Pit-lane errors cost Massa and Ferrari dear 28 Sep 2008
After Felipe Massas scintillating qualifying performance, Ferrari were confident of victory heading into Sundays inaugural Singapore Grand Prix. Instead, however, they leave the Marina Bay circuit rueing vital pit-stop errors that ruined the Brazilians race and cost the Italian team the lead in the constructors championship.
Everything started smoothly for Massa, the pole-sitter quickly building a lead over title rival Lewis Hamilton. But at his first pit stop disaster struck. He was given the green light too early and left with the fuel hose still attached to his car.
Massa was forced to wait at the end of the pit lane for his mechanics to run down and wrestle the hose off, but he then received a drive-through penalty for being unsafely released from the stop. The blunder undoubtedly cost him the race and after a late puncture he eventually finished 13th - 35 seconds adrift of victor Fernando Alonso.
It's hard to deal with losing in this fashion a race that was within our grasp, with a car that was just the way I wanted it, said Massa. We had a good strategy and all the signs were there that we could get a one-two finish. But things can change in a moment and that's what happened today. At the pit stop, one of the guys made a mistake. But we are only human. Each one of us always tries to do our best and these things can happen.
Despite Massas strife, Ferrari were still poised to pick up four points courtesy of Kimi Raikkonen, who was running in P5 after his final pit stop. That was until the champion went off into the wall at Turn 10 with less than four laps to go.
"I was trying to attack Glock in case he might make a mistake, but I went slightly wide at the chicane, jumping over the kerb and when the car landed, I lost control and ended up in the barriers, explained Raikkonen. My situation in the championship was already rather compromised, so this doesn't really make that much difference but I am unhappy because the team has lost precious points in the constructors' classification.
Ferraris failure to score in Singapore means that rivals McLaren now lead the constructors standings, with 135 points to the reigning champions 134.