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Raikkonen leads Ferrari one-two in France
July 01, 2007 22:11 IST
McLaren's 22-year-old British rookie Lewis Hamilton [Images] was third but extended his lead over team mate and double world champion Fernando Alonso [Images] to 14 points with his eighth podium finish in as many races.
Spaniard Alonso salvaged some precious points and showed all his fighting spirit by clawing back to seventh place after starting 10th due to a gearbox failure in Saturday's final qualifying.
The victory, from third on the starting grid, was Raikkonen's second of the season and 11th of his career.
It was also Ferrari's first one-two since Germany [Images] last July, and Sunday marked a return to form for a team that had struggled to match McLaren's pace in the last three races.
"Finally the start worked for me," said a relieved Raikkonen, who started with three laps more fuel than Massa and won the race in the pitstops after seizing second place from Hamilton into the first corner.
"I think we are back where we expected to be."
The impassive Finn had not been on the podium in his last four races and was a hefty 26 points adrift of Hamilton going into what could be the last Grand Prix at the Magny-Cours circuit.
He took the chequered flag 2.414 seconds ahead of Massa, who had started on pole position.
"I lost the race today because of the traffic," said Massa. "I was so disappointed with the traffic in the second stint."
Hamilton now has 64 points to Alonso's 50. Massa, who conceded the lead definitively after his second pitstop on lap 43, is on 47 with Raikkonen fighting back into contention on 42.
"I didn't get the best start, all I saw was Kimi come flying past," said Hamilton, who was seeking his third win in a row.
Instead, he crossed the line 32 seconds behind Raikkonen after being overtaken for the first time in his Formula One career.
"But I've got good points for the championship, which is the key and I still think we can take it to them at the next race," added the Briton, who made three stops to the Ferrari drivers' two.
"You can't win every race, the important thing is to be consistent."
The Pole slipped ahead of Hamilton as the McLaren driver came out from his second stop but the Briton forced his way back in front in impressive fashion.
Kubica's German team mate Nick Heidfeld was fifth, ahead of Italian Giancarlo Fisichella for champions Renault in sixth.
Briton Jenson Button [Images] scored Honda's first point of the season with eighth place, a relief for the 27-year-old who can look forward with greater optimism to his and Hamilton's home race at Silverstone next weekend.
Formula One: The Complete Coverage