Formula 1: Lewis Hamilton at risk of losing a championship?

Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Formula 1 (Photo by Qian Jun/MB Media/Getty Images)
Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Formula 1 (Photo by Qian Jun/MB Media/Getty Images) /

Felipe Massa is planning to look into legal options to potentially overturn Lewis Hamilton’s 2008 Formula 1 world championship.

Felipe Massa crossed the finish line in the 2008 Brazilian Grand Prix in front of his home crowd thinking that he had beaten Lewis Hamilton to win the Formula 1 world championship.

But Hamilton, then competing for McLaren, passed Timo Glock for fifth place in the final few corners at Interlagos, giving him the extra point he needed to win his first title.

Massa would ultimately retire at the end of the 2017 season without a title — and with no more wins. Ferrari still haven’t had a driver win the title since Kimi Raikkonen in 2007.

But now Massa is looking into legal options to challenge the outcome of the 2008 championship, thanks to recent comments by Bernie Ecclestone about Crashgate.

Crashgate took place during the Singapore Grand Prix at Marina Bay Street Circuit, when Nelson Piquet Jr. intentionally wrecked to bring out an early safety car, thus helping Renault teammate Fernando Alonso win the race.

Massa’s chances of a good finish were damaged by the incident, as he ultimately came into the pits as a result of the wreck and had a poor stop. The leader during Piquet’s crash ultimately finished in 13th place and scored no points, while Hamilton was able to finish in third and score six.

This race was the 15th of 18 on the 2008 Formula 1 schedule, and the final championship tally favored Lewis Hamilton by one point (98 to 97).

This is not the first time that Massa has challenged the results of that race, and thus the outcome of the 2008 world championship, as details of Crashgate emerged the following year. But at that point, it was too late to try to change anything.

Now with Ecclestone claiming that the FIA did, in fact, know about the situation during the 2008 season itself, and therefore something could have been done before it was too late, Massa is considering his options. He would like for the result of the race to be canceled altogether.

At the end of the day, 15 years later, there is very little, if any at all, reason to believe that anything will come of this development, or that anything will happen to Hamilton’s 2008 title.

And while he may have a right to feel slighted, Massa knows this.

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Hamilton is a seven-time world champion, and his first title came in 2008, not 2014. Much like the case with Hamilton and Max Verstappen from 2021, you can’t rewrite history. More than 5,000 days later, he is hardly at risk of being stripped of a title and thus becoming a six-time world champion.