How BMW, Hamilton, Alonso and Massa Changed F1: The Amazing Story Behind the Title Charge

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Before the race weekend, something happened that caused a lot of drama. The head of the FIA (Max Mosley) was caught up in some bad stuff by a British magazine and many people wanted him to quit his job.

BMW’s Sauber team was doing great! Robert Kubica managed to get his first F1 pole position by coming in first place. He barely beat Massa from Ferrari by 0.027 seconds even though he made a mistake on the last three parts of his race lap. Everyone from BMW Sauber was so happy that they were celebrating their amazing victory!

Photo by: Charles Coates / F1Flow Images

Felipe Massa was feeling a lot of stress going into this race, because he hadn’t scored any points in the first two races. He was really determined to get back some of those points and do his best in this race.

Lewis Hamilton, driving his spare McLaren car after crashing in practice and hurting his ribs, started the race at third place. Kimi Raikkonen of Ferrari was behind him but admitted it had been a tough weekend adjusting the settings on the car.

Massa got off to a much better start than Kubica, whose car had too much wheelspin. Hamilton was not able to get going as it seemed he had forgotten to put his car into launch mode. On the first lap around the track, Hamilton crashed into Fernando Alonso’s Renault at the hairpin turn and then hit his former team-mate’s car in Turn 3 on the second lap, resulting in a lot of damage to his front wing leaving him with no choice but to drive back onto pit-lane.

Hamilton said it was a racing incident when he and another driver moved to the same side. Raikkonen managed to pass Kubica on the third lap, around the first corner. Eventually, Massa finished first with a 3.3 second lead over Ferrari’s second place car driven by Hamilton.

Massa’s race engineer, Rob Smedley, commented that the result was almost certain as Massa had more fuel than Raikkonen and could have done even better. He also said it showed that all of Massa’s haters were wrong – Massa drove extremely well and this was the outcome. Felipe Massa won the race in the end!

Massa was so happy! This time he got maximum points in a race that hadn’t gone so well for him before.

He said, “It’s like I can see the sunshine again after some tough races. We knew our car would be great and it proved to be true because I didn’t have to work very hard once I was in first place.”

At the start of the race I was quick enough to overtake Robert. Even though there were few tough laps due to oil spills on the track, I stayed in control and kept my focus throughout, remembering what happened in Malaysia. In the end, Kimi Raikkonen from Ferrari came second, Felipe Massa from Ferrari won the race and Robert Kubica from BMW Sauber F1 took third place with Stefano Domenicali (Ferrari’s Manager for F1 Operations) also present.

Massa had a huge victory, and he almost won the F1 world title. Plus, because Kubica took third in Bahrain and Heidfeld came fourth, BMW Sauber earned one point more than all of their rivals in the F1 constructors’ championship. This was the first – and only – time BMW Sauber managed to lead every else.

At that time, it looked like BMW might break Ferrari, McLaren and Renault’s tight grip over motor racing competitions. But then things changed again soon after.

After the team scored its first win in Canada with Kubica, it decided to focus less on car development and more on preparation for a new rules set that was scheduled for 2009. Unfortunately, their decision backfired and during summer 2009 BMW had to announce that they were done with F1 and sold Sauber’s team back to him.

A photo was taken by BMW AG.

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