Championship changes hands twice in the final three laps (Video)

The 2008 F1 title was decided at the last corner on the last lap of the last race. Felipe Massa was poised to win the championship after Sebastian Vettel demoted Lewis Hamilton to sixth place. But Hamilton took fifth back from Timo Glock – and with it, the world championship.

Inevitably, some have suggested Glock deliberately ceded the place – but it’s hard to take that point of view seriously.

There can be little doubt that the cause of Glock’s loss of pace was that he has stayed on dry tyres as the rain was falling.

According to McLaren’s Martin Whitmarsh they were watching Glock’s progress in the final stages and expected him to struggle as the rain got heavier.

When Hamilton lost fifth place to Sebastian Vettel, Whitmarsh says McLaren told him to concentrate on keeping the car on the track as there was a good chance he would catch Glock. He did – but only just.

Ron Dennis said:

Who would have thought Glock would stay out on dry tyres? We were just looking at it in the last two laps thinking; ‘Do we fight for the position with Vettel, or do we let him go, and how’s it going to happen?’

Boy I tell you that was one hell of a call and we’re pleased for the team, but delighted for Lewis.

Some are already questioning whether Glock deliberately slowed down. But as the video shows he was obviously struggling for grip – never mind the absence of any motive and the impossibility of pre-planning such a move. Both he and team mate Jarno Trulli stayed on dry weather tyres in the closing laps and their lap times tell the story:

Timo Glock
69 1:18.688
70 1:28.041
71 1:44.731

Jarno Trulli
69 1:22.428
70 1:33.539
71 1:44.800

I can understand the disappointment of Massa’s fans. But clinging to the idea that Glock somehow sabotaged his title hopes flies in the face of facts and demeans Glock’s integrity as a racer.

This was the most stunning and exciting conclusion to a world championship, and we should be glad that, after some darks days for the sport this year, the season has ended in such spectacular fashion.

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54 comments on Championship changes hands twice in the final three laps (Video)

  1. Senor Paz said on 2nd November 2008, 21:57

    By the way, we should look forward to more Massa/Hamilton championship battles in the near future. I completely disagree with those who have suggested this could be Felipe’s best/last shot at a title. I reckon this fight was only the first instalment!

  2. TommyBellingham said on 2nd November 2008, 22:08

    I find it funny all the Ferrari fans moaning about Glock. What saw losers

  3. I’m a ferrari fan but it’s clear Glock played fair: Trulli did exactly the same time with the same tires.

    Nice end to a not-so-dark-days of the sport championship (I’m sorry but I disagree in the way you’re looking at some of the events of this year… maybe except the max mosley’s one). I’m glad Lewis won just because I won’t see thousands of fans whinning about Spa as spanish t5 tv was whinning today about last year’s Lewis “bad practices”.

    Congratulations Hamilton fans! ;)
    (and I keep saying that hadn’t Schumi retired, he’d have 9 WC now)

    see you next year! :)

  4. qazuhb said on 2nd November 2008, 22:30

    …if Glock/Toyota were minded to let Hamilton win the championship, they could have just brought him in for wets when everybody else did…

    Luke: you took that words out of my mouth. This reveals Glock’s real intention was to gain some places.

    …he was 7th before the shower and managed to finish ahead of Kovalinen in 6th (and very nearly 4th)…

    And Jupiter is right, in the end he just managed to get a few more points.

  5. looking at the times for the final lap – trulli and glock were the only two drivers to stay out on dry tyres (correct?) and they were also both affected in the final lap to pretty much the same extent.

  6. I don’t beleive for a second that Glock handed the place to Lewis. It’s every man for himself out there, especially in those sort of conditions.

    To suggest that the drivers are engaging in the sort of meddling we see from the Stewards is taking things a bit too far IMHO.

  7. Shashi said on 2nd November 2008, 22:42

    I really want to know what the hell Kubica was up to and why he had to be so aggressive at that late stage in the race.

  8. TommyBellingham said on 2nd November 2008, 22:53

    Glock just made the final few laps more interesting because if had pitted for wets non of this would have happened anyway

  9. I really feel for Massa. He handled it well and I think he is genuinely good enough to challenge in the coming years.

    For me Glock is a non-issue. Hamilton wouldn’t have been behind Vettel if Kubica wasn’t mucking about.

  10. Daniel said on 2nd November 2008, 23:30

    I didn’t even think Glock let Hamilton pass, just as I never thought the stewards favoured the Ferraris by punishing Hamilton at Spa…

    Even knowing that we lost, that was the most emotional championship decision i’ve ever seen…

    Massa, despite his loss, only grew strong as a driver, that now must be respected by everyone: he won his second race under changeable weather, and this one was on merit. He dominates the anti-clockwise tracks (3 poles 3 wins in Turkey and 3 poles 2 wins 1 second-letting-the-team-mate-passe in Brazil) like nobody else does with any other circuit…

    He’s a fantastic driver, ultra-fast in qualyfing, that honours a long brazilian tradition in Formula 1!

  11. Kubica did the same what Lewis in Fuji. And he gained quite a lot( 4 laps to go- 15 th,1 lap- 11)

  12. You are looking too narrowly at the lap times. It’s true that Jarno and Timo ran the same approximate lap time, but they did it in much different methods.

    Jarno ran faster throughout the last lap when comparing lap times with the rest of the pack. As the sectors progressed, he gained ground.

    Timo did the opposite… running the worst sector three time of the race. Jarno, running on the same tyres, pulled much closer to Timo throughout the last lap of the Brazilian grand prix.

    I’ll admit that traffic makes this analysis imperfect. But the confluence of events at the end of this race is peculiar. Clearly, even Jarno was gaining on Timo at the end of this race.

  13. Antonio said on 2nd November 2008, 23:50

    I’m brazilian and a Massa’s fan, this was a incredible race and the reason for Glock struggles was because he was with the dry tires. Congratulations to Hamilton and also to Massa for a very competitive season.

  14. Pointer said on 3rd November 2008, 0:11

    To all those (Will) who think that Timo handed Lewis the title, what would be his motivation?

  15. Chris P said on 3rd November 2008, 0:12

    Although no one really knows what goes on behind the closed-door conversations that team bosses have, I find it extremely hard to imagine that Toyota would happily give-up a fourth place finish for the sake of Lewis and McLaren. Not to mention the amount of grief Timo would be causing for himself if Toyota discovered that he’d decided to let Hamilton have his position.

    Well done Lewis, well done Felipe and well done FIA officials for a thrilling last race and championship.

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