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:
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.