While the two championship protagonist made a mess of the 67-lap Japanese Grand Prix, Fernando Alonso steered clear of trouble to take his 21st career win from Robert Kubica and Kimi Raikkonen. While it was a tremendous drive from Alonso, the race will be remembered for the lap one antics of pole-sitter Lewis Hamilton and Felipe Massa.
Hamilton made a poor start from the pole position and vigorously chopped across team-mate Heikki Kovalainen on the long run to the first turn with Kimi Raikkonen challenging for the position on the outside. Hamilton missed his braking point and ran wide forcing Raikkonen to the outside of the circuit and allowing Kubica and Alonso through to take the lead.
Having dropped down the order Hamilton battled hard with Massa, taking the position into turn ten on the first lap.
The Brazilian ran wide and then launched his F2008 across the chicane before making contact with the McLaren. Massa continued but Hamilton had been tipped into a spin and dropped to the rear of the field.
Massa would get a drive through penalty for running into Hamilton while the championship leader would also get a penalty for running wide at compromising Raikkonen at the start of the race. Both Hamilton and Massa did not have their finest of days.