Massa wins, but under investigation

Felipe Massa took a dominant victory in the first European Grand Prix at Valencia, beating championship leader Lewis Hamilton into second place

Massa wins, but under investigation

But a question mark is hanging over Massa's win, with the stewards set to carry on a post-race investigation into a controversial pitlane incident that saw the Brazilian nearly collide with Force India's Adrian Sutil as they rejoined after their second stops.

It was one of two dramatic pitlane moments that marred Ferrari's afternoon, as Massa's teammate Kimi Raikkonen pulled away prematurely at his last stop and hit a member of the team's pit crew, who has been taken to the medical centre for further checks.

Behind Massa, Lewis Hamilton (McLaren) and Robert Kubica (BMW) completed the podium ahead of Hamilton's teammate Heikki Kovalainen, with Raikkonen ultimately stopping with an apparent engine failure.

Ferrari's pit dramas aside, Valencia's maiden F1 race was an uneventful one. Massa got cleanly away in the lead from pole position, while his front row partner Hamilton had to work hard to fend off Kubica into the first corner.

The top trio then settle into that order for the rest of the afternoon. Massa was the lightest of the leaders, yet despite pitting two laps earlier than Hamilton, he was able to pull out enough of an advantage not to come under threat.

The Brazilian then took total command of the race in the middle stint, where he was up to 0.7 seconds per lap faster than Hamilton and established a 10-second lead.

But it was placed in jeopardy at the final stops, where Massa was released into the path of Sutil and had to back off abruptly to avoid tangling with the Force India in the narrow pit exit.

The stewards immediately announced that they would investigate the incident, and then declared that this would take place after the race - removing the threat of a drive-through penalty but raising the possibility of Massa's win being retrospectively taken away.

Hamilton had no answer to Massa's pace and had to follow the Ferrari home, while third-placed Kubica was 40 seconds behind by the end, having lost time (but not positions) in the first stint when debris became stuck in the BMW's front wing, affecting the handling.

Kovalainen passed Raikkonen for fourth at the start then pulled away in the first half of the race. The Ferrari driver responded near the end of the second stint and caught right back up to the McLaren, only to then pull away early in his pitstop, delaying Raikkonen and leaving a mechanic injured.

Raikkonen rejoined behind Jarno Trulli in sixth, but had no chance to try and overtake before an engine failure ended his afternoon.

Trulli (Toyota) held on for fifth, having passed Toro Rosso's Sebastian Vettel in the first stops and then edged away from the young German, who finished a highly creditable sixth.

Toyota got both their cars into the points, as Timo Glock used a good start and a one-stop strategy to rise from 13th on the grid to seventh, ahead of Williams' Nico Rosberg and BMW's Nick Heidfeld. Vettel's teammate Sebastien Bourdais lost places on the opening lap and had to settle for 10th.

There was huge disappointment for the home crowd on the opening lap, when Williams' Kazuki Nakajima ran into the back of local hero Fernando Alonso's Renault and did enough damage to end the former champion's race.

Also in the wars was David Coulthard (Red Bull) - who was pushed into a spin on the first lap and later rotated again after a tangle with Sutil, who would himself eventually crash out in a solo incident.

PROVISIONAL RACE RESULTS The European Grand Prix Valencia, Spain; 57 laps; 310.080km; Weather: Sunny. Classified: Pos Driver Team Time 1. Massa Ferrari (B) 1h35:32.339 2. Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes (B) + 5.611 3. Kubica BMW Sauber (B) + 37.353 4. Kovalainen McLaren-Mercedes (B) + 39.703 5. Trulli Toyota (B) + 50.684 6. Vettel Toro Rosso-Ferrari (B) + 52.625 7. Glock Toyota (B) + 1:07.990 8. Rosberg Williams-Toyota (B) + 1:11.457 9. Heidfeld BMW Sauber (B) + 1:22.177 10. Bourdais Toro Rosso-Ferrari (B) + 1:29.794 11. Piquet Renault (B) + 1:32.717 12. Webber Red Bull-Renault (B) + 1 lap 13. Button Honda (B) + 1 lap 14. Fisichella Force India-Ferrari (B) + 1 lap 15. Nakajima Williams-Toyota (B) + 1 lap 16. Barrichello Honda (B) + 1 lap 17. Coulthard Red Bull-Renault (B) + 1 lap Fastest lap: Massa, 1:38.708 Not classified/retirements: Driver Team On lap Raikkonen Ferrari (B) 46 Sutil Force India-Ferrari (B) 42 Alonso Renault (B) 1 World Championship standings, round 12: Drivers: Constructors:  1. Hamilton 70 1. Ferrari 121 2. Massa 64 2. McLaren-Mercedes 113 3. Raikkonen 57 3. BMW Sauber 96 4. Kubica 55 4. Toyota 41 5. Kovalainen 43 5. Renault 31 6. Heidfeld 41 6. Red Bull-Renault 24 7. Trulli 26 7. Williams-Toyota 17 8. Alonso 18 8. Honda 14 9. Webber 18 9. Toro Rosso-Ferrari 11 10. Glock 15 11. Piquet 13 12. Barrichello 11 13. Vettel 9 14. Rosberg 9 15. Nakajima 8 16. Coulthard 6 17. Button 3 18. Bourdais 2 All timing unofficial 
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Series Formula 1
Drivers Felipe Massa
Author Matt Beer
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