Kimi Raikkonen leads Ferrari 1-2 with Felipe Massa to end McLaren streak at 3 ra

Kimi Raikkonen leads Ferrari 1-2 with Felipe Massa to end McLaren streak at 3 ra

Kimi Raikkonen leads Ferrari 1-2 with Felipe Massa to end McLaren streak at 3 races
July 1, 2007

MAGNY COURS, France (AP) -Kimi Raikkonen and Felipe Massa gave Ferrari a sweep of the top two places at the French Grand Prix on Sunday, ending McLaren's winning streak at three Formula One races.

Raikkonen, who also captured the season-opening Australian Grand Prix, won his second race this year - and the 11th of his career - after starting third on the grid. The Finn finished the 2.74-mile circuit in 1 hour, 30 minutes, 54.200 seconds. Massa, a Brazilian, was nearly 2 1/2 seconds behind.

Lewis Hamilton was third for McLaren, 32 seconds behind the winner. Hamilton, a Briton who won the previous two races in Canada and the U.S., now has eight straight top-three finishes in his rookie F1 season - two wins, four seconds and two thirds - to lead the drivers standings with 64 points.

``I don't like being overtaken. It is the first race I was overtaken,'' Hamilton said. ``But the fact is I finished on the podium again. I extended my lead in the championships, so I couldn't be happier.''

Robert Kubica, who survived a crash at the Canadian Grand Prix and missed the subsequent U.S. race, took fourth for BMW-Sauber. Kubica was cleared to race Thursday after hurting his ankle when he crashed hard into two walls in Montreal.

It was the first Ferrari victory since Massa won at Spain in May. Last year, Michael Schumacher and Massa led a Ferrari 1-2 finish in qualifying and the French race.

Two-time defending world champion Fernando Alonso, who won the Monaco GP before Hamilton's two wins, finished 56.5 seconds behind Raikkonen in seventh place after starting from 10th following gearbox problems in qualifying with his McLaren.

Alonso is second in the season standings with 50, followed by Massa with 47 and Raikkonen with 42.

Despite morning rain, the track was dry for the start and Raikkonen passed Hamilton by the first corner to trail only pole-sitter Massa. Alonso moved up to seventh by the third lap, but he remained stuck behind Nick Heidfeld's BMW-Sauber until he pitted.

``Finally, the start worked for me and it helped a lot,'' Raikkonen said. ``It helps that we got a quick start and got that second place. We just improved our start system and it worked this time.''

At halfway through the race on the 35th lap, after the first pit stops, Massa was 2 seconds ahead of Raikkonen with Hamilton about 7 seconds behind. The situation changed after the 43rd lap.

Massa's pit stop took 9 seconds. Raikkonen drove for three further laps, gaining a second as his car carried less fuel, and then took only 7.8 seconds to refuel at the end of the 46th lap to forge ahead.

With 22 laps to go, Raikkonen led by about 2 seconds and he was never seriously challenged after that.

``I lost the race today because of the traffic,'' Massa said. ``I was so disappointed with the traffic. I lost so much time. You lose so much downforce and then you lose speed. When I was alone I had the speed. As long as I passed the traffic I was all right.''

Sunday's race could be the last in Magny Cours. Due to financial problems, the French Automobile Sports Federation will decide July 19 whether a race will be held in 2008.

The next race is the British GP on July 8.

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