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Massa's Turkish hat-trick

NEWS STORY
11/05/2008

In the three years that the Istanbul Speed Park has hosted a round of the formula One World Championship, it has produced some interesting races… and today's should be no exception.

For once, Hermann Tilke has got it right, though in fairness his track 'borrows' some of the great features from other legendary tracks.

If the two GP2 races are anything to go by, we can expect a few thrills and spills this afternoon, and at least one appearance by the safety car. While we are used to the antics of the GP2 brigade, nobody could have foreseen that Bruno Senna would be eliminated by a stray dog.

It appears that stray dogs are a problem at the Istanbul track, however, we think it safe to say that none are likely to make it onto the track during the Grand Prix - not unless they're wearing the correct pass - because Bernie has the track tied up tighter than a flea's arse.

The first corner at Istanbul is based on the first corner at Interlagos, and we know from bitter experience the sort of hi-jinks the drivers get up to there. As well as being a major problem on the first lap, being a great place for out-braking manoeuvres it is sure to be the scene of a couple more incidents during the race.

When we talk of first lap incidents we immediately think of Sebastian Vettel who has only managed to complete a full lap in one race this season, so all eyes on the Toro Rosso driver at the start of today's epic.

The safety car was out three teams for the GP2 guys, once in Saturday's race and twice today, though admittedly one of those times was down to the stray dog. Therefore, knowing the exuberance of some of the F1 guys we think it's safe to say that Bernd Maylander will find himself leading the field at some point this afternoon.

Looking at the grid, the smart money would have to be on Massa taking his second victory of the season today, though the McLarens look useful, even if Hamilton did go the wrong way on tyre choice.

As for Raikkonen, much will depend on how he deals with the start, plus, of course, the all important question of strategy.

Robert Kubica has looked the better of the two BMW drivers this weekend, and we don't, in all honesty, believe Nick Heidfeld to have a strategic trick up his sleeve, not this weekend at any rate. The German has never really clicked this weekend and in our opinion he will be lucky not to get caught out in any first corner shenanigans this afternoon.

Behind the lead pack, we should have a great scrap for the remaining points, with Alonso keen to make up for the misery of Barcelona and Webber and Trulli both eager to add further points to their tallies.

Behind them, Coulthard will be wanting to open his points account, while Barrichello would like to make this (record breaking) weekend extra special by scoring his first point since Brazil 2006.

All-in-all it has the potential to be a good afternoon, with a number of separate little scraps, after all, the circuit certainly favours the bold and the brave as we have seen in previous races here. Let's hope so.

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