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The 2008 European Grand Prix (formally the LII Telefónica Grand Prix of Europe) was a Formula One motor race held on August 24, 2008 at the Valencia Street Circuitmarker, Valenciamarker, Spainmarker. It was the 12th race of the 2008 Formula One season. The race, contested over 57 laps, was won by Felipe Massa for the Ferrari team after starting from pole position. Lewis Hamilton finished second in a McLarenmarker car, with Robert Kubica third in a BMW Sauber.

Massa started on pole position, with Hamilton second, and Kubica third. Massa got cleanly away, while Hamilton fought hard to fend off Kubica, but managing to keep second. The top three remained the same through the first round of pit stops, and after the first stop, Massa took a large lead over Hamilton. In Massa's second pit stop he was released straight into the path of Force India's Adrian Sutil, and had to back off to avoid a collision. The stewards announced that they would investigate the incident after the race. They later ruled that Ferrari would be fined 10,000 for the pit lane incident, but that Massa would keep his victory, as although the release was unsafe, no sporting advantage had been gained. Massa went on to take the victory, with Hamilton second and Kubica third. Hamilton's closest rival in the Drivers' Championship going into the race, Kimi Räikkönen, failed to finish, after having an engine failure.

Massa's victory in the race enabled him to overtake his team-mate, Räikkönen, in the Drivers' Championship, moving him into second. He was now Hamilton's closest rival, behind by six points. Räikkönen moved eight points further behind Hamilton, due to his non-finish, with a deficit of 13 points now separating the two. In the Constructors' Championship McLaren caught up two points on Ferrari; Ferrari led, eight points ahead of McLaren, with BMW Sauber a further 17 points behind.



The Grand Prix was contested by 20 drivers, in ten teams of two. The teams, also known as "constructors", were Ferrari, McLarenmarkerMercedes, Renaultmarker, Honda, Force India, BMW Sauber, Toyota, Red Bull Racing, Williams and Toro Rosso. Tyre supplier Bridgestone brought two different tyre compounds to the race; the softer of the two marked by a single white stripe down one of the grooves.

Prior to the race, McLaren driver Lewis Hamilton led the Drivers' Championship with 62 points, and Ferrari driver Kimi Räikkönen was second with 57 points. Behind them in the Drivers' Championship, Felipe Massa was third with 54 points also in a Ferrari, and the two BMW Sauber cars of Robert Kubica and Nick Heidfeld were fourth and fifth, with 49 and 41 points respectively. In the Constructors' Championship, Ferrari were leading with 111 points, 11 points ahead of their rivals McLaren. BMW Sauber were third with 90 points. Toyota were fourth with 35 points, and Renault were fifth with 31 points.

The Grand Prix was the first to be held at the new Valencia street circuit. After seeing the track for the first time, four days before the race, the drivers were positive about the track. Formula One tyre supplier, Bridgestone, celebrated their 200th Formula One grand prix at the race, having now supplied Formula One tyres since 1997. Celebrations included a special "golden tyre" which was displayed at the track, as well as two hoardings, inscribed with "Bridgestone 200".

In technical developments, McLaren and Ferrari modified their front winglets, to make sure that the maximum amount of air flow was diverted. Ferrari also revised their sidepod chimneys and winglets, with the aim of making sure the engine remained cool in hot conditions.

Practice and qualifying

Three practice sessions were held before the Sunday race—two on Friday, and a third on Saturday. The Friday morning and afternoon sessions each lasted 90 minutes. The third session was held on Saturday morning and lasted an hour. The very first practice session on the newly opened Valencia Street Circuit was held on a dusty and slippery track, but despite the drivers' relative unfamiliarity with the circuit there were no major incidents (though David Coulthard did hit the barriers late in the session). Sébastien Bourdais went fastest early on, but it was his Toro Rosso team-mate Sebastian Vettel who posted the quickest time of the session. Massa and Hamilton finished second and third, with Bourdais just behind them. Following the session, the drivers and personnel observed a minute's silence for those killed in the plane crash in Madridmarker two days previously. Kimi Räikkönen topped the timesheets in second practice, having traded fastest times with team-mate Massa for the majority of the session. Fernando Alonso had the set the quickest time late, but was surpassed by Räikkönen in his final flying lap. A notable incident in the session involved Nico Rosberg spinning under brakes in the final corners, and narrowly missing Mark Webber on the inside, before rejoining the track with no damage done. Surprsingly, usual back-runner Jenson Button, driving for Honda, finished third. After the session, Fernando Alonso, driving for Renault, was reprimanded and fined 10,000, after crossing the pitlane entry line early on in the second session. Rain overnight meant that the Valencia track began with almost no rubber on the surface, but Robert Kubica was still able to carry enough speed to become the first man of the weekend to break into the 1:38s, with Rosberg and Bourdais close behind. There were minimal mishaps, with only Hamilton and Timo Glock spinning. Jarno Trulli spent the majority of the session in the pits with gearbox problems, completing only two laps.

After the third practice, but before the qualifying session, the Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile safety delegate, Charlie Whiting, announced that he had moved the pole position slot on the grid to the right side, after observing the cars' behaviour during the practice sessions. Saturday afternoon's qualifying session was divided into three parts. In the first 20-minute period, cars finishing 16th or lower were eliminated. The second qualifying period lasted for 15 minutes, at the end of which the fastest ten cars went into the final period, to determine their grid positions for the race. Cars failing to make the final period were allowed to be refuelled before the race but those competing in it were not, and so carried more fuel than they had done in the earlier qualifying sessions.

Massa clinched pole position with a time of 1:38.989, and was joined on the front row by championship leader, Hamilton. Kubica took third place on the grid, with Massa's team-mate Räikkönen taking fourth. Hamilton's team-mate, Kovalainen, took fifth; Vettel, Trulli and Nick Heidfeld occupied the next three spots. The two Williams cars of Nico Rosberg and Kazuki Nakajima finished ninth and 11th, with Bourdais in between. Alonso qualified 12th, with Timo Glock of Toyota behind him. Mark Webber of Red Bull was 14th, with Nelson Piquet, Jr. of Renault 15th. Jenson Button of Honda qualified 16th, and the other Red Bull car, driven by Coulthard, qualified 17th. The two Force India cars driven by Giancarlo Fisichella and Adrian Sutil finished 18th and 20th, with the other Honda car driven by Rubens Barrichello qualifying 19th. Later, both Barrichello and Sutil were forced to change their gearboxes; as a result, both drivers started from the pit lane.


The conditions on the grid were dry before the race. The air temperature was and the track temperature was .

The front-runners of the race started the race cleanly, but at turn four Alonso and Nakajima collided; Alonso retired from, what was in effect, his home race, while Nakajima had a new nose, and rejoined.

Felipe Massa's Ferrari was released from its pit stop into the path of Adrian Sutil's oncoming Force India car. There was no collision as Massa backed off as soon as he realised what had happened. This incident was deemed "unsafe" and was being investigated by the stewards. Shortly afterwards it was announced the incident would be investigated fully after the race. Massa was subsequently reprimanded by the stewards and fined €10,000, but the Brazilian kept his victory.

Kimi Räikkönen left a pit stop with his car's fuel hose still attached. The incident left a Ferrari mechanic with a minor fracture, as well as losing Räikkönen a place.

Nico Rosberg scored a rare point for his Williams Team in 2008.




Pos No Name Constructor Part 1 Part 2 Part 3 Grid
1 2 Felipe Massa Ferrari 1:38.176 1:37.859 1:38.989 1
2 22 Lewis Hamilton McLarenmarker-Mercedes 1:38.464 1:37.954 1:39.199 2
3 4 Robert Kubica BMW Sauber 1:38.347 1:38.050 1:39.392 3
4 1 Kimi Räikkönen Ferrari 1:38.703 1:38.229 1:39.488 4
5 23 Heikki Kovalainen McLarenmarker-Mercedes 1:38.656 1:38.120 1:39.937 5
6 15 Sebastian Vettel Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1:38.141 1:37.842 1:40.142 6
7 11 Jarno Trulli Toyota 1:37.948 1:37.928 1:40.309 7
8 3 Nick Heidfeld BMW Sauber 1:38.738 1:37.859 1:40.631 8
9 7 Nico Rosberg Williams-Toyota 1:38.595 1:38.336 1:40.721 9
10 14 Sébastien Bourdais Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1:38.622 1:38.417 1:40.750 10
11 8 Kazuki Nakajima Williams-Toyota 1:38.667 1:38.428 11
12 5 Fernando Alonso Renaultmarker 1:38.268 1:38.435 12
13 12 Timo Glock Toyota 1:38.532 1:38.499 13
14 10 Mark Webber Red Bull-Renaultmarker 1:38.559 1:38.515 14
15 6 Nelson Piquet Jr. Renaultmarker 1:38.787 1:38.744 15
16 16 Jenson Button Honda 1:38.880 16
17 9 David Coulthard Red Bull-Renaultmarker 1:39.235 17
18 21 Giancarlo Fisichella Force India-Ferrari 1:39.268 18
19 17 Rubens Barrichello Honda 1:39.811 191
20 20 Adrian Sutil Force India-Ferrari 1:39.943 201


Pos No Driver Constructor Laps Time/Retired Grid Points
1 2 Felipe Massa Ferrari 57 1:35:32.339 1 10
2 22 Lewis Hamilton McLarenmarker-Mercedes 57 +5.611 2 8
3 4 Robert Kubica BMW Sauber 57 +37.353 3 6
4 23 Heikki Kovalainen McLarenmarker-Mercedes 57 +39.703 5 5
5 11 Jarno Trulli Toyota 57 +50.684 7 4
6 15 Sebastian Vettel Toro Rosso-Ferrari 57 +52.625 6 3
7 12 Timo Glock Toyota 57 +1:07.990 13 2
8 7 Nico Rosberg Williams-Toyota 57 +1:11.457 9 1
9 3 Nick Heidfeld BMW Sauber 57 +1:22.177 8
10 14 Sébastien Bourdais Toro Rosso-Ferrari 57 +1:29.794 10
11 6 Nelson Piquet Jr. Renaultmarker 57 +1:32.717 15
12 10 Mark Webber Red Bull-Renaultmarker 56 +1 Lap 14
13 16 Jenson Button Honda 56 +1 Lap 16
14 21 Giancarlo Fisichella Force India-Ferrari 56 +1 Lap 18
15 8 Kazuki Nakajima Williams-Toyota 56 +1 Lap 11
16 17 Rubens Barrichello Honda 56 +1 Lap 19
17 9 David Coulthard Red Bull-Renaultmarker 56 +1 Lap 17
Ret 1 Kimi Räikkönen Ferrari 45 Engine 4
Ret 20 Adrian Sutil Force India-Ferrari 41 Accident 20
Ret 5 Fernando Alonso Renaultmarker 0 Collision damage 12

Standings after the race

Drivers' Championship standings
Pos Driver Points
1 Lewis Hamilton 70
2 Felipe Massa 64
3 Kimi Räikkönen 57
4 Robert Kubica 55
5 Heikki Kovalainen 43

Constructors' Championship standings
Pos Constructor Points
1 Ferrari 121
2 McLarenmarkerMercedes 113
3 BMW Sauber 96
4 Toyota 41
5 Renaultmarker 31

  • Note: Only the top five positions are included for both sets of standings.


  • Both Rubens Barrichello and Adrian Sutil started from the pit lane.
  • Lap Leaders: Felipe Massa 50 (1–14, 20–36, 39–57), Lewis Hamilton 4 (15–16, 37–38), Robert Kubica 1 (17), Heikki Kovalainen, 2 (18–19).
  • The car of race leader Felipe Massa's Ferrari was released from its second pit stop into the path of Adrian Sutil's oncoming Force India. Massa had to back off to avoid a collision. The stewards launched an investigation into this and fined Massa €10,000 (£8.537).
  • Ferrari's Kimi Räikkönen left a pit stop with his car's fuel hose still attached. The right rear tyre of Räikkönen's car hit Ferrari mechanic Pietro Timpini, who suffered a minor fracture to his right leg. Räikkönen did not last much longer in the race, retiring with an engine failure two laps later.
  • Fernando Alonso's retirement meant that he retired from both of his home Grands Prix held in 2008.
  • This race was Bridgestone's 200th Formula One Grand Prix since its full time entry in 1997. The company's tyres were also used in the 1976 and 1977 Japanese Grand Prix therefore strictly speaking it was Bridgestone's 202nd Grand Prix.
  • This was Felipe Massa's 100th Grand Prix entry, thereby making him the only driver to date to win his 100th Grand Prix.


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