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

Posted on | Author Keith Collantine

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.

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

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  1. I keep watching this over and over again.. a most electrifying way to end a season.

    jim – Hamilton almost did finish outside the top 5. Although unlikely, the possibility was still there; anything could have happened, including an engine failure.

  2. schumi the greatest
    3rd November 2008, 9:06

    at end of the day if it hadnt rained hamilton would have been 4th or 5th anyway, glock only got ahead because he risked staying on the dry tyres, an it was probably worth the risk because in the end he didnt lose any positions to where he was before the rain fell

  3. Mani – I’m not going to use a phrase like “Lewis was given the world championship” unless it’s absolutely true. And in the context of the above article, which is pointing out the nonsense of these claims that Glock, for some reason, slowed down and let Hamilton through, it would just be misleading.

    Filipe – Thanks for that. Seeing as Glock finished ahead of Kovalainen thanks to his tyre gamble he definitely did the right thing.

  4. Also, Keith by looking at Massa’s performance in the last few laps (he was the last one to pit due to Ferrari obviously don’t want to risk that Alonso stayed on dries), Lewis should also thank McLaren for good timming on his pit, I suspect that had he done his pit a lap earlier like many did (a strategy that only paid off to Kubica probably because he actually were in a wet set-up), I’m not sure he would closed the gap on Glock.

  5. Keith – if my lines meant so… I apologize. But I never said that Glock handed over his position to Hamilton willingly and that sounds really rubbish. I’ll be very much surprised to know, if that was the case. I just wanted to convey Lewis was lucky at that point, when everything went out of his hands Glock’s technical trouble played in his favor to hand him over the WDC.

  6. Completely correct Keith. I’m Italian and I’m really disgusted of the fact that here in my country someone is trying to suggest rubbish theories like the fact that Glock did it on purpose.

  7. Glock def handed and lifted off on that last turn..he didn’t even stay on the dry line!!! he was fine for the previous 2 laps and even the last lap into turns 1,2,3 where it was the wettest and where all other cars had 0 grip he had no problems with grip cuz if he did vettel would have been able to go around him and hamilton. He gave that Champoinship to Hamilton.would be supprised if he checking just grew by a couple of $’s

  8. And glock had nothing to lose.he was excellent all season so he knew he had a spot on that team for next season.

  9. Can anyone explain the difference in lap times from lap 70 to 71?? Both trulli and glock lose about 11 seconds from lap 69 to 70, but then while trulli loses the same amount of 11 seconds the following lap, glock goes on to lose 16 SECONDS????

  10. MASSA IS A SPORTING LOSER MY ASS! He was implying all week before the race how he would be a worthy champion – that this title was clean if he had clinched it.

    Wat the hell is he thinking? Did he forget how his points tally got a few automatic top-ups from FIA and Mosley thru zero efforts of his own? Crying at the end of the race was his acknowledgment that even with FIA’s help, he couldnt win the title.

    That said, i hope the stewards get their retribution for being corrupt Ferrari boot-lickers. And Mosley for his well, Hitler impersonations on tape.

  11. Marko, two things:
    1) Glock got more traffic.
    2) Glock tyres were probably in worse conditions.

  12. Also, you should have in mind that Trulli being way below Glock had to drive a larger distance under worse weather than Glock. The rain increase when Massa was closing S3 of Lap 70, so Trulli certainly did a larger part of lap 70 having a hard time than Glock.

  13. Sucks F1 2008
    4th November 2008, 1:40

    Try to think…
    Hamilton this won is just a lucky champion, not a driver champion, he even can’t pass thru Vettel, so how he can be the driver champion..!!
    What Glock did to release P4, there sure a reason behind, and he is the only one who know it.

  14. Also, why was Glock not on the dry racing line??? Surely being on the wrong tyres he should’ve stayed on the dry line?

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