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2008 French Grand Prix

Grand Prix de France

Sunday, June 22, 2008
Warm, dry and cloudy at the start, light rain later
Fastest Lap:
Raikkonen, 1m16.630
2008 season:

The French Grand Prix produced a Ferrari 1-2, but not in the order we expected. Until a broken exhaust slowed him, Kimi Raikkonen was comfortably in command, but just after half-distance he found himself down on power, and was obliged to let Felipe Massa through. “Disappointing, of course,” said Raikkonen. “I had a good car all weekend, took pole, led easily…but these things happen sometimes, and at least I had enough gap over the others to finish second. There was quite a lot of damage to the car, so it’s quite lucky we finished – and eight points is good…” Eight points were particularly good on a day when Lewis Hamilton didn’t score any. The McLaren team leader started well back, thanks to his 10-place penalty from Montreal, but after making some progress in the early laps incurred a drive through penalty (for missing the apex of a corner, and, in the estimation of the FIA stewards – one of them a Mr Despotopoulos – gaining an advantage from it, although not a place). That effectively ruled Hamilton out for the afternoon, and he finished a point-less 10th. The happiest soul at Magny-Cours was, of course, Massa, who took his third win of the season, and in so doing became the first Brazilian to lead the World Championship since Ayrton Senna in early 1993. Significantly, he was also the fourth different points leader in four races. “I have to say I didn’t expect this,” said Felipe, “but sometimes you need a little bit of luck, and today it was my turn. Kimi and I were two laps different on fuel – I had more – but it would have been…very difficult to pass him.” Make that ‘impossible’: until his exhaust problem intervened, Raikkonen was more than seven seconds ahead, and had checked out. If a Ferrari victory were a foregone conclusion, Trulli’s podium place for Toyota was emphatically not, but very popular it was, for Jarno is among the most well-liked of all the drivers, and has driven consistently well this season, usually for little reward. As well as that, this was the first Grand Prix since the death of Ove Andersson, an immensely popular man who contributed enormously to Toyota’s motor sport achievements over the years. “All weekend,” said Trulli, “we wanted to have a good result to dedicate to Ove’s memory, and I’m very happy for that.”