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Formula 1 News - September, 2008
Team-by-team summary: Sunday, Belgium

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Spa-Francorchamps' famous rain turned the last laps of the 2008 Belgian grand prix on its head, after Kimi Raikkonen looked on course to win. McLaren's Lewis Hamilton then launched an attack at the Bus Stop with 2 laps to go, cut the chicane and re-passed the Finn at La Source, ultimately attracting a post-race penalty that stripped him of his win. After the La Source incident, Raikkonen's fine race further turned to mud as he spun once and soon after slid into the wall -- and perhaps understandably he did not make himself available for the deadline of Ferrari's initial press release. "We are very disappointed for Kimi, who had driven a great race and deserved the win, especially at this rather difficult time," said team boss Stefano Domenicali. Very much on the bright side, however, title contender Felipe Massa's second place on the road, achieved by driving admittedly very cautiously, became victory in the stewards' room, turning a potential 8 point deficit to Hamilton to just 2. "This was a very strange race," the Brazilian surmised.



Nick Heidfeld's weekend has been the perfect rejoinder to the speculation about his future, but it was his inspired strategy decision to change to wet tyres with just 2 laps to go that netted him the podium, which became second place after Hamilton's penalty. "It paid off. It was a hero or zero decision," he enthused. Teammate Robert Kubica, sixth, was actually ahead of Heidfeld until a pitstop refuelling delay.



Like Raikkonen and Massa, Hamilton's was a tumultuous race; an early half-spin at La Source that allowed Raikkonen to snatch the lead after Eau Rouge, and then the incredible events of the closing laps, where the Briton took the win but was subsequently demoted to third. "The team has registered its intention to appeal this decision," said a statement issued by engine partner Mercedes-Benz. Heikki Kovalainen, who had a bad start and served a drive-through penalty for his collision with Red Bull's Mark Webber, retired with a gearbox failure on the last lap but was classified 10th. On his clash with Webber, the Finn said: "It was a racing accident."



Like Heidfeld, Fernando Alonso also switched to wet tyres in the closing stages and finished a solid fourth. "We have shown that we can be the third strongest team in the championship," he enthused. Nelson Piquet spun into the barriers at the high speed Fagnes chicane on lap 15.



Sebastien Bourdais, despite hitting Toyota's Jarno Trulli at the start, had a good weekend and capped it off with two points. But with his teammate Sebastian Vettel fifth at the flag, the Frenchman was disappointed on Sunday afternoon when the late race rain chaos cost him places. "It was definitely his best race for Toro Rosso and I am very happy for him," said team boss Franz Tost, who was seen embracing the multiple Champ Car champion in the paddock.



Mark Webber re-claimed his eighth place only in the stewards room, as the FIA officials penalised Toyota's Timo Glock for overtaking while yellow flags warned about the Raikkonen crash. The Australian was also lucky to survive the crash with an optimistic Kovalainen. David Coulthard finished 11th. "We have poor drivability," the veteran said.



Jarno Trulli was sixth at La Source on lap one, but hit in the back by Bourdais and lucky to drag his damaged car to the chequered flag. "The car was undriveable," said the Italian. Glock finished eighth but FIA stewards took away his point for overtaking Webber under yellow flags.



The British team's rain-dance came too late, meaning that Nico Rosberg and Kazuki Nakajima's switch to wet tyres did not deliver any points. "We are confident Monza will suit us better," said Rosberg.



Giancarlo Fisichella was the last to see the chequered flag, after a crash with Nakajima at the first corner required a visit to the pits. Adrian Sutil, who finished the race with dry tyres, split the wet-tyred Williams cars at the end, for 13th place. "I could pass Button and some other guys. I am quite happy with this race," said the German.



Rubens Barrichello's bad weekend ended on lap 21, when the team retired his car to save his engine for Monza following a gearbox problem. Button finished 15th.

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