish line 14.9 seconds ahead of Massa to take the chequered flag and win his ninth career Formula 1 race.
Lewis Hamilton had the following to say about the performance of his car and his team, "Everything just went right this weekend: our car has been simply phenomenal. I made one of my best-ever starts and had perfect balance during the race. I owe so much of that to the guys in the team - both at the track and back home; they did an amazing job so a big thanks to them. I've got a seven-point lead in the world championship, but that doesn't allow me to take anything for granted. It may be another step towards my dream but we've still got to stay calm and keep our heads. I just hope we can pull through."