Team boss Stefano Domenicali, who turned 44 on Sunday, played down any talk of dominance, despite the fact that Turkey was Ferrari's fourth consecutive win in 2008. "At Monaco and Canada last year we suffered a lot and we will have to do our best in preparing for these races," he said.
The reason for Hamilton's glum face during the qualifying press conference was revealed on Sunday -- even with a light three-stop fuel load, he had been outqualified by his heavier teammate Heikki Kovalainen. The Briton explained that Bridgestone requested the strategy, which produced an exciting race and even a pass on ultimate winner Massa, for fear of a repeat of his tyre failure of 2007. "I think this is the best race ever for me," Hamilton said, clearly happier with his performance in the race. "I really think we have closed the gap to Ferrari." Kovalainen's first front row start quickly turned to disappointment, after the early tag from compatriot Raikkonen forced an early pit stop, and he finished a lap down and out of the points despite a spirited fightback.
Another strong result for Robert Kubica, although he greeted the chequered flag nearly 18 seconds behind the final podium-getter, Raikkonen. "I was a little bit slower than the three guys in front of me, but quicker than the rest of the pack," the Pole said. Nick Heidfeld converted his poor 9th on the grid to 5th at the chequer, but he was a long way behind his teammate at the end. "We are happy with this result," said technical boss Willy Rampf.
The Renault-powered Mark Webber and Fernando Alonso duked it out to be 'best of the rest' behind the big teams in Turkey, and Alonso won the day by 10 seconds. Nelson Piquet compounded his poor grid position with a bad start, and finished 15th in the depleted field of 17, albeit after demonstrating some fighting qualities, particularly against Kovalainen.
"Fernando was a bit strong for us today," Webber said, after following the works Renault home to seventh place and two points. David Coulthard at least got through a race without colliding with anyone, finishing ninth.
Nico Rosberg's collection of the final point was helped by his very good start from 11th on the grid. "Any more, though, is just not possible at the moment," the German said. Kazuki Nakajima's DNF was the first of his short formula one career, and he was lucky to escape unhurt after Giancarlo Fisichella's flying Force India leaped over his head at the first corner, bringing out the safety car. "I don't know exactly what happened," he said. "I was just hit from behind."
Jarno Trulli got a nudge amid the turn one chaos, dropping him three places and limiting his charge to just tenth place. Timo Glock also complained about being stuck in traffic after finishing a lap down and 13th. "There is still a big gap between our performance and that of the front teams," team boss Tadashi Yamashina admitted.
Not a good race for Honda, with Jenson Button 11th and Rubens Barrichello a lowly 14th at the end of his record-breaking 257th grand prix. "Unfortunately we did not have the pace to compete," the Brazilian veteran said. Team boss Ross Brawn said the team is working on "some visually interesting" new parts for Monaco, which may be tried at the forthcoming Paul Ricard group test.
Fisichella smashed into the rear and then flew over the top of Nakajima's Williams at the first corner. "Bourdais changed direction twice and I couldn't brake in time," he said. Adrian Sutil - rarely seeing a chequered flag - narrowly beat Sebastian Vettel home to avoid last place, after a collision with a Toro Rosso damaged his nose on the fraught first lap.
Vettel finally saw a chequered flag in Turkey, but only after an incident-packed race, including a cut tyre on lap one and refuelling problems, and he finished dead last after not managing to pass Sutil in the closing stages. Sebastien Bourdais also had refuelling problems, but he retired after an unidentified failure at the rear of his car spun him deep into the gravel. "We are glad the STR2 era is over," said team boss Franz Tost.