French GP - Sunday - Race Notes

Raikkonen heads Ferrari 1-2 in France

Kimi Raikkonen, French GP 2007

Kimi Raikkonen, French GP 2007 

 © The Cahier Archive

The revived Ferrari team made an impressive come-back to form in the French GP, with Kimi Raikkonen scoring his second victory of the year and heading the first Ferrari 1-2 of the season. The Finn was able to pass his team mate Felipe Massa in the course of the second round of planned pit stops. A distant third place went to Lewis Hamilton, the only McLaren driver with a realistic chance of challenging the Ferraris after a gearbox failure prevented his team mate Fernando Alonso from taking part in the third and final session of qualifying. Hamilton's three-stop strategy failed to keep him in touch with the Ferraris.

The BMW-Saubers of Robert Kubica and Nick Heidfeld filled 4th and 5th places, with Giancarlo Fisichella taking 6th for Renault after resisting repeated attacks from Alonso. The final championship point wass taken by Jenson Button, whose Honda team started him on a one-stop strategy.

At the start, Massa leads away, with Raikkonen snatching second place from a slow-starting Hamilton. Kubica, Fisichella and Heidfeld fill the next three places. Davidson collides with Liuzzi in the first turn, while Kovalainen is tagged from behind by Trulli at the hairpin and spins. There are several narrow avoidances and all four casualties head for the pits. The Spyker of Adrian Sutil is pushed off the grid at the beginning of the formation lap and the German starts the race from the pitlane in the spare car.

On lap 6 Fernando Alonso (starting 10th) briefly passes Heidfeld for sixth place before the German immediately fights back.

On lap 10 Massa is 3.6 seconds ahead of Raikkonen. They are closely followed by Hamilton, then come Kubica, Fisichella and the battling duo of Heidfeld and Alonso. Rosberg, Button and Barrichello complete the top ten places. The cars of Davidson, Liuzzi and Trulli are too badly damaged to be sent back into the race, but Kovalainen has restarted, one lap behind.

On lap 15 Massa has increased his lead to 4.6 seconds. Alonso continues to hound Heidfeld, while Barrichello is closely chased by Ralf Schumacher and Mark Webber.

On lap 16 both Hamilton and Alonso make their first pit stops, separated by just enough time to allow them to refuel and change tyres without delaying one another. Hamilton switches from hard to soft Bridgestones: Alonso changes from soft to hard rubber.

On lap 19 Massa arrives in the pits for fuel and tyres, followed by Kubica and Fisichella. All three stay on the harder compound rubber.

On lap 21 Raikkonen makes his pitstop (taking hard rubber again), while Alonso unsuccessfully attacks Fisichella at the hairpin for 7th place.

On lap 22 Alonso's assault on Fisichella succeeds when he makes a repeat move at the hairpin.

On lap 25 Raikkonen has brought the gap separating him from race leader Massa down to 1.9 seconds. Hamilton holds an increasingly distant (8.6 seconds) 3rd place, with Kubica another 13.2 seconds back in fourth place. Button, 5th, is the only leading runner not to have stopped. Alonso is once again hard on Heidfeld's tail in a battle for 6th.

On lap 27 Alonso draws level with Heidfeld at the hairpin but is forced to run wide. Still no pass.

On lap 29 Albers decides to leave his pit before the refuelling hose has been withdrawn. Several members of the Spyker crew are felled as the hose detaches at the fuel rig end. Albers immediately pulls off the circuit to retire.

On lap 31 Alonso makes yet another unsuccessful bid to pass Heidfeld at the hairpin. Meanwhile, the stewards announce an investigation into an incident involving Adrian Sutil: his team is instructed to call him in to serve a drive-through penalty.

On lap 32 Button, on a one-stop strategy, takes on fuel and tyres. He resumes in 9th place, behind Rosberg.

On lap 33 Alonso attacks Heidfeld unexpectedly in the fast chicane. The German takes to the kerbs and is forced to yield.

On lap 35 Sutil comes into the pitlane to serve his penalty.

On lap 37 Hamilton and Alonso both come in on the same lap to make their second stops for fuel and tyres. Hamilton narrowly fails to hold off Kubica into the first corner, but is able to pass half a lap later. Alonso's stop is slightly delayed.

On lap 39 Alonso, running in 10th place (the last unlapped runner) runs wide in the right-hander Lycee corner before the pits, losing time but not position.

On lap 43 Massa, still 2.0 seconds ahead of Raikkonen, makes his second pit stop. He is sufficiently far (30.3 seconds) ahead of Hamilton to get back on track in front of the Englishman.

On lap 45 Kubica makes his second stop, taking soft rubber.

On lap 46 Raikkonen makes his second stop, switching to hard rubber and returning to the track just ahead of team mate Massa, who is fighting to find a way past the lapped Williams-Toyota of Alexander Wurz.

On lap 47 Heidfeld makes his second pit stop, taking soft rubber.

On lap 50, Fisichella and Button make their second stops from 4th and 5th places.

On lap 51, after Hamilton makes the last of his planned three stops, the order is re-established among the top eight runners -- all with their pit stops now completed. Raikkonen leads by 2.0 seconds from Massa, with Hamilton 32.9 seconds behind in third place. The Englishman's "short" strategy has failed. Following are Kubica, Heidfeld, Fisichella, Alonso and Button. Only Rosberg and Schumacher are on the same lap as the leaders.

On lap 54 Kovalainen short-cuts a corner and loses 15th place to Wurz, who is forced to cut the corner even shorter but refuses to back off. Kovalainen immediately comes in for his third pit stop.

On lap 57 Scott Speed, lying 15th, pulls off the track and abandons his Toro Rosso.

On lap 70 Raikkonen crosses the line two seconds ahead of Massa, with Hamilton trailing half a minute behind in third.