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Massa wins Bahrain GP, Hamilton makes F1 History

Massa wins Bahrain GP, Hamilton makes F1 History

Three races, three podiums.
Lewis Hamilton, already Formula One's first black driver, became the first person to start his F1 career with three straight top-three finishes after taking second place behind Felipe Massa on Sunday at the Bahrain Grand Prix.
"I think it is a fantastic achievement, another to add to my career," Hamilton said. "To have finished on the podium three times out of three is fantastic."
The McLaren driver also finished third at the Australian GP and second at the Malaysian GP. The previous best start to an F1 career was Peter Arundell with two podiums in two starts in 1964.
Next up for the 22-year-old Hamilton is a chance to become one of the few F1 drivers to win a race in his first season. The last driver to do so was Juan Pablo Montoya in 2001.
Massa, driving for Ferrari, won Sunday's race in 1 hour, 33 minutes, 27.515 seconds. Hamilton was 2.360 seconds behind, while Kimi Raikkonen of Ferrari was third and Nick Heidfeld of BMW-Sauber was fourth.
"I really enjoyed the race today and with a few more laps I might have been able to challenge Felipe for the lead," Hamilton said.
After dominating testing and taking two consecutive pole positions, Massa gained his first victory of the season and third of his career. He was the third winner in three races this season.
"The results of first two races was not what I expected," Massa said. "Something was missing. ... I had a bit of mistakes. This time we put everything together."
Two-time defending world champion Fernando Alonso was fifth, creating a three-way tie in the drivers' standings. Alonso, Hamilton and Raikkonen each have 22 points, but Alonso and Raikkonen have already won this season. Massa is next with 17 points.
"This was not a great race for me but these things happen. I was struggling for pace and overall grip, which means you can't drive the car as well as you would like," Alonso said. "You always start the race believing you can win but after six or seven laps I knew that would be tough."
On a hazy day with swirling winds changing track conditions, Massa was on the pole and led virtually all the way, just dropping out of first on the two pit stops.
Massa made mistakes from the pole in the last race. He was overtaken to the first turn by Alonso and Hamilton then dropped to fifth when he went off the track trying to pass Hamilton on the sixth lap.
This time he held first through the first turn with Hamilton and Alonso second and third.
"The best race is to get a good start," Massa said. "And to finish in the front."
After 10 laps, Massa led by about a second over Hamilton, and Alonso was holding off Raikkonen.
"Unfortunately I didn't get as good as start as Felipe," Hamilton said. "I just had to make sure to stay as close as possible to him."
There were no changes among the top eight until the first pit stops. Hamilton was first to pit at the end of lap 19. Massa, Alonso and Raikkonen followed a lap apart.
Massa led by more than 8 seconds over Hamilton by the 30th lap with Raikkonen still 10 seconds back and Alonso fading.
Heidfeld then passed Alonso on lap 32 with a neat move on the outside.
After the second pit stops, Massa still led comfortably. Hamilton closed to within 3 seconds at the end, but never challenged Massa.
"The second stint was fantastic for me. I managed to build a very nice and good gap," Massa said. "I started to look after my car and keeping the pace."
Raikkonen ended up 10.8 seconds back in third, and Heidfeld was fourth for the third consecutive race with Alonso running out of laps to overtake him.
Robert Kubica of BMW-Sauber was sixth with Toyota's Jarno Trulli seventh and Renault's Giancarlo Fisichella eighth.
Alonso won the Bahrain GP last year to begin a stretch in which he won six of the first nine races for Renault. He switched to McLaren at the end of the season, while Raikkonen moved from McLaren to Ferrari.
After races in Australia, Malaysia and Bahrain, the series moves to Europe for the Spanish Grand Prix on May 13.


Updated : 2021-10-17 23:14 GMT+08:00