Kimi Raikkonen and Felipe Massa kept their Formula One title hopes alive with a Ferrari one-two at the Turkish Grand Prix while a tyre puncture dropped Lewis Hamilton’s championship chances.
Hamilton was on course for a 3rd place that would have increased his lead over his McLaren team-mate Alonson
But then, with 15 of the 58 laps remaining at the Istanbul Park circuit, and in blistering temperatures hitting the mid-30s, the 22-year-old Briton’s right front tyre shredded.
Hamilton managed to recover and had to settle for fifth, but his advantage over Alonso – who grabbed a place on the podium – is now just five points with five grands prix remaining.
An excitedly jubilant Phillipe Massa said: “It’s amazing. It’s the second time I’ve won here from pole, it’s fantastic. I love the place, I love the track. Here is where my career takes a switch when I can start fighting with the frontrunners. I’m proud to win in front of my mum and dad as there are here.”
Raikkonen felt second was the best he could manage after passing Hamilton off the grid into the first corner. “We had a good car, in these days in Formula One it’s hard to get past – the race was decided yesterday in the qualifying rounds,” said Raikkonen. When two team-mates are fighting, it’s usually who is first that is going to stay there.”
Lewis Hamilton told his swelling army of followers not to worry after seeing his lead in the world championship cut to five points. A
Fortunately, this is not a disaster. We won the last race, and with five to go I’m still leading by five points. It’s not over. Don’t worry.”
Hamilton had no warning as he hit the brakes going into turn nine on the 43rd lap. The pit stop he was about to make took on added urgency when his front right tyre disintegrated at 190mph pitching him on to the asphalt run-off. For a few dramatic seconds at the point the tyre exploded Hamilton thought the game was up.
“I never had any warning. I exited the fast left-hander – turn eight – and I saw some bits fly off the tyre. All I knew, as soon as I hit the brakes into turn nine, was the tyre exploded,” he added.
“The wheel locked up, the car was moving around, and I was very lucky to stop it and turn because it looked as if I was going to head into the wall. From then on I had to try to bring the car home, but the tyre was flapping around