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Massa out of the wilderness with desert win

Latest update : 2008-04-06

Brazilian driver Felipe Massa claimed his first points of the season with a win at the Bahrain Grand Prix ahead of Ferrari teammate Kimi Raikkonen. Second on the grid, Massa stormed into the lead in the first lap and kept it until the finishing line.

Brazilian Felipe Massa stormed to victory here on Sunday for his second successive victory in the Bahrain Grand Prix and answer his mounting bank of critics as his Ferrari team celebrated a comfortable one-two with Kimi Raikkonen finishing second.
  
The 26-year-old Latin American, who had failed to score a point after an error-strewn performance in both opening races, came home as a comfortable winner ahead of his team-mate defending drivers world champion Finn Kimi Rakkkonen.
  
In a race overshadowed by the sex scandal surrounding embattled 67-year-old Briton Max Mosley, who is fighting to keep his job as president of the sport's ruling body, the International Motoring Federation (FIA), Ferrari were the dominant and supreme force.
  
They came home first and second ahead of third-placed Pole Robert Kubica of BMW, who had started from the first pole position of his career, and his team-mate German Nick Heidfeld.
  
This was enough for the BMW-Sauber team to lead the constructors' championship for the first time.
  
Massa clearly loves the 5.412 kms desert track in Sakhir as he repeated last year's triumph, dominating the 57-lap race after blasting off the grid to take the lead from BMW's Robert Kubica, the first Polish driver to start a grand prix from pole.
  
It was Massa's sixth career win.
  
Massa, whose future at Ferrari is already the subject of speculation, led for all but six laps following his second pit-stop and always kept Raikkonen, winner of the last race in Malaysia, at bay.
  
Kubica finished third from his team-mate German Nick Heidfeld, confirming BMW's emergence as a championship force. The German car giant leads the Constructors' championship for the first time by one point from Ferrari.
  
Finland's Heikki Kovalainen was fifth for McLaren with Italian Jarno Trulli sixth in the Toyota.
  
Red Bull's Australian Mark Webber and Williams racer German Nico Rosberg were the other points scorers in seventh and eighth.
  
Raikkonen now leads the drivers' standings on 19 points, three ahead of Heidfeld with Hamilton, Kovalainen and Kubica all on 14.
  
Pre-race championship leader Hamilton was always struggling having dropped from third to 11th at the start after getting stuck on the grid when the red lights went out.
  
The British driver then lost his front wing after ramming into the back of former team-mate Fernando Alonso's Renault on lap two. He survived a massive trip across the gravel to pit for a new nose but returned back in 18th spot.
  
Ferrari dominated from the start. On a hot, windy and sand-strewn circuit, the 23-year-old Pole Kubica was left behind as the leading Ferrari F2008 driven by the Brazilian took control.
  
Massa had a minor drama before the formation lap when he was called back to the Ferrari garage to have his radio system checked over and have new ear plugs fitted.
  
But that did not hold him up on the track and while he pulled away at the start, the luckless Hamilton was left struggling to leave the grid.
  
From third on the grid, the 23-year-old Briton fell back to 10th and soon after was involved in a dramatic collision with his great rival and former team-mate double world champion Spaniard Fernando Alonso.
  
As they exited a slow corner, it appeared that the Renault driver slowed slightly and Hamilton, accelerating hard, hit the rear of his car with the front of his McLaren, and flew into the air.
  
Hamilton's car was damaged and he had to pit for a new nose and front wing.
  
This left him 18th when he rejoined as his chances of hanging on to the leadership of the early-season drivers' championship were wrecked.
  
At the front, as Massa pulled away, Raikkonen worked his way past Kubica for second and the two Ferrari were then able to pull away in a race of their own.
  
Hamilton was battling with a wounded car and others suffered, too, from collisions including the two Britons Jenson Button and David Coulthard.
  
The Honda driver attempted to pass the Red Bull man but ended up hitting him as the Scot 'closed the door' in the braking zone.
  
"That's not the first time he has done that," stormed Button, talking about one of his best friends and Monte Carlo neighbours. "He left it too late and there was nowhere for me to go."

Date created : 2008-04-06

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