Massa eases to Turkish GP hat-trick

Ferrari's Felipe Massa overcame a bold challenge from Lewis Hamilton and McLaren to clinch a third consecutive Turkish Grand Prix victory

Massa eases to Turkish GP hat-trick

Hamilton's unique three-stop strategy helped him pass Massa for the lead before half-distance, but he couldn't pull out enough of an advantage to beat the Brazilian after his additional stop, so had to settle for second place, just ahead of Kimi Raikkonen in the second Ferrari.

After outqualifying teammate Hamilton and claiming his first front row start, Heikki Kovalainen was badly delayed by an early puncture and finished a lapped 12th.

Both Kovalainen and Raikkonen got away slowly at the beginning of the race, allowing Hamilton to leap through from third and challenge Massa for the lead.

The two Finns then came extremely close at the first corner, with Raikkonen losing momentum and being passed by Robert Kubica (BMW) and Fernando Alonso (Renault).

The safety car then appeared briefly to clear up the debris from Giancarlo Fisichella's spectacular first corner crash. The Force India driver ran over the back of Kazuki Nakajima's Williams, taking both cars out, while Sebastian Vettel (Toro Rosso) and Adrian Sutil (Force India) also had to pit for repairs.

Kovalainen dropped out of contention with a rear puncture just as the safety car came in, leaving Massa and Hamilton to fight for the victory.

The McLaren driver stalked Massa closely throughout the first stint, then made a very rapid first pitstop on lap 16. The team had decided to pit three times, and Hamilton made the best of his light fuel load to charge back onto Massa's tail following the stops.

On lap 24, Hamilton dived past Massa into the final corner and took the lead, despite the Brazilian's best defensive efforts. He then pulled away at up to one second per lap, leading by eight seconds by the time he pitted again on lap 32.

That allowed Massa back ahead, and Hamilton did not have long enough between their respective final stops to pull out a winning advantage. But the Briton did manage to beat Raikkonen to second - the world champion having passed Alonso soon after the safety car and easily jumped Kubica at the first stops, but having not shown the pace to challenge Massa for the win once in clear air.

Nevertheless, Raikkonen kept the pressure on Hamilton for second in the last stint, as Massa eased away to secure his second win of the year and extend his unbeaten Istanbul run.

Kubica took a lonely fourth, with his BMW teammate Nick Heidfeld benefiting from a long first stint to rise to fifth, ahead of Alonso. The Renault eased away from Mark Webber's Red Bull after an early dice, with Nico Rosberg (Williams) rising from outside the top ten to snatch the final point, just ahead of David Coulthard (Red Bull) and Toyota's Jarno Trulli.

Kovalainen produced some spectacular overtaking moves as he fought his way back through the traffic, but was unable to get back into the points. He finished 12th, pushing Honda's Jenson Button to the flag.

Timo Glock finished 14th for Toyota, ahead of Rubens Barrichello, after a difficult record 257th race for Honda's veteran Brazilian. Nelson Piquet's poor qualifying performance left him 15th, with Sutil and Vettel completing the finishers.

Toro Rosso's Sebastien Bourdais was the only other retirement - pitched into the gravel at the final turn by a mechanical problem at the rear of the car.

PROVISIONAL RACE RESULTS The Turkish Grand Prix Istanbul, Turkey; 58 laps; 309.396km; Weather: Sunny. Classified: Pos Driver Team Time 1. Massa Ferrari (B) 1h26:49.451 2. Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes (B) + 3.779 3. Raikkonen Ferrari (B) + 4.271 4. Kubica BMW Sauber (B) + 21.945 5. Heidfeld BMW Sauber (B) + 38.741 6. Alonso Renault (B) + 53.724 7. Webber Red Bull-Renault (B) + 1:04.229 8. Rosberg Williams-Toyota (B) + 1:11.406 9. Coulthard Red Bull-Renault (B) + 1:15.270 10. Trulli Toyota (B) + 1:16.344 11. Button Honda (B) + 1 lap 12. Kovalainen McLaren-Mercedes (B) + 1 lap 13. Glock Toyota (B) + 1 lap 14. Barrichello Honda (B) + 1 lap 15. Piquet Renault (B) + 1 lap 16. Sutil Force India-Ferrari (B) + 1 lap 17. Vettel Toro Rosso-Ferrari (B) + 1 lap Fastest lap: Raikkonen, 1:26.506 Not classified/retirements: Driver Team On lap Bourdais Toro Rosso-Ferrari (B) 25 Nakajima Williams-Toyota (B) 1 Fisichella Force India-Ferrari (B) 1 World Championship standings, round 5: Drivers: Constructors:  1. Raikkonen 35 1. Ferrari 63 2. Hamilton 28 2. BMW Sauber 44 3. Massa 28 3. McLaren-Mercedes 42 4. Kubica 24 4. Williams-Toyota 13 5. Heidfeld 20 5. Red Bull-Renault 10 6. Kovalainen 14 6. Renault 9 7. Webber 10 7. Toyota 9 8. Alonso 9 8. Honda 3 9. Trulli 9 9. Toro Rosso-Ferrari 2 10. Rosberg 8 11. Nakajima 5 12. Button 3 13. Bourdais 2 All timing unofficial 
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