Guest Author - Christine Blachford
At the beginning of the season, we could only hope that 2008 would be as competitive as last year, but without the politics. From the start, we all wanted the championship to come down to the last race, and it wasn't until China that we realised we would get our wish. Who would have thought it would be such a close run to the finish though? I thought it would be worth looking at that last lap in more detail, to fully appreciate just how close it really was.
The call that rain was coming came with about 15 laps to go to the chequered flag, and the track started to get wet with about 8 laps left. Massa was so far ahead of the rest of the pack that he had actually missed the pit entrance as they all dived in, so he was actually one of the last to bolt on the intermediate tyres. Hamilton retained the position he needed in fifth, as Vettel had fallen back due to an odd pit stop strategy, but Glock had stayed out on dry tyres and got ahead of the McLaren.
Hamilton couldn't seem to find any pace on the new tyres, and on the last corner of the circuit, he lost the position to Vettel, putting him down into sixth and out of the championship winning position. He chased after the Toro Rosso but again, couldn't seem to find the pace to catch him.
Massa sailed past the chequered flag to take victory, and for a brief few seconds, he and his team believed he had won the championship. At the time, he was the championship leader. However, Glock had been struggling on his dry tyres and his lap times were getting worse. The last corner is a steep hill with a curve to the left, and the Toyota fell right off the pace and moved off the racing line. Both Vettel and Hamilton flew past the Toyota, and Lewis crossed the line 5 seconds before Glock, meaning he did finish fifth and took the world championship by 1 point.
As a viewer, it was both exciting and excruciating to watch. To see Hamilton win in such exhilarating fashion was brilliant, and rounded off this great season to perfection. However, it was also tainted with heartbreak for Massa who believed he had beaten the odds to win, and had that taken away from him. So many emotions in so few minutes. I've had a lot of emails telling me it was the best finish to a sporting event people feel they've ever seen.