2008 Grande Premio do Brasil
Autodromo Jose Carlos Pace, Interlagos, Sau Paulo, Brazil
*LIVE* on ITV1 for the last time
Anchor: Steve Rider
Analyst: Mark Blundell
Lead commentary: James Allen
Expert commentary: Martin Brundle
Pitlane; Ted Kravitz (strategy), Louise Goodman (DNFs)
I note there is no title sponsor for this race, just looking at the schedule list on f1.com and 4 of the 18 are unsponsored.
I’m watching ITV News before coverage begins, Gordon Brown says he and the rest of Britain are behind Lewis Hamilton. I feel better for knowing that and I’m sure Lewis does too.
While we wait there are 7 drivers on the second race in the two-race engine cycle: Hamilton, Heidfeld, Coulthard, Webber, Rosberg, Nakajima and Sutil. These guys may have to take it easy towards the end if they are worried about reliability. Everyone else can go for it without those nagging doubts in the mind about whether the engine will last.
Coverage begins at 16.04 (56 mins to go) and we immediately launch into the dramatic title fight montage. Nice way to set the scene.
There are storm clouds around the circuit, some of them look very dark! Mark says they can hear the odd crack of thunder.
Recap of what is needed: Lewis needs to finish 5th or better. Felipe needs to finish 1st or 2nd.
51 mins to go – Qualifying Review with James Allen
Massa (P1) / Trulli (P2)
Raikkonen / Hamilton
Kovalainen / Alonso
Vettel / Heidfeld
Bourdais / Glock
Piquet / Webber
Kubica / Coulthard
Barrichello / Nakajima
Button / Rosberg
Fisichella / Sutil
Rapid-fire post-qual chats:
Jarno: If I’m wheel to wheel at the start on the inside I won’t give up.
Kimi: 3rd is a good place to start, I’d prefer that to 2nd place, on the clean side so should get a good start.
Heikki: If I can help Lewis in any way I will do the best I can.
Lewis: Off pole it is always a bit easier, at P4 we are on the dirtier side, I’ve just got to keep my nose clean.
Steve thanks Lewis from ITV for all his help over the last two years.
Lewis thanks ITV for all their support going back to his GP2 days.
Cut back to Steve live in pitlane: “We shouldn’t be biased especially standing here in front of the Ferrari pits, but you all know that we are.”
Circuit Review with Martin Brundle
We are onboard with Felipe Massa for his pole lap.
195mph into the Senna S turn 1.
Full power on exit on to the straight.
195mph into Decida de Lago.
Into the twisty stuff, good traction, he missed the apex of turn 10.
The compression in Mergulho knocks you out, hook into Juncao for the long run to the line.
44 minutes to the start, a review of last year’s start where Lewis messed up at turn 3 or 4.
Recorded segment with Louise talking to Lewis and clips of this and that. I don’t really learn anything new, we’ve seen all this before.
Lewis says he’s not concerned that Massa is on pole.
Over to Ted with clips of Senna winning at Interlagos. Says there’s a lot of pressure to live up to Senna for any Brazilian driver.
Emerson Fittipaldi: He’s A very good team player, a special year for him.
Kimi: For me it doesn’t matter who wins. For sure for out team it would be nice for Felipe but I don’t really think about it, whoever wins deserves it.
Ted is now on the grid… no he’s by the grandstand alonsgide the grid! The crowd smell of beer. Gets out a British flag and they all start booing, throwing a bit of beer over him!
Cut to Red Bull where there are cheers for DC. A lone piper plays Flower of Scotland!
DC: “It’s great to see the sentiment in the paddock. I may not have won the championship but I’ve made a few friends along the way.”
36 mins to go
Steve’s pretty emotional as he presented DC with the Autosport Young Driver of the Year award some 20 years ago.
“It’s also time to review ITV’s 12 years in the sport” and they replay the My Chemical Romance video I posted last night.
The ITV-F1 website will continue into the winter and all through next season. Competition time, win a trip to the inaugural Abu Dhabi GP.
30 minutes, engines have fired and cars are starting to leave the pits. Mark is rabbitting on about the pressure Lewis is under.
Ad break. First of the day after half an hour, nice going.
Louise with Vettel: We’ll try and survive the first lap then anything can happen. It will be an interesting race, anything is possible.
Martin is on the grid alongside the safety car. Says there is less chance of rain now, the cloud is breaking up and moving away. Short run to first corner.
Walking back through the grid, finds Trulli: “It’s nice to be on the front row, I will do my race, I have no sympathy for anyone I want my best possible result, try to score as many points as possible.” Said with a smile and cheeky grin!
Martin says Jarno could play a major role, Kimi will be desperate to get past him. Expects Kimi to back Lewis into the pack, slow him down.
Left-hand side is the clean side of the grid, the racing line with the rubber.
Finds a random mechanic from McLaren. His job is to move tyres around. Worthwhile interview Martin…
He goes to Ron Dennis, what did you say to Lewis: “Avoid trouble, follow instructions, this is as much about the team as it is him.”
With Bernie, 25 of 58 championships have come down to the last race, how do you do it? “It’s not easy, more difficult every year!” Crowd? They were booing earlier. “It’s not good to boo anyone, cheer but not boo.”
Can’t get anyone else, they are too busy. Back to Steve.
Ted with Alan Permayne of Renault. They are trying to get a podium.
Louise with Anthony Hamilton who has his fingers crossed, says Lewis loves the car and the circuit, it’ll be a really good day.
10 minutes – Drivers are suited and booted, helmets are now going on.
5 minutes – F1 ident graphics, track map.
We hand over to James and Martin in the commentary box above the pits.
James: 12 years since the last British champion, 16 years for Brazil.
RAIN!! It is raining on the grid!!
Martin: “That surprised a lot of teams. Everyone I spoke to on the grid said it was breaking up.”
This is heavy rain.
Race Control – Formation lap will start at 15:10 local (that’s 12 minutes from now).
Ted says this is Intermediate weather. FIA man is soaked through.
Chaos on the grid as teams change tyres but look, the rain has stopped already and the guys are saying when it stops it evaporates very quickly because it is so hot.
The Safety Car had left the grid and took up station at the end of the lap in case it needed to pick up the field at the start. They’ve now brought it around to the front of the grid in case an SC start is needed, in which case the extreme wet tyres will be required under the rules.
Reminder: In F1 the official ‘wet’ tyres everyone calls ‘intermediates’. The ‘extreme wets’ are known as just ‘wets’. F1 teams like to name things as they’ve always been known rather than the supplier’s marketing reasons.
Alonso radio: Radar is clear for 40 minutes.
Ted agrees as he’s seen Ferrari’s radar. All the teams have the radar data from Meteo France.
ITV have taken the opportunity for an ad break.
I’ve taken the opportunity to grab a beer. Carlsberg Export.
The Safety Car has been around for a sighting lap. It is wet in places, bone dry in others.
Martin tips Toro Rosso for a good result, they won at Monza in the rain.
Tyre warmers are coming off the cars, what do people have?
Lewis is on full wets. Red lights flashing on the cars, when you run wets you MUST have your rain light turned on.
17.10: Cars pull away on the formation lap, lots of spray.
Starting order: Massa, Trulli, Kimi, Lewis, Heikki, Alonso, Vettel, Heidfeld, Bourdais, Glock, Piquet, Webber, Kubica, Coulthard, Barrichello, Nakajima, Button, Rosberg, Fisichella, Sutil – No penalties!
Martin: It has rained mostly around the pit straight area. Kubica is on dry tyres. The Bridestone inters have a very wide operating window, it can be quite dry and they still work.
Grid forming. Kubica has pitted.
They ease through turn one, crash in turn 2. DC spun with another car.
Kovy has been taken by Vettel and Alonso.
Safety Car for the incident at turns one and two. This is what I said earlier about parking it at the end of the lap.
Piquet is out with a broken wing. Ah shit, Coulthard gets out of the car, he couldn’t recover it. That’s hugely disappointing for two reasons: this was his last race, he deserved a good race, the whole paddock seemed to want him to do well. Secondly he was the guy running the camera inside the helmet!
Ad break. Order as they circulate on Lap2:
Massa, Trulli, Kimi, Lewis, Vettel, Alonso, Kova, Bourdais, Glock, Webber, Barrichello, Heidfeld, Rosberg, Button, Sutil, Fisi, Naka, Kubica
Fisi pits at the end of L2.
Replay of Vettel and Alonso passing Kovalainen.
DC is talking to his guys on the pitwall to help Webber’s race. Martin thinks DC took a hit from Nakajima. Piquet was out a little further around the corner.
Replay of the start: Heikki blocks Vettel to let Hamilton away.
Rosberg tags Coulthard who was knocked into Nakajima.
Helmet cam, he’s just pushed off. Rosberg’s fault entirely.
Lights out on the SC. Track is largely dry apart from the main straight, turns one and two, and the pitlane.
Fisi pitted a lap ago?
L4 – RESTART
Heikki overtook Alonso on entry to turn one but Alonso repasses in 2.
L5 – Heidfeld passes Barrichello for 11th. Fisichella had taken dry tyres on his stop and is last, 6 seconds per lap slower. Will it pay off for him later or will it cost too much time?
L7 – Massa leads Trulli by 1.8s.
Louise with DC: “Took a cautious approach, left plenty of room, Rosberg hit me and spun me around, then Nakajima continued our crashing love affair. I wanted to get to the chequered flag and do some donuts which I think I would get fined for!” He thanks his parents and his fiance.
Raikkonen goes for Trulli but doesn’t make it.
Rosberg pits, so does Button. Both take dry tyres as Fisichella is setting reasonable times now.
Martin says this is the first wet running of the weekend.
Replay: Heidfeld passes Webber for 10th.
L9 – Bourdais and Glock pit, so do Sutil and Nakajima. I’m getting this from live timing, the TV is a few seconds behind on noticing.
A Honda and Williams have a fight exiting the pits.
Martin: The treaded tyres fall away quickly when they overheat.
Vettel, Alonso, Webber pit. Barrichello too.
Fisichella sets a purple time in sector 2!
A fire extinguisher has gone off at Honda! No car there..
L10 – Massa pits, Kovalainen and Heidfeld also in.
Trulli leads from Raikkonen and Hamilton. Kovalainen was sat there for a long time, problem on the right rear, he’ll lose a lot of places.
L11 – Trulli, Raikkonen and Hamilton now pit – the last to do so.
Trulli beats Hamilton, just. Raikkonen beats the pair of them.
Ted says they don’t need to use the soft tyres now that it has been raining.
Hamilton is behind Vettel, Alonso and Fisichella! Fisi is 7th! GREAT call from him and Force India.
Massa had a big slide at turn one.
Nakajima spun it at turn one, continues.
Hamilton passes Trulli at turn one and spuns, continues. Fisi is hustling Kimi!
L14 – Massa, Vettel(!), Alonso, Kimi, Fisi(!), Hamilton, Glock, Bourdais, Trulli, Heidfeld, Webber, Kovalainen, Barrichello, Button, Rosberg, Sutil, Kubica, Nakajima
Hamilton 6th, if it ends now Massa would win the title on the tiebreak.
Kimi is slow, does he have no pace – or is it deliberate?
L16 – Vettel and ALonso are matching Massa’s lap times. Massa is 0.9s ahead of Vettel, then another 1.1 to Alonso, and live timing has chosen this moment to freeze.
Radio to Vettel, Massa is ten laps longer.
Timing is back.
L18 – Martin notices that Fisi is on the softer rubber, gives more speed but wears out sooner.
Hamilton passes Fisichella on the wet part of the track on dry tyres!
He jumps to hyperspace, he’s practically out of Fisi’s vision already.
McLaren mechanics clapping, very happy.
Sebastien Vettel sets the fastest lap of the race!
The top 5 cars are somewhat faster than the rest of the field. Several cars are now backed up behind Fisichella, costing them time. Glock has cleared Fisichella.
Bourdais is now trying it.
L20 (where is the time going?) – Bourdais alongside, Fisi resists.
Trulli pushes Bourdais off the track at turn 1, he loses 5 places.
Martin: “I don’t know how the stewards will see this one, it’s bordering on rude.”
Vettel has been faster than Massa for two laps now. Factory Ferrari outclassed by customer Ferrari engine. Sebatien waves at Adrian Newey as he goes by (he doesn’t but he should).
L23 – Ad break.
L25 – We’re back. Fisichella now has Trulli and Kovalainen behind him. Heidfeld is catching them.
Vettel sets another fastest lap.
Glock is catching Hamilton by a couple of tenths per lap. Hamilton is 5th and isn’t catching anyone.
L27 – Kovalainen passes Trulli on the front straight.
L28 – Vettel pits. Commentary thinks this may have screwed his day.
Kovalainen sweeps past Fisichella on the main straight, Kovy on a charge. He’s 17sec or so behind Hamilton with only Glock between them.
L29 – Alonso radio: “Vettel was fuelled much shorted than we thought, your race is with Massa.”
Massa is catching a Williams to lap it.
Ted reports that Toyota did NOT fuel Glock when they switched to dries so McLaren’s day will get a little easier.
It gave him a good position but he’ll get the cost of that now.
L31 – Ad break.
L33 – We’re back.
Glock set the fastest lap of the race a lap ago.
Martin: “If Hamilton wants the championship he’s got to get on the programme. He’s matching Massa’s times at last.”
As he says that Massa smashes the fastest lap! Yet we’re still 1.5sec or so off a completely dry lap time. Nobody else is anywhere near Massa’s time.
L34 – Button pits.
L37 – Glock pits. Martin asks James if they can get to the end of the race from here.. James says yes, he thinks they can. It is a very long stop.
He’s out alongside Rosberg in 14th, losing 9 places.
Ted says the fuel nozzle was out of position so they lost a lot time resetting the position.
L38 – Felipe Massa pits. Ferrari’s garage is at pit entry this week so he’s straight in. 9.4sec stop, Martin says he’ll need to come in again.
Fisi and Bourdais are also in.
So Alonso leads, we expect him in over the next couple of laps.
L41 – Alonso is in, so is Hamilton.
We don’t see Alonso rejoin. Both will have to stop again
Hamilton is out ahead of Trulli, he’s now in 6th position.
L42 – Renault tell Alonso that Vettel will stop again.
Martin says the cars don’t all have the same fuel tank size so some cars can go significantly further than others.
L43 – Kovalainen pits. 8.8sec stop.
L44 – Raikkonen pits. 5.1sec stop. Not sure if the clock was wrong there.
James: He’ll only be the champion for another 28 laps.
Raikkonen is out ahead of Hamilton.
Button passes Barrichello for 11th, team-mate pass.
L45 – ad break.
Let’s recap the positions from live timing:
Massa 4.1s ahead of Vettel who will need to stop shortly, then another 3.2 to Alonso, 10.7 to Kimi, 2.7 to Hamilton in 5th, 6.0 to Webber, 10.0 to Kovalainen, then Glock, Trulli, Heidfeld, Button, Barrichello, Rosberg, Bourdais, Kubica, Nakajima (lapped), Fisichella, Sutil.
BMW are having a very flat day. Webber and Nakajima have stopped once, everyone else twice, although obviously the picture could be masked because of the switch to dries.
L47 – we’re back.
L49 – Webber is now in. Hamilton has Kubica on his arse but Robert is a lap behind.
Ted says the fuel consumption is lower than expected because laptimes are slower than they have been in practice. It is changing the fuel strategy.
Vettel is catching Massa again and is just 1.9s behind now. We expect Vettel in but not sure if the others will definitely stop. They may have saved fuel at some of the stops, not pitted on empty.
L52 – Vettel pits. 20 laps go to. Vettel comes out behind Hamilton (and the lapped Kubica).
Kubica is 16th because of the wrong decision on tyres at the start.
L54 – Vettel is 2.2sec behind Hamilton.
Martin is thinking maybe they can all now squeeze the fuel to the end of the race, maybe that’s why laptimes are so much slower.
L55 – ad break.
L57 – we’re back with 15 laps to go, sorry 14 now.
Renault to Alonso: There may be rain soon.
Hamilton has picked his pace up to match Vettel who is now right behind him, 1.0sec.
Kubica radio: Could rain in ten minutes.
Martin says: “Stay tuned, this is a long way from over. 13 laps is about 15 minutes!”
I say this could be Spa all over again!
Kimi is catching Fernando quite quickly, the gap is 3.1 seconds.
L60 – Ted is watching the weather coming in. It will hit the main straight first and may not hit the rest of the circuit.
Eleven laps to go.
Massa grew up around here and hung out at the kart track just over the wall after turn 2. I remember the same thing being said of Barrichello in recent years.
Massa, then Alonso 12.3sec back, then Kimi 1.7sec back from Alonso, Hamilton is 12.2sec behind Kimi.
Alonso laps Bourdais into turn one.
James speculating whether Ron Dennis will step down from his role at McLaren if Lewis wins.
L64 – Radio to Nico Rosberg: “As soon as you seen rain on the visor let us know and we’ll change tyres.”
We’re told there is light rain in the paddock. Nakajima pits. We don’t see it. Did he gamble on wets? He’s at the back with a damaged car from the Coulthard incident, so he may as well.
Positions 11th down have been lapped.
L66 – Raining halfway around the track. Heidfeld takes the gamble he did at Spa.
Barrichello, Button, Rosberg, Bourdais, Fisi all in for inters.
Who whole back of the field has pitted!! It is raining on the main straight.
Vettel attacking Hamilton.
Martin is calling for intermediates for everyone. Ferrari are scrambling for tyres.
Raikkonen is in, Massa did NOT pit. Alonso is in. Hamilton is in with Vettel.
Will Glock and Kovalainen make it to the end without pitting? There are FIVE LAPS to go.
L67 – Massa pits. Getting dark at Interlagos. We can’t see where Hamilton rejoined. Timing hasn’t caught up.
Martin: If it doesn’t rain Hamilton doesn’t get the championship, no Vettel is still behind, he needs to keep Vettel behind him to win it.
L68: Massa, Alonso, Kimi, Glock, Hamilton, Vettel, Trulli, Kovalainen, Webber, Heidfeld (top ten)
If Vettel passes Lewis then it is all over. Hamilton has a lot of traffic.
L69 – Kubica pushes past Vettel! To unlap himself, then gets Lewis.
VETTEL passes Lewis!! Now raining harder.
Can Glock handle the rain on his dry tyres?? Can Hamilton retake Vettel?
Massa has started the last lap. Glock 15sec up on Hamilton.
Felipe Massa wins the race! Fuck I can’t type. Lewis passes Glock!!!
Hamilton wins the TITLE!!
Fucking hell how did that happen? Where did Glock come from?
Ferrari celebrated early.
Martin: “To be fair the kid did everthing right.”
Louise with Anthony: “What can I say. I can’t find any words. Great. Absolutely great. It’s a shame the crowd is booing this. We got the championship, now on to the next one.”
James: “We’ve done 206 with ITV and we’ve never seen a race like this, I hope we get to work together again.”
Martin: “Glock lost 18 seconds on the last lap.”
Radio – Massa thanks his team, crying.
Felipe is out of the car.
Fire in the pitlane! Button’s car is alight. Cameras catch up to Hamilton.
He can’t seem to get the steering wheel back on.
Look at the pitlane! Packed with media.
Martin: Thank you to every single person who’s worked on F1-ITV over the last twelve years.
Lewis with his crew at last. Chanting his name.
Straight to the podium, which is lit because of the darkness of the clouds.
Massa, Alonso, Raikkonen.
Brazilian anthem. Flags are raised and look like they’ll blow away!
Italian anthem. Shots of Hamilton with the British flag over his shoulder as Massa on the podium nearly breaks down in tears.
He collects his trophy which looks possibly Klingon.
Martin’s driver of the day: Massa.
Martin’s driver of the year: Hamilton – just.
Ted is with Lewis: “Lewis Hamilton World Champion, how does that feel?” There’s so much media he can’t speak, mic’s in his face, his dad tells everyone to back off let him get a drink. We cut away.
Champagne on the podium.
James and Martin sign off for the last time and we go to an ad break.
ITV have to get out of here because of a new series ripping off High School Musical so they’ll probably whizz through the post-race, even though it is their last.
We’re back with Dave Ryan of McLaren talking to Steve and Mark. “Well you said some champagne, it isn’t going to be some it’ll be heaps. I’ve never experienced anything like it. For a minute we thought ‘not the same thing again’. This is really special. He’s something special. You won’t see me sober again for a while!”
Lewis Hamilton wins this race by one point. Steve says if Massa had won we would have reflected on some strange stewards decicions.
Review of the race.
Hamilton went too wide which let Vettel through.
Mark: “Whatever happened to Glock changed the outcome of the race and the championship, for the better I think.”
Massa – “The race was just perfect. We did everything fantastically. Such difficult weather at the beginning. I’m so proud about the race, the team, the people who support me more than ever, much more than I expected. But then we saw Lewis passing Glock again and that’s a really mixed lot of emotion. Unfortunately we missed [by] one point but that’s racing, we need to be proud about our job, our race, our championship. It’s one more day of my life I’m going to learn a lot.”
ITV cut the conf to go to Martin Whitmarsh of McLaren – “we said to Lewis take it easy, we knew we were racing Glock, we had the GPS so could see him coming back towards us, we kept telling him Glock’s on dries.”
Nobody cares about Fernando and Kimi in the press conf do they? Nah didn’t think so.
To Lewis – “It’s been such a long journey, the team has done such a good job all year. Before it started to rain I was quite comfortable, my tyres were a bit shot, then Vettel got past me and the team told me I had to pass him, then I saw Glock and they said I had to pass him. I crossed the line and was like ‘have I done it have I done it?'”
Anthony interjects – “this is the dream from young kids everywhere. Huge respect to Mr Massa Senior and Junior, fantastic people.”
To Ron Dennis – “That was one hell of a call [on tyres]”. More platitudes.
Is there another Lewis? “We’ve got another couple of young guys we’re looking after. But Lewis is something else.” Wow look at the rain now!!
Steve – “A great way to end our coverage on ITV.”
Mark – “It’ll take a lot to beat us on the other channel but I bet they’ll try.”
Closing montage reviewing the season to the Kings of Leon.
And that’s it, we’re done for 2008.
Goodbye ITV. You gave us a lot of good things, you also sucked enormously in several ways. It will now be for the BBC to see what they can do.
Congratulations Lewis Hamilton, and Ferrari for the Constructors’ title.
Anyone else think Vettel is auditioning for a Ferrari drive?
01. Massa 71 laps [10 points]
02. Alonso +13.2s 
03. Raikkonen +16.2s over Massa 
04. Vettel +38.0s 
05. Hamilton +38.9s 
06. Glock +44.3s 
07. Kovalainen +55.0s 
08. Trulli +68.4s 
09. Webber +79.6s
10. Heidfeld + 1 lap
11. Kubica + 1 lap
12. Rosberg + 1 lap
13. Button + 1 lap
14. Bourdais + 1 lap
15. Barrichello + 1 lap
16. Sutil + 2 laps
17. Nakajima + 2 laps
18. Fischella + 2 laps
19. Piquet DNF
20. Coulthard DNF
A well-driven race from Massa, Alonso and Vettel. Kubica picked up several spots with the tyre change. Both Glock and Trulli set a 1m44 time on the final lap because they were on dries, everyone else on inters.
Final Points Standings
01. 97 Hamilton *champion*
02. 96 Massa
03. 75 Raikkonen
04. 75 Kubica
05. 61 Alonso
06. 60 Heidfeld
07. 53 Kovalainen
08. 35 Vettel
09. 31 Trulli
10. 25 Glock
11. 21 Webber
12. 19 Piquet
13. 17 Rosberg
14. 11 Barrichello
15. 9 Nakajima
16. 8 Coulthard
17. 4 Bourdais
18. 3 Button
No score: Fisichella, Sutil, Sato and Davidson
Lewis Hamilton is the 2008 Formula One World Drivers’ Champion.
Final Constructors’ Standings
01. 172 Ferrari *champion*
02. 151 McLaren-Mercedes
03. 135 BMW Sauber
04. 80 Renault
05. 56 Toyota
06. 39 STR-Ferrari
07. 29 RBR-Renault
08. 26 Williams-Toyota
09. 14 Honda
10. 0 Force India Ferrari
11. 0 Super-Aguri Honda
Ferrari is the 2008 Formula One World Constructors’ Champion.
Right that’s it for the final live race of the year. I’m off to wait and see what penalty the FIA will dream up for Hamilton, in the meantime the brand new run of Top Gear starts tonight. My next live race which will be the Australian Grand Prix in March, and I’ll have updates throughout the off-season.