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 
shares
comments
Alonso suffers another blow at home

Previous article

Alonso suffers another blow at home

Next article

Massa hails 'amazing' fightback

Massa hails 'amazing' fightback
Load comments

About this article

Series Formula 1
Drivers Felipe Massa
Author Matt Beer
Why the demise of F1's hypocritical spending habit is cause for celebration Plus

Why the demise of F1's hypocritical spending habit is cause for celebration

For too long, F1's richest teams have justified being able to spend as much as they want because that's the way they've always conducted their business. STUART CODLING says that's no reason not to kick a bad habit

The double whammy that is defining Vettel’s F1 fate Plus

The double whammy that is defining Vettel’s F1 fate

It's been a tough start to Sebastian Vettel's Aston Martin F1 career, with a lack of pre-season testing mileage followed by an incident-packed Bahrain GP. But two key underlying factors mean a turnaround is not guaranteed

Formula 1
Apr 14, 2021
The diva that stole a march on F1’s wide-bodied opposition Plus

The diva that stole a march on F1’s wide-bodied opposition

In 2017 new F1 technical regulations were supposed to add drama - and peg Mercedes back. STUART CODLING looks at the car which, while troubled, set the stage for the wide-bodied Formula 1 era

Formula 1
Apr 13, 2021
The themes to watch in F1’s Imola return Plus

The themes to watch in F1’s Imola return

Three weeks is a long time in Formula 1, but in the reshaped start to the 2021 season the teams head to Imola to pick things up after the frenetic Bahrain opener. Here's what to look out for and the developments to follow at the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix

Formula 1
Apr 13, 2021
The 'new' F1 drivers who need to improve at Imola Plus

The 'new' F1 drivers who need to improve at Imola

After a pandemic-hit winter of seat-swapping, F1 kicked off its season with several new faces in town, other drivers adapting to new environments, and one making a much-anticipated comeback. BEN ANDERSON looks at who made the most of their opportunity and who needs to try harder…

Formula 1
Apr 12, 2021
The delay that quashed Aston Martin’s last F1 venture Plus

The delay that quashed Aston Martin’s last F1 venture

Aston Martin’s only previous foray into Formula 1 in the late 1950s was a short-lived and unsuccessful affair. But it could have been so different, says NIGEL ROEBUCK

Formula 1
Apr 10, 2021
Verstappen exclusive: Why lack of car-racing titles won't hurt Red Bull's ace Plus

Verstappen exclusive: Why lack of car-racing titles won't hurt Red Bull's ace

Max Verstappen’s star quality in Formula 1 is clear. Now equipped with a Red Bull car that is, right now, the world title favourite and the experience to support his talent, could 2021 be the Dutchman’s year to topple the dominant force of Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes?

Formula 1
Apr 9, 2021
Are we at peak F1 right now? Plus

Are we at peak F1 right now?

For many, many years Formula 1 has strived to do and to be better on all fronts. With close competition, a growing fanbase, a stable political landscape and rules in place to encourage sustainability, 2021 is on course to provide an unexpected peak

Formula 1
Apr 8, 2021