French Grand Prix: Lap by Lap Report

Conditions appeared challenging for the last French Grand Prix from the Circuit de Nevers Magny-Cours. Weather conditions were changeable, but the track looked as though it would remain dry for the start, albeit with considerable levels of concrete dust in places in an attempt to clean up oil left from earlier support races particularly through the Imola Chicane. This oil led Jenson Button to run off the circuit during his installation lap round to the grid, fortunately he was able to continue.

Rain was a distinct possibility, with the wind gusting between 1 and 2.5 mps, pressure falling, humidity 59%, track temperature 37 degrees, and an air temperature of 24 degrees, before the race.

Lap by Lap Report: 

Massa starts from pole, with Lewis Hamilton starting alongside in second. The second Ferrari of Kimi Raikkonen and BMW Sauber s Robert Kubica, starting his first race since his massive accident in Canada three weeks ago, complete the second row. Hamilton s team-mate, Fernando Alonso, starts from tenth, and unlike the front runners, is on the soft compound tyres.

Adrian Sutil abandons his car shortly before the parade lap, after his engineers fail to start the car. He runs to his garage for the spare car.

Raikkonen jumps Hamilton on the start. Davidson runs into the rear of Liuzzi through Turn Two, Liuzzi retires, Davidson pits and also retires. Trulli runs into Kovalainen on the same lap at the Adelaide Hairpin, both cars limp to the pits where Trulli retires and Kovalainen rejoins.

Lap 5 and Alonso continues his charge up the field, stuck in seventh behind Nick Heidfeld. The Spaniard passes the German during the third sector of the lap, but Heidfeld takes the place back as Alonso goes deep into the penultimate corner.

On Lap 7 Massa leads Raikkonen by almost three seconds, with Lewis Hamilton a second behind the Finn with Kubica a further 4.6 seconds behind him. Alonso remains behind Heidfeld, some sixteen seconds off the lead.

Lap 9 and Massa continues to set consecutive fastest laps. Alonso appears to be struggling on his soft tyres behind Heidfeld.

Lap 13 and Kovalainen is lapped by the race leaders. Massa sets another fastest lap with Raikkonen now four seconds behind. Coulthard complains of lack of front end grip.

Lap 16 and McLaren mechanics are out in the pit lane for Lewis Hamilton. The pit stop takes 7.4 seconds, only for Alonso to come in for a 7.9 second stop. Hamilton rejoins in seventh place behind Rosberg.

Lap 20 and Massa pits, taking 8.4 seconds, Raikkonen leads the race and sets the fastest lap of the race of 1:16.207. However, he remains just 20.4 seconds ahead of his team-mate and needs at least 24 seconds to make a pit stop and retain the lead.

Lap 22 and Raikkonen pits, sits for 8 seconds and rejoins behind Massa. A lap later and Alonso passes Fisichella at the Adelaide Hairpin for seventh position.

Lap 26 and Raikkonen is just 1.9 seconds behind his team-mate Massa. Hamilton trails the second Ferrari by almost 9 seconds. Lap 27 and Alonso again fights with Heidfeld for sixth position. Button runs fifth in his revised Honda having not yet stopped.

Lap 29 and Albers retires after dragging his fuel rig down the pit lane. A mix up after both Spykers pitted together.

Lap 33 Alonso passes Heidfeld through the Imola Chicane. Raikkonen closes on Massa, as Hamilton closes on both Ferraris.

Lap 36 and both Ferraris struggle through traffic. Hamilton pits at the end of the lap, avoiding the same backmarkers. The Brit rejoins alongside Kubica, but Lewis eventually forces his way through at the Adelaide Hairpin. Alonso also pits and has a big moment a lap later through Turn Two, only just keeping his McLaren out of the gravel. Alonso looks to have taken on sufficient fuel to take himself to the finish.

Lap 42, Massa sets the fastest lap of the race on a 1:16.099. He leads Raikkonen by 3.3 seconds before making his pit stop. The Brazilian stops for 9.0 seconds and rejoins behind traffic.

Lap 45 and Massa does a 1:18.159, almost two seconds slower than Raikkonen s lap. Raikkonen pits for 7.8 seconds and rejoins ahead.

Button pits from fifth place on Lap 50, rejoining in eighth. Hamilton pits a lap later, and rejoins in third after stopping for 6.5 seconds. The Brit now some 28 seconds behind the leaders.

Lap 54 and the recovering Kovalainen battles with Wurz over fourteenth position, both jumping over the run-off areas at the Nurburgring corner with Alex holding position.

Scott Speed retires from the race on Lap 57 with gearbox problems. Meanwhile Alonso continues to fight with Fisichella over sixth position and Massa trails Raikkonen by 2 seconds.

Kimi Raikkonen wins his second Grand Prix of the season, his second with the Ferrari team, the eleventh of his career and the first to be won by a Finn at Magny Cours. Massa finishes second with Lewis Hamilton some thirty seconds down the road in third.

Kubica finishes fourth, with BMW team-mate Heidfeld fifth ahead of Fisichella. Alonso finishes seventh ahead of Jenson Button, securing Honda s first point of the season.

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