On 19th October 2008, there were two Ferrari drivers on the Chinese Grand Prix podium, although in Shanghai
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On 19th October 2008, there were two Ferrari drivers on the Chinese Grand Prix podium, although in Shanghai, the win went to Lewis Hamilton, ahead of Felipe Massa and Kimi Raikkonen. That day, as had been the case for the rest of the weekend, the F2008 was no match for the McLaren and the final result reflected the hierarchy, even if it left Felipe in with a shot at the title at the final round in Sao Paolo, Brazil, given that the gap to the Englishman was seven points.
The two Ferraris were second and third on the grid with Kimi and Felipe respectively. At the start, Hamilton defended his pole advantage under attack from Kimi, while Felipe had to move over and defend against a hard-charging Kovalainen. Right from the start it was clear that the Englishman’s McLaren could run at a better pace than that of the two Ferraris, with Felipe struggling a little bit more than his team-mate. On lap 5, the Englishman led the Finn by 3.1 and his title rival by 5.4: five laps later the gaps were now 3.9 and 7.9 respectively. Felipe was the first of the lead trio to pit to refuel and change tyres, on lap 14, the same time that Alonso also stopped from fourth. Hamilton and Kimi pitted next time round separated by 4 seconds. The subsequent scenario was identical to that of the early laps: Hamilton made better use of the new tyres and again began to pull out an advantage over the two Ferrari drivers: on lap 24, he had 7.2 in hand over Kimi and 14.9 over Felipe. Then began a phase in which the Finn painstakingly closed the gap so that it was 6.1 on lap 29, but passing Fisichella cost him almost 1.5, thus effectively wiping out any chance he had of fighting for the win.
The second run of stops was a carbon copy of the first as far as the top three were concerned: Felipe pitted on lap 37, with Hamilton and Kimi coming in next time round. The final stint saw Felipe gradually close on Kimi: the two team-mates were perfectly aware of the situation and the need to get the very best result in terms of the team’s position in both championships and, on lap 49, the Brazilian passed the Finn. The race was monotonous from there on in to the flag, apart from Alonso’s attack on Kimi, which saw the gap between them go from 14 seconds on lap 46 to just 5 on lap 52, but Kimi managed the situation comfortably to the chequered flag.