Brazilian Felipe Massa swept to a hat-trick of Turkish Grand Prix victories from pole position yesterday with another domineering display for Ferrari at Istanbul Park.
The Latin American triumphed by 3.7 seconds ahead of McLaren’s British driver Lewis Hamilton with reigning champion Finn Kimi Raikkonen less than half-a-second behind in third in the other Ferrari.
Hamilton denied Ferrari a likely one-two despite adopting a three-stop fuel strategy compared to his rival’s two stopper.
But there was no stopping Massa who controlled the race.
Raikkonen’s lead in the championship was cut to seven points with Massa now second, on countback, from last year’s runner-up Hamilton.
Ferrari extended their lead in the Constructors’ championship to 19 points over BMW with McLaren two points further back after Finland’s Heikki Kovalainen paid for an early pit-stop to finish 12th having started second.
The Finn suffered an opening lap puncture after a suspected collision with Raikkonen on the opening lap.
Poland’s Robert Kubica was fourth for BMW just ahead of team-mate German Nick Heidfeld with Spain’s two-time champion Fernando Alonso sixth for Renault. Red Bull’s Australian Mark Webber was seventh and German-born Nico Rosberg eighth for Williams.
There were no points finish for Brazil’s Rubens Barrichello in his record-breaking 257th appearance as he finished 14th for Honda.
Massa blasted into lead from the start with all the drama happening behind him as Hamilton powered past Kovalainen into second spot.
Kubica also overtook Kovalainen in the race for the first corner where the Finn squeezed countryman Raikkonen who dropped from fourth to sixth behind Alonso.
Further down the field, Force India’s Giancarlo Fisichella drove right over the Williams of Kazuki Nakajima, missing the Japanese driver by centimeters but sending them both spinning into retirement in the gravel after a collision at the start.
The safety car was immediately deployed, staying out for one circuit as the debris was cleared. Kovalainen was forced to pit at the end of the second lap while on the third lap Raikkonen easily outpaced Alonso to move back to fourth.
Raikkonen took third spot in the first round of pit-stops leapfrogging Kubica as Massa and Hamilton battled it out at the front.
Hamilton thrillingly snatched the lead on lap 24 when he darted down Massa’s left before forcing his rival to move over as they came up to turn 12.
The Britons lead lasted just eight laps before he made another quick pit-stop allowing Massa to regain control of the race. Hamilton regained the lead after Massa, then Raikkonen, made their final stops.
Hamilton made a splash-and-sash stop at the end with 13 laps left and although it was not quick enough to deny Massa, he came out just fractions ahead of Raikkonen to snatch second spot from his chief rival.