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Formula 1 News - May, 2008
Team-by-team summary: Sunday, Monaco

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With P.Diddy and Miss Grenada among his cheerleaders on Sunday, Lewis Hamilton's early scrape with the Tabac barrier and pitstop paved the way for a fortuitous strategy change and timely first safety car. The Briton's subsequent huge lead disappeared with the second safety car, but Robert Kubica and Felipe Massa trailed him home as the two hour race limit ticked down, and he snatches the championship lead by three points from Kimi Raikkonen. Unlucky Heikki Kovalainen's hopes vanished when his steering wheel electronics let him down on the grid, but he grappled through the traffic and netted the last point.



The ever impressive and inch-perfect Robert Kubica finished second, beating pole sitter Felipe Massa to the flag and even tasting the race lead at one point following the Ferrari's slip into the escape road. Nick Heidfeld's black Monaco weekend got blacker on Sunday, made worse by the damage he had to carry after Fernando Alonso's failed overtaking move at the hairpin. He finished four laps down and dead last.



A race of mistakes by the Italian team means Kimi Raikkonen, just out of the points, loses his title lead. The mistakes began even before the race, as the Finn's mechanics condemned him to a drive-through penalty for missing the tyre-selection deadline on the grid, but Raikkonen was also guilty, smashing his front wing at the first corner, and also late in the race when he took out poor Adrian Sutil. "A very poor race for me. I'm sorry for Sutil," he said. Pole sitter Felipe Massa, who lost his place to Kubica by sliding at the first corner, finished third and admitted his team made some strategy errors too. "The reality is that, at every level, we did not meet our usual high standards," said team boss Stefano Domenicali.



Mark Webber kept up his pace and out of trouble, finishing less than 15 seconds behind Massa's final podium spot, but he was also lucky to avoid the hairpin pileup, and when he inherited fourth place from the devastated Adrian Sutil. Following his big qualifying crash, David Coulthard slid into the barriers on the puddles at the entry to Casino.



At the end of a difficult first weekend with the new STR3 car, Sebastian Vettel's low-profile race - albeit with good pace as he switched to dry tyres - netted him fifth at the flag and the team's first points of the season. Sebastien Bourdais completed a Red Bull-sponsored scrap-heap when he smashed into the rear of David Coulthard's already crashed RB4 in the Massenet left-hander.



Rubens Barrichello ended his long points drought with an unspectacular run to sixth place, a result made even better by the late Sutil-Raikkonen crash. Jenson Button's hopes of a good finish were dashed when he ran into the back of Heidfeld on the opening lap, and he was punted from behind by Kovalainen later on and finished a lap down.



Nico Rosberg's promising Monaco grand prix weekend turned into a precautionary trip to hospital on Sunday afternoon, following a big crash in the high speed Swimming Pool section. It was actually his third crunched front wing of the race, including an early tag with Fernando Alonso, and another contact at the hairpin pileup. A low-profile Kazuki Nakajima kept out of trouble and finished seventh.



Fernando Alonso had an eventful run to tenth place, a lap down, including striking the barriers and later tangling with Nick Heidfeld at the hairpin. "I made some mistakes," he admitted. Nelson Piquet suitably ended his miserable weekend with a nudge into the Ste. Devote wall, having switched to dry tyres on a damp track.



An awful race for both occupants of the TF108s, with Timo Glock crunching both the front of the car and the rear in separate incidents, leading home Jarno Trulli a lap down. "I just made too many mistakes and I am sorry for the team," he said. Trulli's main problem was the leagues of time he lost wearing extreme wet tyres on a drying track.



Adrian Sutil, close friends with winner Lewis Hamilton, was the hero of the race, delivering prodigious pace with a good strategy that would have netted him a superb fourth place and his team's first points as Force India. The young German broke down in tears in the garage after Kimi Raikkonen lost control of his car at the end of the tunnel and broke Sutil's suspension. "It feels like a pain in my heart," he said. Teammate Giancarlo Fisichella, plagued by gearbox trouble earlier in the weekend, lost first and second gear during the race, and stopped when fourth also failed.

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