top of page

What Issues Caused Felipe Massa’s 2008 Title Loss?

Written by Stefan Banić, Edited by Sean McKean

Credit: Ker Robertson / Getty Images

The 2008 season will be remembered as one of the best and most sensational seasons ever seen. The battle of the titans throughout the season culminated between Lewis Hamilton and Felipe Massa. After eighteen races, the championship title was taken by Hamilton, and this season will be forever remembered and retold because of the way it unfolded.

The first two races were held in Australia and Malaysia. These two races represented a disastrous start to the season in Massa's eyes with not finishing either of those two races, and the winners of those races being Lewis Hamilton and Kimi Raikkonen. However, in the very next race, which was held in Bahrain, Massa took his first victory of the season and at the moment when he needed it the most, while his rival Hamilton finished the race in 13th position.

In the next three races, both Massa and Hamilton took their places on the podium with identical performances. Both of them won one of the races and claimed the other two places on the podium. At that moment, Hamilton was leading the drivers' standings with 38 points, ahead of Raikkonen with 35 and Massa with 34 points.

Credit: Mark Thompson / Getty Images

Hamilton and Massa continued to compete with each other in the following races, but the first significant race that shaped the outcome of the season was held in Great Britain. In that race, heavy rain caused Felipe Massa to go off the track several times and finish the race in 13th position, while his rival Lewis Hamilton finished the race first with an advantage of 68 seconds over the second-placed Nick Heidfeld.

The battles between these two drivers were intense in the following races; however, another key race was held in Singapore. Before the race in Singapore, Hamilton had a one-point advantage over Massa, Hamilton with 78 and Massa with 77 points. Massa in that race breaks off the fuel pipe during the pit stop and stops in the pit lane.To further compound the disaster, and he was penalized for an unsafe release. Massa finished the race in 13th position while Hamilton finished the race in third. After that race, the gap between Hamilton and Massa increased to seven points with just three more races to go.

In Japan and China, Hamilton finished 12th and first, while Felipe Massa finished seventh and second. Before the last and most important race of the season, Hamilton had an advantage of seven points over Felipe Massa. Massa started the finale in Interlagos from pole position, while his rival Lewis Hamilton started the race in fourth place. On lap 69, the rain started to fall heavily and Hamilton went wider on the track than he should have and lost fifth place. Massa finished the race with the victory and the celebrations had started in the Ferrari garage.

However, that celebration did not last long, because just a few corners before the end of the race, Timo Glock lost control of the car and allowed Hamilton to return to fifth place, which brought him the title that season. Hamilton won the title with just one point ahead of Felipe Massa. In the end Hamilton ends the season with 98 points while Massa ends the season with 97 points.

That's how one of the best seasons in F1 got an epilogue that surprised us all, at least in some way.

bottom of page