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Raikkonen rains on Hamilton's parade
Alan Baldwin | July 08, 2007 19:49 IST
Last Updated: July 09, 2007 14:49 IST
The Finn, who led a Ferrari one-two in France [Images] last weekend, took the chequered flag 2.4 seconds ahead of McLaren's double world champion Fernando Alonso [Images] thanks to an astute pitstop strategy.
"This is the perfect result and if we can repeat this we are going to be ahead of everybody," said Raikkonen, who is now third overall and 18 points adrift of Hamilton with plenty to play for.
Hamilton, the 22-year-old who attracted record crowds to Silverstone -- including England [Images] midfielder David Beckham [Images] and his wife Victoria -- for his British debut after an extraordinary run of success, had his lead over team mate Alonso trimmed to 12 points after finishing third.
He led for the first 15 laps only but crossed the line to a roar of sound from the packed grandstands, with banners hailing Formula One's 'New Kid on the Block' and future world champion, after starting on pole position.
Yet while the Briton celebrated his ninth podium finish in nine starts, an unprecedented feat for a rookie driver in Formula One, he recognised that he had paid the price for costly errors.
But for Ferrari's Felipe Massa [Images] stalling on the grid, and starting from the pit lane, he would surely have finished fourth.
One mistake came in the first pitstop, when Hamilton moved off too early and lost a couple of seconds, and the other was the fundamental set-up of the car.
"I think I made a wrong decision with the set-up. I chose a different rear end to Fernando and I think it really caused me problems during the race," he said.
"Even in qualifying we didn't really have the pace we should have had but it was too late by then to change the car. So it was a good lesson.
"But we've come away with a ninth podium position and I have to be happy with that and hope to do better in the next race," added the Briton.
Alonso, who led for the middle stint of the race, knew he was beaten after Raikkonen emerged from his second pitstop ahead of him.
"I think the Ferraris were a little bit too quick today," said the Spaniard, who shook his fist at American Scott Speed when the Toro Rosso driver failed to move over swiftly enough when being lapped.
"This result will not change too much and second place was the maximum today."
Raikkonen's win was his third of the season, more than any other driver in a fierce title battle between Ferrari and McLaren, and 12th of his career.
Team mate Massa slipped to fourth place overall, one point behind Raikkonen, after finishing fifth. Poland's Robert Kubica was fourth for BMW [Images] Sauber.
Massa also lit up the early stages of the race, while Raikkonen and Hamilton battled it out at the front, with a stirring charge back through the field to 10th place after just eight laps.
Germany's [Images] Nick Heidfeld finished sixth for BMW Sauber with the Renaults of Finland's Heikki Kovalainen and Italian Giancarlo Fisichella taking the last points on a bright and breezy afternoon at Silverstone.
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