The race weekend occurred following a backdrop of controversy: FIA president Max Mosley had been uncovered by a UK tabloid sting within the week main as much as the occasion, and a few groups had been calling on him to step down.
On monitor, BMW’s Sauber period was blossoming, with Robert Kubica scoring his first profession F1 pole place, simply zero.027s forward of the Ferrari of Massa. This got here regardless of a lock-up that left him struggling over the ultimate three corners of his Q3 lap: “The automobile was pulling on the braking to 1 aspect, however nonetheless it was sufficient for the pole.”
Willy Rampf, Technical Director, BMW Sauber, Robert Kubica, BMW Sauber, and Mario Theissen, Director, BMW Motorsport, have fun their first pole place
Photograph by: Charles Coates / Motorsport Images
Massa was below enormous stress on the time, as he was on zero factors after a collision within the Australian GP opener and a spin into the gravel in Malaysia. He entered this race in decided temper, vowing to regain the factors he’d misplaced.
Lewis Hamilton was in his spare McLaren, having crashed closely in apply which left him with bruised ribs, and lined up third, forward of Massa’s team-mate Kimi Raikkonen, who confessed to a tough weekend along with his Ferrari’s set-up.
Massa instantly jumped forward of Kubica, who suffered wheelspin firstly, as Hamilton didn’t get away cleanly as he’d didn’t put his automobile into launch mode. Hamilton clipped Fernando Alonso’s Renault on the downhill hairpin on the opening lap, after which rode up over the rear of his former team-mate on the exit of Flip three on the second tour, smashing his entrance wing to items and sending him into the pits.
Hamilton defined: “I used to be behind him, and I moved to the appropriate, and he moved to the appropriate and that was it – a racing incident, I assume.”
Raikkonen handed Kubica on lap three, across the exterior of the primary nook, and the reigning world champion would chase Massa to the end – the place they had been separated by three.3s in a Ferrari 1-2.
Massa’s race engineer Rob Smedley mentioned the consequence was by no means doubtful, nevertheless, as he had been working with extra gasoline than Raikkonen and will’ve pushed more durable. He additionally mentioned it was an enormous reply to Massa’s doubters: “He was below plenty of stress and had been slagged off by lots of people. In the long run, he did what he’s presupposed to do and let his driving do the speaking. That’s the consequence.”
Race winner Felipe Massa, Ferrari
Photograph by: Andrew Ferraro / Motorsport Images
Massa himself was jubilant to have scored his first most factors haul of the yr after the double disappointment that had gone earlier than.
“Lastly, after a begin to the championship below darkish clouds, I can see the sunshine once more,” he mentioned. “We knew we may rely on a fantastic automobile and that definitely proved to be the case, provided that I by no means needed to push to the utmost as soon as I used to be within the lead.
“I made a very good begin, managing to overhaul Robert. Then, there have been just a few troublesome laps due to oil on monitor however I used to be all the time in management.
“Clearly, I all the time had in thoughts what occurred in Malaysia and so I attempted to concentrate on a regular basis, to make sure I introduced the automobile dwelling.”
Podium: second place Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari, Race winner Felipe Massa, Ferrari, third place Robert Kubica, BMW Sauber F1 and Stefano Domenicali, Ferrari Supervisor of F1 Operations
Photograph by: Sutton Photos
It was an enormous win for Massa, who’d go on to get inside a whisker of successful the world championship. However, because of Kubica’s third place in Bahrain and Nick Heidfeld in fourth, BMW Sauber got here away from Sakhir with a one-point lead within the constructors’ championship; the primary – and solely – time the Swiss-based workforce has ever led all of its F1 rivals.
BMW had seemingly damaged the latest stranglehold on F1 held by Ferrari, McLaren and Renault – but it surely proved to be a false daybreak.
The workforce didn’t capitalise on Kubica’s maiden victory in Canada that summer time, opting to reduce its automobile improvement to plough its efforts as a substitute into the 2009 marketing campaign for a brand new guidelines set.
That proved to be a disastrous transfer that led to BMW saying, in the summertime of 2009, that it was pulling out of F1 by the tip of that season after which offered the workforce again to Peter Sauber.
Robert Kubica, BMW Sauber celebrates his first Pole Place with Lewis Hamilton, McLaren and Felipe Massa, Ferrari
Photograph by: Glenn Dunbar / Motorsport Images