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Massa masters Montmelo

NEWS STORY
13/05/2007

As ever, there are a number of factors that will help to decide the outcome of today's race; fuel strategy, tyre strategy, team strategy and whether the field can get through the first couple of corners unscathed.

In yesterday's GP2 race, and to a lesser extent this morning's, there was mayhem, with a number of drivers eliminated as the jostled for position, especially at the first corner and at the new chicane.

Therefore, as is so often the case, it will be interesting to see how Massa, Raikkonen, Alonso and Hamilton manage the first few turns, especially as the BMW duo of Kubica and Heidfeld is there waiting to pick up the pieces.

Alonso will be fired up by his home crowd, especially as he was out-done by Felipe Massa in the battle for pole position. The Spaniard's failure to take the coveted position all the more remarkable, not merely because of the pace the McLaren's have shown all weekend, but also the fact that teammate Lewis Hamilton claims the World Champion was running lighter.

Having scored his third successive pole, Felipe Massa will be keen to convert this into his second successive win, however, Kimi Raikkonen will be extremely keen to retain his position as (joint) World Championship leader.

As for the rest, well, BMW is a given with regards picking up any points not taken by McLaren and Ferrari, however, it will be worth keeping an eye on Red Bull, which has made an obvious step forward since Bahrain.

Toyota also appears to be running a little better, certainly in Jarno Trulli's case, while Renault, which has scored points in every race, will probably add a few more points to the tally. However, the French team, like several of its rivals, is unlikely to show any significant improvement until later in the summer.

Following a strong start to the season, Williams has dropped off, which should add to the midfield fun today. It will be of particular interest to watch the battle between the Hondas and Super Aguris, which are all grouped together on the grid. Could be good fun.

The drivers have mixed feelings regarding the new chicane, which was introduced partly for safety reasons and partly to add a little spice, in the hope that it might offer overtaking opportunities, or merely cause drivers to make mistakes. It happened in the GP2 races, but will that be the case with F1?

As the cars take their place on the grid, the air temperature is 28 degrees C, while the track temperature is 47 degrees. It is bright and sunny, as it has been all weekend.

Everyone is on the softer compound, as the field leaves the grid for the formation lap - Massa being slow to get away.

Massa in position for an age before the grid finally falls into shape.

As the atmosphere builds to breaking point, the yellow flags are waved, Jarno Trulli has stalled with a fuel pressure problem. The field heads off on another formation lap while the Toyota is pushed into the pitlane, from where it will start the race.

The grid forms for the second time.

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