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The Circuit

How the F1 title was won: Part two

  • Story Highlights
  • Mid-season was up and down for Hamilton, with two wins but also poor results
  • Massa mixed the sublime and the ridiculous in becoming Hamilton's main rival
  • Kubica's Canada win and Raikkonen's slump brought the two close on points
  • Next Article in World Sport »
Neale Graham
For CNN
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LONDON, England (CNN) -- Lewis Hamilton took his first Formula One world championship after an eight-month-long duel with Felipe Massa.

Robert Kubica's Canada win and his consistency moved him into title contention mid-season.

The Circuit looks at how he became the youngest F1 champion with a race-by-race review of a record-breaking and incident-packed 2008 season.

Canadian Grand Prix, Montreal, June 8

It was from the sublime of Monaco to ridiculous of Montreal for Hamilton when the race was decided in a moment of madness in the pitlane. As the safety car circulated and with the red light engaged to prevent any refueled drivers from rejoining the track, unsighted poleman Hamilton ploughed into the back of a stationary Kimi Raikkonen.

Robert Kubica was also at the end of the pitlane at the time and, having escaped a rear-ending, drove to his first F1 win, assuming the lead of the drivers' championship in doing so. BMW eam-mate Nick Heidfeld was second and David Coulthard, on his final visit to an F1 podium, third. Felipe Massa could not capitalize and finished only fifth.

Kubica 42 points, Hamilton 38, Massa 38, Raikkonen 35

French Grand Prix, Magny-Cours, June 22

After Canada, Raikkonen knew his luck was well and truly out when, comfortably leading the race during a weekend he had dominated, he suffered an exhaust problem. Read more about F1 at The Circuit.

It slowed him enough to drop behind Massa at the finish. Hamilton, who had started 13th after being given a 10-place grid drop for his pitlane crash in Montreal, was doubly hindered when he was handed a drive-through penalty for cutting a chicane in overtaking Sebastian Vettel's Toro Rosso. He could not better 10th, while Kubica was off the pace all weekend and only managed fifth as Jarno Trulli gave Toyota their first podium for more than two years.

Massa 46 points, Kubica 46, Raikkonen 43, Hamilton 38

British Grand Prix, Silverstone, July 6

A wet race played perfectly into the hands of Hamilton, F1's rainmaster. Heikki Kovalainen had taken pole ahead of Red Bull's Mark Webber and Raikkonen but no one had an answer to Hamilton on a day when it appeared he was driving in the dry while everyone else slithered around in the wet.

He won by more than a minute from Heidfeld and Honda's Rubens Barrichello. Hamilton's title rivals were nowhere -- Raikkonen was fourth and lapped, Massa spun an embarrassing five times on his way to 13th and last of the classified finishers and Kubica's race ended in a gravel trap.

Hamilton 48 points, Raikkonen 48, Massa 46, Kubica 46

German Grand Prix, Hockenheim, July 20

Hamilton made it back-to-back wins with a consummate performance that would have been a whole lot more straightforward if his McLaren team had pitted him when the safety car came out for Toyota driver Timo Glock's crash late in the race. He could not rebuild a lead big enough before pitting under green-flag conditions and fell to fifth.

But after showing his ability to lead from the front, Hamilton demonstrated his racer's instincts with moves on Kovalainen, Massa, who finished in a much-criticized third, and safety-car beneficiary Nelson Piquet, of Renault. Raikkonen started and finished sixth, Kubica likewise for seventh.

Hamilton 58 points, Massa 54, Raikkonen 51, Kubica 48

Hungarian Grand Prix, Budapest, August 3

Starting from pole, Hamilton's McLaren looked to have the legs of the Ferraris. But, from third on the grid, a fast-starting Massa pulled off a do-or-die pass around the outside of his rival into the first corner at the start. The Brazilian proceeded to pull away from Hamilton and the status quo was maintained until the McLaren slowed with a puncture, dropping Hamilton to 10th.

Kovalainen moved up to second, which became first when Massa's engine blew three laps from home and the Finn duly won his first grand prix. Hamilton finished fifth, Raikkonen moved up from sixth at the start to finish third, while Kubica went backwards from fourth on the grid to eighth at the flag.

Hamilton 62 points, Raikkonen 57, Massa 54, Kubica 49

European Grand Prix, Valencia, August 24

A processional race on the first of 2008's two new street venues was won by Massa, who was in charge from first to last. Hamilton did his best to stay in touch but the leader was uncatchable. His Ferrari team tried to spoil the day by releasing him from a pitstop into the path of Sutil, but Massa avoided the expected drive-through penalty and was given a nominal fine instead.

Behind the front two, Kubica had his best result since Canada with third place. Raikkonen's qualifying woes continued, meaning he could not make the most of his Ferrari's speed in the race, and he retired with engine failure late on.

Hamilton 70 points, Massa 64, Raikkonen 57, Kubica 56

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How the title was won: Part three

How the title was won: Part one

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