The V Sinopec Chinese Grand Prix (alternately the 2008中石化中国大奖赛 or the 2008 Zhōngshíhuà zhōngguó dàjiǎng sài in Chinese), was the seventeenth and penultimate round of the 2008 FIA Formula One World Championship, staged at the Shanghai International Circuit in Shanghai, China, on 19 October 2008. The race would be won by Lewis Hamilton, as result which extended his Championship lead to seven points ahead of the Season Finale.
Indeed, Hamilton was attempting to seal the Championship in China, knowing that the title was his if he outscored Felipe Massa by six points. The Brit duly claimed pole position in qualifying having topped all three sessions, although his Brazilian rival Massa secured third on the grid behind Ferrari teammate Kimi Räikkönen.
The start of the race saw Hamilton sprint off the grid to claim an early lead, while Räikkönen gave chase ahead of Massa. Behind, Heikki Kovalainen got the jump on Fernando Alonso for fourth, Nick Heidfeld shot up to sixth, while Sébastien Bourdais took Jarno Trulli out at the first corner.
After Alonso elbowed his way back past Kovalainen the order at the head of the field stabilised, with Hamilton leading the two Ferraris, Alonso, Kovalainen and Heidfeld. The Brit duly managed to break clear in the early laps to build a four second lead, although by lap ten Räikkönen was the fastest man on track and would begin reeling the #22 McLaren-Mercedes back in.
The first round of stops opened on lap twelve, with Mark Webber the first to stop and sparking a slow trickle of drivers into the pits. Massa and Alonso were the first of the leaders to stop on lap fourteen, with Hamilton and Räikkönen stopping a lap later to leave Kovalainen in front of Heidfeld.
Once those two made their stops the order returned to how it had been before the stops, with Hamilton holding a safe seven second lead over Räikkönen, while Massa retained third. The Ferraris would slowly manage to close the gap the lead McLaren during the second stint, aided by the disappearance of Kovalainen when the Finn picked up a puncture.
The second round of stops ultimately decided the race, with Hamilton able to gain more time on the two scarlet Ferraris and hence saw his lead balloon out to thirteen seconds. That prompted the two Ferraris to swap positions on lap 49 with Räikkönen unable to match Hamilton's pace, meaning Massa moved through into second.
With that the race was run, with Hamilton cruising to the chequered flag to claim victory and a seven point margin heading into the season finale. Massa was second ahead of Räikkönen to complete the podium, while Alonso kept Heidfeld at bay to secure fourth. Robert Kubica claimed sixth as his title bid formally came to an end, while Timo Glock and Nelson Piquet, Jr. picked up the remaining points.
Lewis Hamilton saw his Championship lead cut by two points as a result of the Japanese Grand Prix, and hence left the Fuji Speedway with a five point advantage. Felipe Massa had hence closed in on the Brit at the head of the field, and was one of only two drivers who could deny Hamilton the crown. Indeed, Robert Kubica still entertained hopes of becoming the 2008 World Champion, although he would have to outscore Hamilton by three points in China just to stay in the hunt.
In the Constructors Championship Ferrari had moved back to the top of the pack, largely due to the fact that McLaren-Mercedes had failed to score. Indeed, the Brit squad had gone from holding a one point lead to trailing the Scuderia by seven points, with those two still the main protagonists with two rounds to go. BMW Sauber were still in the hunt in third, fourteen off the lead, but had long since acknowledged that their focus was on the 2009 season.
The full entry list for the 2008 Chinese Grand Prix is outlined below:
The full qualifying results for the 2008 Chinese Grand Prix are outlined below:
|6*||10||Mark Webber||Red Bull-Renault||11||1:36.238||9||1:35.686||6||1:37.083||16|
|7†||3||Nick Heidfeld||BMW Sauber||10||1:36.224||6||1:35.403||7||1:37.201||9|
|8||15||Sebastian Vettel||Toro Rosso-Ferrari||3||1:35.752||5||1:35.386||8||1:37.685||6|
|10||14||Sébastien Bourdais||Toro Rosso-Ferrari||12||1:36.239||8||1:35.478||10||1:38.885||8|
|11||6||Nelson Piquet, Jr.||Renault||7||1:36.029||11||1:35.722||10|
|12||4||Robert Kubica||BMW Sauber||14||1:36.503||12||1:35.814||11|
|16||9||David Coulthard||Red Bull-Renault||16||1:36.731||15|
|19||20||Adrian Sutil||Force India-Ferrari||19||1:37.730||19|
|20||21||Giancarlo Fisichella||Force India-Ferrari||20||1:37.739||20|
- T Indicates a driver used their test/spare car to set their best time in that session.
- Bold indicates the fastest driver's time in each session.
- * Webber was awarded a ten place grid penalty for changing his engine.
- † Heidfeld was awarded a three place grid penalty for impeding Coulthard during Q1.
|______________||Nelson Piquet, Jr.|
The full results for the 2008 Chinese Grand Prix are outlined below:
|5||3||Nick Heidfeld||BMW Sauber||56||+28.923s||9||4|
|6||4||Robert Kubica||BMW Sauber||56||+33.219s||11||3|
|8||6||Nelson Piquet, Jr.||Renault||56||+56.645s||10||1|
|9||15||Sebastian Vettel||Toro Rosso-Ferrari||56||+1:04.339||6|
|10||9||David Coulthard||Red Bull-Renault||56||+1:14.842||15|
|13||14||Sébastien Bourdais||Toro Rosso-Ferrari||56||+1:31.457||8|
|14||10||Mark Webber||Red Bull-Renault||56||+1:32.422||16|
|15||7||Nico Rosberg||Williams-Toyota||55||+1 Lap||14|
|16||16||Jenson Button||Honda||55||+1 Lap||18|
|17||21||Giancarlo Fisichella||Force India-Ferrari||55||+1 Lap||20|
|Ret||20||Adrian Sutil||Force India-Ferrari||13||Gearbox||19|
- T Indicates a driver used their test/spare car.
- Lewis Hamilton secured the 70th pole position for a Mercedes engine.
- Also the tenth pole for a car using #22 as its race number.
- Ninth career victory for Hamilton.
- 162nd win for McLaren as a constructor.
- Mercedes powered a car to a 67th win as an engine supplier.
The Championship fight was down to just two drivers ahead of the season finale in Brazil, with Lewis Hamilton and Felipe Massa the two pretenders. Hamilton would hold a fair advantage ahead of the finale, arriving in Brazil with a seven point lead, and would therefore win the title if he finished fifth or higher, regardless of what Massa could do. Massa, meanwhile, would have to either win the race with Hamilton lower than fifth, or finish second with Hamilton finishing eighth or out of the points.
The Constructors Championship would also go down to the finale, with just eleven points separating the top two in the field. In a reversal of the Drivers' Championship, however, it was Ferrari would would land in São Paulo with the advantage, and would win the title if they outscored McLaren-Mercedes by seven points. The Anglo-German squad, meanwhile, would likely have to claim second and fifth minimum to beat the Scuderia, although that would not be enough if Ferrari scored more than a point.
Only point scoring drivers and constructors are shown.
Images and Videos:
- '17. China 2008', statsf1.com, (Stats F1, 2014), https://www.statsf1.com/en/2008/chine.aspx, (Accessed 19/03/2020)
- 'China 2008: Hamilton stakes title claim.', crash.net, (Crash Media Group, 19/10/2008), https://www.crash.net/f1/race-report/64035/1/china-2008-hamilton-stakes-title-claim, (Accessed 19/03/2020)
- 'China 2008: Entrants', statsf1.com, (Stats F1, 2015), https://www.statsf1.com/en/2008/chine/engages.aspx, (Accessed 19/03/2020)
- '2008 FORMULA 1 SINOPEC CHINESE GRAND PRIX - QUALIFYING', formula1.com, (Formula One World Championship Limited, 2006), https://www.formula1.com/en/results.html/2008/races/841/china/qualifying.html, (Accessed 19/03/2020)
- 'China 2008: Result', statsf1.com, (Stats F1, 2016), https://www.statsf1.com/en/2008/chine/classement.aspx, (Accessed 19/03/2020)
- [Archived] '2008 Chinese GP', chicanef1.com, (Chicane F1, 2014), https://web.archive.org/web/20190410001949/http://chicanef1.com/racetit.pl?year=2008&gp=Chinese%20GP&r=1, (Accessed 19/03/2020) - Original
|V T E||Chinese Grand Prix|
|Circuits||Shanghai International Circuit (2004–present)|
|Races||2004 • 2005 • 2006 • 2007 • 2008 • 2009 • 2010 • 2011 • 2012 • 2013 • 2014 • 2015 • 2016 • 2017 • 2018 • 2019|
|v·d·e||Nominate this page for Featured Article|