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Alonso wins again as Hamilton and Massa fall prey to red mist madness

NEWS STORY
12/10/2008

Going into today's race starting from pole, not to mention his seven point lead, Lewis Hamilton is well aware that the World Championship is swinging his way.

However, he will also be aware that this was the situation last year, when, having scored a sensational win here, he headed into the final two rounds with a 12 point advantage over his teammate and a 17 point lead over the man who would be king.

The moral being; never take anything in F1 for granted.

That said, Lewis does go into today's race looking pretty good, especially with title rival Felipe Massa starting from fifth.

Today, Hamilton must adopt the old Bruce Forsyth motto and heed the fact that points make prizes. He must avoid being drawn into any unnecessary scraps and concentrate on one thing, not winning the Japanese Grand Prix, but winning the 2008 title.

While Kimi Raikkonen is starting from the front row, the Finn - as much as he will hate the fact - will have just one aim, to control the pace of the race and to cause Hamilton as much aggro as possible in an effort to help his teammate and his team. Meanwhile, Heikki Kovalainen will adopt a similar policy for the Woking outfit.

We could be horribly wrong - we often are - but we cannot help but feel that Massa's grid position is not entirely accidental, and that the Brazilian is running just that little bit heavier, with his title rival going the other way. Yes, he messed up his tyres, but somehow we have a feeling that he already had something in hand.

As ever, this will be about strategy, both in terms of fuel and tyres. Despite having the longest straight on the F1 calendar, as Bob Constanduros pointed out in his Saturday blog; "the two Force India drivers Sutil and Fisichella were quickest through the speedtrap at 317kph and 315.6 kph respectively. David Coulthard was next on 314.8 while the Hondas were slowest at 308 and 309. Hamilton was 15th fastest there at 310.

"What does that tell us?" Bob continues. "With Raikkonen on 313, you might see some interesting action between the McLarens and Raikkonen. Massa is only 1kph quicker than Hamilton and Kovalainen, so it will be more difficult for him."

Another excellent performance from the determined Mr Alonso sees the Singapore winner starting from fourth, while both Toyotas and both Toro Rossos look good enough for points.

The battle for fourth place in the Constructors' Championship, not to mention the fact that some drivers have yet to secure seats for 2009, ensures that we will see some fierce battles throughout the field, not only here today but in China and Brazil - as we said, points make prizes.

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