Alonso makes it two wins in a row in Japan 12 Oct 2008
Nobody expected Fernando Alonso to win in Singapore and for sure the chances of a repeat in Fuji seemed minimal, but the Spaniard took advantage of a chaotic start, passed early leader Robert Kubica in the first pit stops, and was never thereafter threatened.
If the afternoon went Renaults way yet again, it was a disaster for McLaren with Lewis Hamilton penalised for a move which briefly won him the lead after a tardy start but was deemed to have put Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen off the road in the first corner, and later pushed into a spin by title rival Felipe Massa. He finished 12th, out of the points, and only unlapped himself at the very end.
Massa was adjudged at fault for taking Hamilton off on the second lap and also got a drive-through penalty, but a typically feisty drive put him into eighth place with three laps to run, and thus reduced the deficit to Hamilton from seven to six points. The Englishman still has 84, the Brazilian 78 with two races left.
A very aggressive race by Kubica earned BMW Sauber second place and the Pole eight points, bringing his score to 72, while Kimi Raikkonens third place for Ferrari brings him to 63 and put Ferrari back ahead in the constructors championship. These two staged some of the best racing of the afternoon as they fought wheel-to-wheel over second on the 53rd lap, before graining tyres forced Raikkonen to settle for the final podium position.
In the carnage at the start, as Hamilton outbraked Raikkonen for the lead but slid wide as the cold ambient temperature affected tyre grip, both McLarens tangle with the Ferrari before temporarily going off the road. As they lost ground the Ferraris were delayed, and Kubica was able to squeak into the lead from Alonso.
Behind them, Toyota's Timo Glock was hit from behind and sustained damaged that rendered him an early retirement, while Williams' Kazuki Nakajima ran into the back of David Coulthards Red Bull. The Scot crashed heavily in Turn Two as a result, the Japanese driver pitted for a new nose and would finish last.
Heikki Kovalainen recovered to third, but was stopped early on by mechanical failure.
Kubica held the lead until his fuel stop on lap 17, then Alonso led for a lap until his. Jarno Trulli then took the lead until his stop on lap 21, whereupon Sebastien Bourdais had a spell ahead for Toro Rosso. When he pitted on lap 24, Nelson Piquet went to the front until lap 28.
Thereafter, Alonso had the upper hand, leaving Kubica to fight off Raikkonen to the flag. Piquet closed in on them for a while until he had a moment in Turn Five, and settled for fourth for the suddenly rejuvenated Renault team. Trulli held on for fifth ahead of Bourdais, who comfortably beat team mate Sebastian Vettel this day. Bourdais made contact with Massa, putting the Brazilian into a minor spin, as he exited the pits for the final time, an incident that stewards are investigating.
Massa grabbed eighth from Mark Webber on the 65th lap in a dramatic move as he squeezed between the Red Bull and the pit wall, and behind the Australian Nick Heidfeld led Nico Rosberg home. Neither Force India finished; Adrian Sutil was in a promising 10th place until debris appeared to burst his right rear tyre down the straight on lap seven, and Giancarlo Fisichella stopped later with a mechanical problem.
Having made a stop for fresh rubber and more fuel on lap two, Hamilton fought back, served his penalty on lap 17, then stopped again on lap 40. But this afternoon there was nothing he could do to claw back the lost ground. He finished 12th ahead of the Hondas of Rubens Barrichello and Jenson Button, and Nakajimas Williams.