Massa leads dominant Ferrari 1-2 in France

Felipe Massa benefited from an exhaust problem for his Ferrari teammate Kimi Raikkonen to take victory in the French Grand Prix and move into the world championship lead

Massa leads dominant Ferrari 1-2 in France

Ferrari's advantage was such that Raikkonen was able to retain second despite slowing his pace for half the race, while Jarno Trulli held off McLaren's Heikki Kovalainen to claim third and take Toyota's first podium finish since Melbourne 2006.

Lewis Hamilton was hit with a second penalty when he was awarded a drive-through for cutting the Nurburgring chicane while passing Sebastian Vettel on the first lap. The McLaren driver was only able to recover to 10th.

Raikkonen had looked set for a comfortable victory until his exhaust problem developed. Despite pitting earlier than Massa, he had been able to establish a six-second advantage in the first half of the race.

But then part of the Ferrari's exhaust system came loose, costing Raikkonen speed and scorching the car's bodywork. As his lap times rose, the Finn had to hand the lead to Massa on lap 38, allowing the Brazilian to charge away and secure his third win of the year.

Trulli had jumped to third at the start and resisted race-long pressure from various pursuers to cling on to the podium place.

In the end it was Kovalainen and erstwhile championship leader Robert Kubica (BMW) who hounded the Toyota to the chequered flag, as Trulli's pace slowed more than the chasing pack when a brief rain shower struck with a dozen laps to go.

Kovalainen had used long stints to move up through the field after his five-place grid penalty, and a mid-race pass on Mark Webber at the Adelaide hairpin allowed him to chase down Kubica and pass the BMW in the final stops.

A final bid to pass Trulli on the penultimate lap saw Kovalainen taking to the run-off at the Imola chicane after they nearly touched at high-speed, but both survived that scare to come home third and fourth.

Despite some assertive overtaking, Kovalainen's teammate Hamilton could not produce a similar result. The penalty for missing the chicane apex was awarded just before his first pitstop and left him at the tail of the field. He managed to recover as far as 10th, but could not get past David Coulthard's Red Bull in the final laps.

Fernando Alonso's bid to take a podium for Renault on home ground was immediately hurt by a poor start that dropped him from third to fifth. He passed Kubica as the BMW went wide while attacking Trulli, only to fall back into the pack when he made his pitstops earlier than all his nearest rivals.

An error by Webber allowed Alonso to get back up to fifth in the middle stint, but he lost out to the Red Bull again in the final stops, and with Kovalainen also vaulting ahead, he emerged in a disappointing seventh.

The former champion then lost to his teammate Nelson Piquet when he went wide while trying to pass Webber with two laps to go.

The Brazilian produced a quietly impressive drive to earn his first points finish, having shrugged off heavy pressure from both McLarens in his first stint. Alonso had to settle for eighth.

Timo Glock (Toyota) ran in the points early on but lost ground in the pit sequences then was passed by Hamilton during the rain shower. He finished just ahead of Sebastian Vettel - whose long first stint saw him run as high as fourth for Toro Rosso - and the muted Nick Heidfeld's BMW.

The race saw only one retirement, as Jenson Button's Honda eventually succumbed to the damage it sustained when he hit Sebastien Bourdais' Toro Rosso at the first corner.

PROVISIONAL RACE RESULTS

The French Grand Prix
Magny Cours, France;
70 laps; 308.586km;
Weather: Cloudy, then light rain.

Classified:

Pos  Driver        Team                      Time
 1.  Massa         Ferrari               (B)  1h31:50.245
 2.  Raikkonen     Ferrari               (B)  +    17.984
 3.  Trulli        Toyota                (B)  +    28.250
 4.  Kovalainen    McLaren-Mercedes      (B)  +    28.929
 5.  Kubica        BMW Sauber            (B)  +    30.512
 6.  Webber        Red Bull-Renault      (B)  +    40.304
 7.  Piquet        Renault               (B)  +    41.033
 8.  Alonso        Renault               (B)  +    43.372
 9.  Coulthard     Red Bull-Renault      (B)  +    51.021
10.  Hamilton      McLaren-Mercedes      (B)  +    54.538
11.  Glock         Toyota                (B)  +    57.700
12.  Vettel        Toro Rosso-Ferrari    (B)  +    58.065
13.  Heidfeld      BMW Sauber            (B)  +  1:02.079
14.  Barrichello   Honda                 (B)  +     1 lap
15.  Nakajima      Williams-Toyota       (B)  +     1 lap
16.  Rosberg       Williams-Toyota       (B)  +     1 lap
17.  Bourdais      Toro Rosso-Ferrari    (B)  +     1 lap
18.  Fisichella    Force India-Ferrari   (B)  +     1 lap
19.  Sutil         Force India-Ferrari   (B)  +     1 lap

Fastest lap: Raikkonen, 1:16.630

Not classified/retirements:

Driver        Team                      On lap
Button        Honda                 (B)    17


World Championship standings, round 8:                

Drivers:                    Constructors:             
 1.  Massa         48        1.  Ferrari                91
 2.  Kubica        46        2.  BMW Sauber             74
 3.  Raikkonen     43        3.  McLaren-Mercedes       58
 4.  Hamilton      38        4.  Red Bull-Renault       24
 5.  Heidfeld      28        5.  Toyota                 23
 6.  Kovalainen    20        6.  Williams-Toyota        15
 7.  Trulli        18        7.  Renault                12
 8.  Webber        18        8.  Honda                   8
 9.  Alonso        10        9.  Toro Rosso-Ferrari      7
10.  Rosberg        8       
11.  Nakajima       7       
12.  Coulthard      6       
13.  Barrichello    5       
14.  Glock          5       
15.  Vettel         5       
16.  Button         3       
17.  Piquet         2       
18.  Bourdais       2       
       
All timing unofficial
shares
comments
FIA to demand more revenue for teams
Previous article

FIA to demand more revenue for teams

Next article

Alonso blames lack of race pace

Alonso blames lack of race pace
How departing F1 boss Brawn views F1’s new rules - and the future Plus

How departing F1 boss Brawn views F1’s new rules - and the future

Multiple-title-winning designer and team boss Ross Brawn is finally leaving Formula 1 after nearly 50 years in motorsport. But he still has plenty of insights on what’s working and what comes next, as he revealed to Autosport in a far-reaching exclusive interview in Abu Dhabi

Formula 1
Dec 2, 2022
The key F1 management call Ferrari must make to avoid more defeat Plus

The key F1 management call Ferrari must make to avoid more defeat

OPINION: Mattia Binotto’s departure from Ferrari will naturally bring a range of changes across the Formula 1 team. But how the changes shape up and the impact they could have is set to be dictated by a key direction Ferrari’s top dogs will need to pick

Formula 1
Nov 30, 2022
The difference between Mercedes’ stumble and the fall of F1 giants Plus

The difference between Mercedes’ stumble and the fall of F1 giants

OPINION: Mercedes endured its worst season of the hybrid Formula 1 era, but was mercifully spared its first winless campaign in over a decade late on. It has owned up to the mistakes it made which led to its troubled W13. And while its task to return to title-challenging contention is not small, its 2022 season seems more like a blip than the beginning of a downward spiral.

Formula 1
Nov 29, 2022
The physical focus bringing out the best of an F1 midfield star Plus

The physical focus bringing out the best of an F1 midfield star

Esteban Ocon likes to point out he’s the first driver since Lewis Hamilton to emerge from a spell as Fernando Alonso’s team-mate with a superior overall points record. While some may disagree, as LUKE SMITH discovered, the 2021 Hungarian GP winner reckons it’s not just luck which has made him France’s pre-eminent Formula 1 driver of the moment…

Formula 1
Nov 28, 2022
How Red Bull's dynamic leader shaped its F1 philosophy Plus

How Red Bull's dynamic leader shaped its F1 philosophy

The death of Dietrich Mateschitz last month has not only deprived Red Bull of its visionary founder, it has shorn Formula 1 of one of its most influential benefactors. Mateschitz himself was famously media-shy, preferring to let the brand do the talking on his behalf. And, while it’s now normal to speak of Red Bull F1 titles and champions made, Mateschitz never assumed it would be easy or even possible – as ANTHONY ROWLINSON discovered during this previously unpublished interview from 2006…

Formula 1
Nov 27, 2022
Can Mercedes break Formula 1's cycle of doom? Plus

Can Mercedes break Formula 1's cycle of doom?

OPINION: Teams that have dominated for long periods throughout Formula 1's history often take years to get back to the top of the tree once they've slipped down. But it remains to be seen whether the same will happen to Mercedes after a challenging 2022 season

Formula 1
Nov 24, 2022
What hurt Perez most in his ill-fated fight for second in Abu Dhabi Plus

What hurt Perez most in his ill-fated fight for second in Abu Dhabi

Arguably the favourite in the battle to finish second best in 2022's Formula 1 standings, Sergio Perez's two-stop strategy at Abu Dhabi couldn't take him ahead of Charles Leclerc when the music stopped - and several key factors ultimately precluded him from the much-coveted runner-up spot

Formula 1
Nov 23, 2022
The Abu Dhabi momentum that can propel Leclerc and Ferrari to F1 2023 success Plus

The Abu Dhabi momentum that can propel Leclerc and Ferrari to F1 2023 success

OPINION: Charles Leclerc achieved his target of sealing runner-up in the 2022 world championship with a masterful drive behind Max Verstappen in Abu Dhabi. And that race contained key elements that may help him, and Ferrari, go one better in Formula 1 2023

Formula 1
Nov 22, 2022