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Last gasp victory for Hamilton as Spa serves up a thriller

NEWS STORY
07/09/2008

If this afternoon's Grand Prix is even half as exciting as this morning's GP2 race, then we could be in for a great afternoon, the perfect fillip following the monotony of Valencia.

While yesterday's GP2 race had its fair share of drama, today's event was a real humdinger, with Pastor Maldonado taking victory on the very last lap.

Less than hour after yesterday's F1 qualifying, the rain began to fall, causing the GP2 race to be started behind the safety car. Then, following heavy overnight rain, the track was damp for the start of today's race. For a while it looked as though there might not be any further rain, even though track conditions were already difficult, but then, with the end of the race just a few minutes away, the rain began to fall again. The fact that only half the field finished the race give you a rough idea of the conditions.

With fifty minutes to go before today's race, it has stopped raining, but there are ominous cloud above and it seems impossible that today's Grand Prix will not be affected. While some teams were confident that the Grand Prix would not be affected, others were a little more sceptical. Than again, we know from experience that the Ardennes weather is notoriously changeable.

On paper, having taken pole position with relative ease, Lewis Hamilton would appear to be favourite for victory today. However, quite apart from the weather, there is the fact that at Spa things rarely go to plan.

The Englishman appears to be running light, while Kubica, in particular, appears to be running heavy.

Raikkonen has won here three times, and even though he is starting from the second row, one gets the sense that he hasn't entirely given up on the title. This is a make or break weekend for the Finn, for if he fails to score significant points he will be forced to play second fiddle to Massa.

Of course, following the failures in Hungary and Valencia, there is a question mark over Ferrari's reliability, and even though the Maranello outfit assures us that the con-rod problem has been resolved, we're sure that like us, Kimi and Felipe will be feeling just that little bit anxious.

In these sort of weather conditions, the word so often used is 'lottery', and we cannot help but feel that this could be the case today. While we expect the winner to be Hamilton or one of the Ferraris, not totally discounting Kovalainen, we could well see a BMW driver on the top step of the podium, or even Jenson Button! The truth is that in changeable conditions, on a circuit such as this, anything can happen and frequently does… ask some of the other drivers who have pulled off major shocks over the years.

As the drivers make their way to the grid, it has stopped raining, but it is damp. While some drivers look totally relaxed others are deep in thought, maybe they're praying for rain.

Fact is, looking at the grid, and indeed, looking at the sky, it is impossible to predict what we might be in for this afternoon. However, as we said earlier, if it's only half as good as this morning's GP2 race, we could be in for something special. Let's just hope that there is no silliness.

As the cars wait on the grid, the track is damp in some parts and dry in others, which means the teams will be making some serious decisions as to tyres. It is the start and end of the lap which is wet, with other parts of the circuit showing a clear dry line. Furthermore, it is understood that Ferrari have had to do some last minute work on Massa's car, hardly a confidence boost for the Brazilian.

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