Hamilton wins after late-race drama at Spa 07 Sep 2008
McLarens Lewis Hamilton scored a sensational fifth season victory at Spa on Sunday afternoon - just when it seemed that Ferraris Kimi Raikkonen was on course to emulate Jim Clarks feat of four-in-a-row Belgian success after dominating the race.
With eight laps left to run Raikkonen, who had taken the lead on the second lap after Hamilton spun at La Source, had a 2.1s lead over the Englishman. The latter was on a charge but lost further time lapping Williams' Kazuki Nakajima, before rain out the back of the circuit rendered the surface a skating rink, and suddenly Hamilton was right with Raikkonen after the Finn lost 1.3s in the middle sector on the 42nd lap.
Going into the chicane Hamilton squeezed alongside Raikkonen but was obliged to surrender the position after missing the exit to the chicane as the Finn moved over on him. He then dived ahead of the Ferrari on the run into La Source, and seemed to have it in the bag. This cliffhanger still had a final instalment, however, as Hamilton ran off the road at Pouhon and surrendered the lead again to Raikkonen, who promptly spun and handed it back.
Worse was to come for Ferrari, for as Hamilton eased away, Raikkonen spun and crashed before the chicane and threw away eight crucial points. Thus, as Hamilton took his overall score to 80 points, Felipe Massa brought his Ferrari home second for 72. Raikkonen stays on 57, one behind sixth-placed Robert Kubica who has 58.
In the final melee a rash of pits stops to swap to wet tyres saw Renaults Fernando Alonso drop from fourth place before scrabbling back to that position, but a brilliant Nick Heidfeld in the BMW Sauber passed four cars on his wets to snatch the final podium place on the line.
Sebastien Bourdais was on track for a great fourth but also lost out, finishing seventh behind Alonso, Toro Rosso team mate Sebastian Vettel and Kubica. Timo Glock took the final point for Toyota, as Red Bulls Mark Webber, McLarens Heikki Kovalainen, Red Bulls David Coulthard, Nico Rosberg in the Williams, Force Indias Adrian Sutil, Nakajima in the other Williams, Hondas Jenson Button, Toyotas Jarno Trulli and Force Indias Giancarlo Fisichella followed them home.
Kovalainen, who had made a terrible start and then collided with Webber, earning himself a drive-through penalty, stopped on the last lap but was classified 10th. Besides Raikkonen, the other non-finishers were Hondas Rubens Barrichello and Renaults Nelson Piquet, the younger Brazilian crashing out.
It was just a fantastic race! Hamilton said. I just had to keep pushing, pushing, pushing, and I just said to myself it is never over until the fat lady sings!
The manoeuvre between Hamilton and Raikkonen at the chicane on lap 42 is currently under investigation by the race stewards.