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Massa wins, puncture hits Hamilton's hopes

india Updated: Aug 28, 2007 04:30 IST

Reuters
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Ferrari's Felipe Massa won the Turkish Grand Prix for the second year in a row on Sunday while a puncture cut Lewis Hamilton's championship lead to five points.

McLaren rookie Hamilton finished fifth, two places behind team mate and closest rival Fernando Alonso, after the blowout 15 laps from the finish robbed him of a safe third.

The 22-year-old Briton now has 84 points to double world champion Alonso's 79.

"It's just a little bit of a problem. You always have setbacks," Hamilton told Britain's ITV television. "We won the last race and we've still got five to go.

"We're still leading with five points. It's not over. Don't worry."

Brazilian Massa moved up to third overall on 69 points with Ferrari team mate Kimi Raikkonen, runner-up on Sunday, a point further back.

Massa led from pole position, just as he had last year, to beat Raikkonen by 2.2 seconds and secure Ferrari's second one-two of the season with the Italian team's home race at Monza next on the calendar.

It was his third victory in 12 races.

Alonso, who started the race seven points adrift of his rookie team mate, slipped from fourth on the starting grid to sixth at the first corner behind both BMW Saubers.

But the Spaniard made his way back up the order after Poland's Robert Kubica and Germany's Nick Heidfeld pitted and was perfectly placed to take advantage of his team mate's misfortune.

"All of a sudden I saw some bits of the side flying off the tyre and it blew," said Hamilton of the major incident of an otherwise uneventful race. "I was quite fortunate I didn't put it in the gravel. So we still got points.

"I had to try to get back, not too quick, but as soon as possible without losing too many places. I got fifth. So, with that problem, I think it's a good job."

Alonso, who cleared the air with Hamilton this week after leaving the previous controversial race in Hungary with the two not on speaking terms and McLaren fighting to control the infighting, welcomed the sudden stroke of luck.

"To be overtaken by two cars and find yourself sixth at the first corner is not great," he said. "You just have to wait for the miracle and it only happened with Hamilton.

"If someone had told me on lap two that I would have been on the podium it would not have been easy to believe," added the 26-year-old, whose relationship with the team has been increasingly uncomfortable.

"The final result is the best thing of the weekend...I will not remember this grand prix all my life but, anyway, it has been quite good."

Heidfeld finished fourth for BMW Sauber.

Finland's Heikki Kovalainen took sixth for outgoing champions Renault, and led for one lap, with Germany's Nico Rosberg seventh for Williams and Kubica eighth for BMW Sauber.

Ferrari cut the gap with McLaren in the constructors' championship to 11 points.