, the concise formula one motor racing page

Report on the 2006 season   Report on the 2005 season   Report on the 2004 season   Report on the 2003 season   Report on the 2002 season   Report on the 2001 season  

guest book   home   formula   get that url   Live coverage from Eurosport  

Formula one grand prix 2007

The 2007 formula one grand prix season

DateGrand PrixCircuit
March 18th.AustraliaMelbourne
April 8th.MalaysiaSepang
April 15th.BahrainSakhir
May 13th.SpainCatalunya
May 27th.MonacoMonte Carlo
June 10th.CanadaMontreal
June 17th.United StatesIndianapolis
July 1st.FranceMagny-Courts
July 8th.Great BritainSilverstone
July 22nd.EuropeNurburgring
August 5th.HungaryBudapest
August 26th.TurkeyIstanbul
September 9th.ItalyMonza
September 16th.BelgiumSpa-Francorchamps
September 30th.JapanSuzuka
October 7th.ChinaShanghai
October 21st.BrazilInterlagos

There will be no San Marino nor German Grand Prix.
Hard to understand why in previous years the Germans have get away with two Grand Prixes;
one at Hockenheim and the other at Nurburgring.
The Belgium Grand Prix has been restored.

McLaren Mercedes

Drivers and teams for the 2007 formula one grand prix season
TeamDriver Driver Test DriverTest Driver
RenaultGiancarlo FisichellaHeikki Kovalainen
McLaren MercedesFernando AlonsoLewis Hamilton
FerrariKimi RaikkonenFelipe Massa
ToyotaRalf SchumacherJarno Trulli
Williams BMWNico RosbergAlex Wurz
HondaJenson ButtonRubens Barrichello
Red BullDavid CoulthardMark Webber
BMW-SauberNick HeidfeldRobert Kubica
SpykerChristijan AlbersAdrian Sutil
Super AguriTakuma SatoAnthony Davidson

Toro Rosso was always an extra team for Red Bull but now sadly no longer exists.
So we are back with 10 teams and 20 drivers.
Juan Pablo Montoya and Michael Schumacher have retired.

Drivers' standings - Final
(Lewis Hamilton is ahead of Fernando Alonso because he had more second places)

1  	 Kimi Raikkonen   	10  	6  	6  	-  	1  	4  	5  	10  	10  	-  	8  	8  	6  	10  	6  	10  	10  	110
2 	Lewis Hamilton 	6 	8 	8 	8 	8 	10 	10 	6 	6 	- 	10 	4 	8 	5 	10 	- 	2 	109
3 	Fernando Alonso 	8 	10 	4 	6 	10 	2 	8 	2 	8 	10 	5 	6 	10 	6 	- 	8 	6 	109
4 	Felipe Massa 	3 	4 	10 	10 	6 	- 	6 	8 	4 	8 	- 	10 	- 	8 	3 	6 	8 	94
5 	Nick Heidfeld 	5 	5 	5 	- 	3 	8 	- 	4 	3 	3 	6 	5 	5 	4 	- 	2 	3 	61
6 	Robert Kubica 	- 	- 	3 	5 	4 	- 	- 	5 	5 	2 	4 	1 	4 	- 	2 	- 	4 	39
7 	Heikki Kovalainen 	- 	1 	- 	2 	- 	5 	4 	- 	2 	1 	1 	3 	2 	1 	8 	- 	- 	30
8 	Giancarlo Fisichella 	4 	3 	1 	- 	5 	- 	- 	3 	1 	- 	- 	- 	- 	- 	4 	- 	- 	21
9 	Nico Rosberg 	2 	- 	- 	3 	- 	- 	- 	- 	- 	- 	2 	2 	3 	3 	- 	- 	5 	20
10 	David Coulthard 	- 	- 	- 	4 	- 	- 	- 	- 	- 	4 	- 	- 	- 	- 	5 	1 	- 	14
11 	Alex Wurz 	- 	- 	- 	- 	2 	6 	- 	- 	- 	5 	- 	- 	- 	- 	- 	- 	- 	13
12 	Mark Webber 	- 	- 	- 	- 	- 	- 	2 	- 	- 	6 	- 	- 	- 	2 	- 	- 	- 	10
13 	Jarno Trulli 	- 	2 	2 	- 	- 	- 	3 	- 	- 	- 	- 	- 	- 	- 	- 	- 	1 	8
14 	Sebastian Vettel 	- 	- 	- 	- 	- 	- 	1 	- 	- 	- 	- 	- 	- 	- 	- 	5 	- 	6
15 	Jenson Button 	- 	- 	- 	- 	- 	- 	- 	1 	- 	- 	- 	- 	1 	- 	- 	4 	- 	6
16 	Ralf Schumacher 	1 	- 	- 	- 	- 	1 	- 	- 	- 	- 	3 	- 	- 	- 	- 	- 	- 	5
17 	Takuma Sato 	- 	- 	- 	1 	- 	3 	- 	- 	- 	- 	- 	- 	- 	- 	- 	- 	- 	4
18 	Vitantonio Liuzzi 	- 	- 	- 	- 	- 	- 	- 	- 	- 	- 	- 	- 	- 	- 	- 	3 	- 	3
19 	Adrian Sutil 	- 	- 	- 	- 	- 	- 	- 	- 	- 	- 	- 	- 	- 	- 	1 	- 	- 	1
20 	Rubens Barrichello 	- 	- 	- 	- 	- 	- 	- 	- 	- 	- 	- 	- 	- 	- 	- 	- 	- 	0
21 	Scott Speed 	- 	- 	- 	- 	- 	- 	- 	- 	- 	- 	- 	- 	- 	- 	- 	- 	- 	0
22 	Kazuki Nakajima 	- 	- 	- 	- 	- 	- 	- 	- 	- 	- 	- 	- 	- 	- 	- 	- 	- 	0
23 	Anthony Davidson 	- 	- 	- 	- 	- 	- 	- 	- 	- 	- 	- 	- 	- 	- 	- 	- 	- 	0
24 	Sakon Yamamoto 	- 	- 	- 	- 	- 	- 	- 	- 	- 	- 	- 	- 	- 	- 	- 	- 	- 	0
25 	Christijan Albers 	- 	- 	- 	- 	- 	- 	- 	- 	- 	- 	- 	- 	- 	- 	- 	- 	- 	0
26 	Markus Winkelhock 	- 	- 	- 	- 	- 	- 	- 	- 	- 	- 	- 	- 	- 	- 	- 	- 	- 	0

Brazilian GP: Raikkonen crowned World Champion Sunday 21st October 2007


Kimi Raikkonen is the new Formula One world champion after Lewis Hamilton's dreams were crushed in Brazil.

Hamilton endured a nightmare race at Interlagos, finishing only seventh after running wide on the first lap and then losing around forty seconds when his McLaren lost power.

The problem proved decisive with the rookie unable to battle back into the fifth place he required for the title.

Raikkonen drove a flawless race to finish on 110 points. Hamilton, having led the championship since May, ended the year just a solitary point behind the Finn.

Grand Prix Report

With an ambient temperature of 36C and the track at a record-breaking 63C the big worry at the start of the race was whether the softer Bridgestone tyre would hold together when it was used. Most teams were intending to run a shorter final stint on the white-lined tyre when the track had rubbered in.

As the lights went out Lewis Hamilton got a good start, but Kimi Raikkonen was easily past him going into Turn 1 and right alongside Felipe Massa. Realising that Kimi had to cede the line to Massa he backed off, the tail of the Ferrari F2007 slid and the following Lewis Hamilton had to step off the gas.

This allowed Fernando Alonso to get up the inside of Lewis Hamilton and take P3. Going down into Lake Descent Hamilton rashly decided to try and get the place back straight away. With Alonso moving across to block the inside line, Hamilton missed his braking point, ran wide and fell down the field to eighth place

Further back down the grid Liuzzi lost his front wing and Heiki Kovalainen was bumped off the side of the track by Ralf Schumacher's Toyota in the opening melee of Turn 1.

As the cars crossed the line at the end of the opening tour it was Massa, Raikkonen, Alonso, Webber, Kubica, Heidfeld, Trulli and Hamilton in P8.

At the front it was immediately clear that the Ferrari's pace was going to be unbeatable and Kimi Raikkonen and Felipe Massa traded fastest laps as they rapidly opened up a gap to Fernando Alonso.

Although his problems back in P8 were surmountable, on Lap 8 Lewis Hamilton's hope for a World Championship effectively ended as his car slipped into neutral and he coasted round the track. The tell-tale second sector time failed to come up as all the cars behind him registered their arrival through the timing beam and Lewis's didn't.

While the engineers radioed a different mapping solution through to Hamilton he slumped to P18 and was able to continue. Could he drive his way back through the field? Michael Schumacher had done it last year at Brazil after a puncture - but then again he had the fastest car and judging by the lap times that Fernando Alonso was putting in in the other Mclaren, it was decidedly second best.

By Lap 12 Lewis was up to P16 as Massa and Raikkonen continued to trade fastest laps at the front of the race. Massa led, but Raikkonen was never far away and providing both Ferraris lasted to the line that was Alonso's World Championship over.

Mark Webber had been running strongly in fifth place but on Lap 15 he had to park his fast-but-fragile Red Bull at the side of the track, the Aussie yet again retiring from a strong position. With Hamilton overtaking a train of cars held behind Nakajima he was up from 16th to 12th.

By Lap 16 the Ferraris had a ten second lead on Alonso and after a couple of fastest laps on Lap 17 and Lap 18 from Massa (taking the best time down to 1:12.932) he had a 2.1 second lead over Raikkonen.

Back down in 11th place Lewis Hamilton was setting personal best after personal best but the BMWs and Nico Rosberg's Williams were lapping not that much slower, so the men in the critical 45th, 5th and 6th places were going to be very hard to catch.

Robert Kubica was the first to pit on Lap19, followed by Massa on Lap 20, Alonso on Lap 21 and Hamilton on Lap 22, which meant that Lewis Hamilton's qualifying performance was all the more impressive.

After Kimi Raikkonen pitted, the gap between the two Ferrari men was back around 2.4 seconds - pretty much what it had been before the pit-stops. On Lap 25 Raikkonen put in a 1:15.669 lap and the gap went out to 3.4 seconds, but that was as much as it got to all afternoon.

The positions were: Massa, Raikkonen, Heidfeld (not stopped), Alonso, Kubica, Trulli, Rosberg, Coulthard, Nakajima (not stopped), Schumacher (not stopped)

Lewis was now chancing his arm and on Lap 28 he tried a very bold overtaking move up the inside of Barrichello for P12. Thankfully Rubens saw him coming and allowed him room. Furher forward, Fernando Alonso was coming under pressure from Robert Kubica.

Nakajima, the new boy at the Williams team, made quite an impact with his first pit-stop in F1. Unfortunately that impact was with his pitcrew and after arriving in his box too quickly he sent two of the pitcrew tumbling over backwards with his front wing.

Kubica got past Fernando Alonso on Lap 33, while team-mate Hamilton was up to P9, only 15 seconds behind 6th place Nick Heidfeld. However the McLaren team had switched Lewis onto a three-stop strategy and it was difficult to work out where he'd end up. Only he and Kubica were running three stops.

Hamilton's charge was set back on Lap 37 when he pitted for the second time, though not as much as Heiki Kovalainen's, as the Renault ploughed into the tyres at Turn 3. On returning to the track Lewis was soon up to P8, but positions were now hard to come by.

Felipe Massa had been hoping that he wouldn't be asked to move over and let Raikkonen past, but on Lap 44 a big mistake at Juncao made that task easier for Raikkonen with a 1:16.071 lap from Massa and the Finn closed to 0.7 seconds.

At this stage of the race Hamilton was slower than both Heidfeld in P5 and Rosberg in P6.

Massa pitted for the final time on Lap 50 and it was now that Raikkonen put the hammer down with personal bests and a fastest (purple) middle sector on the following lap. Raikkonen ran for three more laps and so when he came in he was able to exit the pits clearly in front of his team-mate. It hadn't been a question of Ferrari team orders, Kimi had done it on sheer pace.

By Lap 54 he had a 1.9 second gap to Massa and now it was just a question of both cars lasting to the line.

Hamilton pitted for the third and final time on Lap 56 and now his fate was clearly in the hands of others - it would need the retirement of other cars to make him World Champion. He immediately passed Coulthard for 8th place on Lap 57 and when Trulli pitted again he would pick up 7th.

He wasn't sparing anything and put in the Fastest Lap of the race on Lap 59 a 1:12.506. In front there was a looming battle between Heidfeld, Rosberg and Kubica who were all bunched together in 4th, 5th and 6th. If they managed to put themselves out of the race Hamilton would be World Champion.

Instead of colliding, Heidfeld and Rosberg indulged in synchronised sliding into Turn 1 on Lap 61 and Robert Kubica gratefully swept through - from 6th to 4th in one easy move. Nick Heidfeld faded, but Rosberg set off after Kubica and there were a few more tyre-locking moments between the two of them into Turn 1 before Rosberg finally made it stick on Lap 69.

To show that he had been playing it safe for most of the race, Raikkonen put in one of his mega laps on Lap 66, reducing the Fastest Lap to 1:12.445. With sudden retirements likely to rob him of the World Championship he couldn't be sure he had the title till the 6th placed car crossed the line.

So no instant euphoria from the Finn as he took the chequered flag 1.4 seconds ahead of Massa with Fernando Alonso now 55 seconds behind. Rosberg came in 4th with Kubica 5th, Heidfeld 6th, Hamilton 7th and Trulli 8th.

Raikkonen had taken the win and taken the World Championship, the driver with the most wins (6) in the season and for whom a drivers' title is long overdue. Having been ahead in the championship since the Spanish GP in May, Lewis Hamilton finally had to concede the crown to Raikkonen.

However he can rest assured that it is a title the Finn truly deserves.


01 K. Raikkonen Ferrari 1:28:15.270
02 F. Massa Ferrari + 1.493
03 F. Alonso McLaren + 57.019
04 N. Rosberg Williams + 1:02.848
05 R. Kubica BMW + 1:10.957
06 N. Heidfeld BMW + 1:11.317
07 L. Hamilton McLaren + 1 laps
08 J. Trulli Toyota + 1 laps
09 D. Coulthard Red Bull + 1 laps
10 K. Nakajima Williams + 1 laps
11 R. Schumacher Toyota + 1 laps
12 T. Sato Super Aguri + 2 laps
13 V. Liuzzi Scuderia Toro Rosso + 2 laps
14 A. Davidson Super Aguri + 3 laps
Did not finish
15 A. Sutil Spyker F1 + 28 laps
16 R. Barrichello Honda + 31 laps
17 H. Kovalainen Renault + 36 laps
18 S. Vettel Scuderia Toro Rosso + 37 laps
19 J. Button Honda + 51 laps
20 M. Webber Red Bull + 57 laps
21 S. Yamamoto Spyker F1 + 69 laps
22 G. Fisichella Renault + 69 laps 

Race Report: Lewis retirement sets up title thriller Sunday 7th October 2007

Lewis Hamilton

Lewis Hamilton's bid to become the first rookie to win the F1 title was put on hold after he suffered his first retirement of the season at the Chinese GP.

The 22-year-old beached his car in the gravel after sliding off the pit lane entry road as he came in to change heavily-worn tyres as an incredible season took another dramatic twist.

Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen won the 56-lap race by 9.8 seconds from second-placed McLaren driver Fernando Alonso as the pair set up a thrilling three-car showdown for the Drivers' title in the final race at Brazil.

Alonso is now just four points behind Hamilton in the standings with Raikkonen a further three points adrift.

Grand Prix Report

The conditions at the start were wet but not on the scale of Mount Fuji the previous weekend. There were occasional blustery showers dousing the track but no plans to start the race under the Safety Car and as the cars went off on their parade lap, all were on the Bridgestone intermediate. The ambient temperature was at 30C and the track at 32C.

As the lights went out Hamilton got one of his best starts of the season and led easily into Turn 1. Raikkonen slotted in behind, but it was the fast-starting Fernando Alonso who came round the outside of Felipe Massa and took P3 off the Ferrari driver. Massa pushed him wide and banged the Spaniard's wheels as he came through Turn 2.

Massa wasn't finished with him yet, though, and climbed up the inside of the McLaren driver two corners later and was back into third place.

Further back Ralf Schumacher spun away his Top 10 qualifying place as everyone looked to make up places on the opening tour. As the cars crossed the line it was Hamilton from Raikkonen, Massa, Alonso, Coulthard, Heidfeld, Liuzzi, Webber, Kubica, Kovalainen and a slow-starting Jenson Button.

Rubens Barrichello, trying to make up quick places pushed Davidson off track, bending the Brit's bodywork and ultimately making the Super Aguri overheat and retire.

At the front Lewis Hamilton was striding away from Raikkonen's Ferrari in the mixed conditions, putting in a series of fastest laps. On some laps Lewis was 0.7 quicker than Kimi in the first sector alone. By Lap 8 the Fastest Lap had been reduced to 1:45.666 and he had a 5.2 second advantage over the second placed man. He had enlarged it to an 8.6 gap when he had to come in for fuel at the end of Lap 15.

The big question in the mixed conditions, with rain coming and going and more rain threatened, was what kind of tyres would he put on? It looked too early for dry tyres.

In the end, the team left his inters on and both McLaren and Ferrari chose that option for their drivers. Already they were more than a pit-stop in front of the cars that had opted for a lot of fuel and a one-stop strategy.

Hamilton rejoined in P4 just as Raikkonen sensed that there was a chace for him and started to put the hammer down. Now it was Kimi Raikkonen setting the fastest laps, a series of them from Lap 15 through to Lap 19 when he himself came in for fuel (but no new tyres). Massa had pitted on Lap 17, Alonso on Lap 18.

The extra running on track had closed the gap between Raikkonen and Hamilton to 4.0 seconds on Lap 20, but Lewis set about enlarging it again. Staying out longer hadn't worked for Alonso and he stayed P4 behind Massa.

The positions on Lap 21 were thus: Hamilton, Raikkonen, Massa, Alonso, Heidfeld (not stopped), Kubica (not stopped), Webber (not stopped), Vettel (not stopped), Coulthard, Trulli and Liuzzi.

On Lap 22 it became business as usual with Hamilton setting the fastest lap of 1:43.831. and edging out the gap to 5.3 seconds.

The track was now nearing the critical 1:43 second lap time when it would be suitable to change onto dry tyres, but with the prediction of more showers nobody wanted to switch to dry tyres and find they needed inters again.

On Lap 25 Alex Wurz set the Fastest Lap on dry tyres having made the switch - a 1:42.154 from the Austrian. At the same time Hamilton's lap times were falling away drastically. Robert Kubica used the opportunity to switch to dry tyres at his pit-stop and instantly became the fastest man on the circuit.

While Hamilton was falling back into the clutches of Raikkonen, Alonso was closing fast on Massa. On Lap 27 the Spaniard took P3 off him and Massa immediately dived into the pitlane for dry tyres.

Hamilton's lap time was 1:50, eight seconds slower than the fastest man, but still he stayed out. The reasoning must have been that as long as Alonso and Raikkonen were on the same tyres then it was okay for Hamilton to be.

On Lap 28 Raikkonen was all over the back of Hamilton and the Brit was having to drive defensively. With the wide open track of Shanghai it's difficult to defend a faster car for long and on Lap 29 Lewis ran wide allowing Raikkonen an easy pass. Hamilton put in a 1:55 lap now compared to Alonso's 1:51 yet still McLaren didn't bring him in. Alonso was catching Hamilton hand over fist now and there was a visible white patch on the Brit's rear tyre.

On Lap 30 Hamilton - still in P2 - lapped Trulli, who promptly unlapped himself due to Lewis's slow-running through the turns. The order was now Raikkonen 8.0 seconds clear of Hamilton with Alonso 6.1 behind. Further back, Jenson Button, who had fallen as low as 16th place was screaming up the leaderboard and up to P10.

At the end of Lap 31, the McLaren team called Hamilton in, they had tried to leave it as late as possible to see what the weather would do and realised that Lewis was losing too much time. As Hamilton entered the pitlane, though, he went to turn the wheel of his car and it went straight on. Unluckily for him, one of the few areas of run-off gravel is in the pitlane and he tamely udersteered into it. Race over.

On Lap 32 both Raikkonen and Alonso pitted for grooved slick (dry) tyres and enough fuel to get to the finish. Alonso only just made it out of the pits in front of Massa to keep hold of P3. At the same time we got the rare sight of a Honda setting the fastest lap with Jenson Button setting it at 1:40.076.

At this stage it was Robert Kubica's BMW that led the grand prix and it looked like we were going to have an incredible result. That is until a lap later when he pulled off with mechanical problems. Button set another fastest lap on Lap 34 with a 1:29.901.

At this stage of the race the positions were: Raikkonen, Alonso, Massa, Vettel, Button, Liuzzi, Wurz, Fisichella, Heidfeld and Coulthard in P10.

On Lap 35 Button overtook Vettel for P4, but the Brit would need to come in one more time in his Honda whereas Vettel was fuelled to the finish. Alonso set the fastest lap of the race which was snatched back a lap later by Raikkonen and then Alonso again and then Button again.

Despite all this the gap between Raikkonen in the lead to Alonso in P2 stayed consistently around the eight second mark. In turn, Alonso had an eight second lead over Felipe Massa. Jenson Button pitted on Lap 42 and rejoined in P6, which became P5 when Fisichella pitted for the final time, dropping the Renault driver out of the points.

The re-arranged order on Lap 46 was: Raikkonen, Alonso, Massa, Vettel, Button, Liuzzi, Heidfeld, Coulthard, Webber, Kovalainen.

The two big battles in the closing stages looked to be Heidfeld versus Liuzzi for 6th place and Mark Webber against his team-mate. Webber is enduring a frustrating time of late and seemed to be gesticulating angrily at his team on the pitwall about the car in front's behaviour - the car in front being the sister Red Bull of David Coulthard.

In fact such was his lack of attention that he was overtaken by Heiki Kovalainen on that lap and demoted to P10 (what is known in F1 as "an Andrea de Cesaris move")

In the closing stages it was interesting to see the front tyres of the two Ferraris. It looked like they had switched to one hard and one soft tyre as both the white lines on the front left corners were not visible. The front left is the tyre that takes the most load around Shanghai. However as you are not allowed to mix and match, it must have been tyre wear that had worn the tyre so much that even the white line was gone.

It didn't stop Felipe Massa putting in a series of blindlingly fast laps as he closed to less than three seconds behind Alonso at the line - finally taking the Fastest Lap of the race on the final lap with a 1:37.454.

Raikkonen came home to take Ferrari's 200th GP win, his fifth of the season and the 14th of his career. Alonso came home safely in second. He had been hoping for a miracle and he just about got one. Massa was a charging third, Sebastien Vettel crossed the line in P4, Button 5th, Liuzzi - who had been collided into by Ralf Schumacher earlier in the race - 6th, Heidfeld 7th and Coulthard 8th.

It had been a great day for Ferrari, a dreadful day for Lewis Hamilton's side of the McLaren garage and an absolutely astonishing day for Toro Rosso. Though people are likening the team to the old Minardi - Paul Stoddart's team never got to go racing with a customer car. With Toro Rosso gaining so many points at once and even leapfrogging Honda, the row about customer cars is only going to intensify.

However the big news from Shanghai is that it's Hamilton vs Alonso vs Raikkonen in the last race. And as we saw today. Anything can happen.

Frank Hopkinson

1 K. Raikkonen Ferrari 1:37:58.395
2 F. Alonso McLaren + 9.800
3 F. Massa Ferrari + 45.800
4 S. Vettel Scuderia Toro Rosso + 53.500
5 J. Button Honda + 1:08.600
6 V. Liuzzi Scuderia Toro Rosso + 1:13.600
7 N. Heidfeld BMW + 1:14.200
8 D. Coulthard Red Bull + 1:20.700
9 H. Kovalainen Renault + 1:21.100
10 M. Webber Red Bull + 1:24.600
11 G. Fisichella Renault + 1:26.600
12 A. Wurz Williams + 1 laps
13 J. Trulli Toyota + 1 laps
14 T. Sato Super Aguri + 1 laps
15 R. Barrichello Honda + 1 laps
16 N. Rosberg Williams + 2 laps
17 S. Yamamoto Spyker F1 + 3 laps
Did not finish
18 R. Kubica BMW + 23 laps
19 L. Hamilton McLaren + 26 laps
20 R. Schumacher Toyota + 31 laps
21 A. Sutil Spyker F1 + 32 laps
22 A. Davidson Super Aguri + 45 laps 

Race Report: Lewis wins Japanese thriller Sunday 30th September 2007

Lewis Hamilton

McLaren driver Lewis Hamilton won an action-packed Japanese Grand Prix ahead of Heikki Kovalainen and Kimi Raikkonen.

The McLaren driver's victory saw him take a massive step towards becoming the first rookie to win the Formula One Drivers' World Championship after closest rival Fernando Alonso failed to finish at a sodden Fuji Speedway.

The 22-year-old overcame terrible conditions, two safety car periods and all manner of incidents with a mature drive to claim his fourth win of the season and open up a 12-point lead over his team-mate at the top of the drivers' standings with just two races to go.

Alonso saw his title chances all but washed away after losing control of his McLaren on lap 42 and crashing into the safety barrier, while Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen kept his slim hopes alive by finishing third.

Race Report: With the rain still falling at the Fuji Motor Speedway and no sign of the mist lifting the race looked destined to start behind the Safety Car. With just ten minutes to go, race control confirmed this to be the case. The ambient temperature was just 18C.

So it was Berndt Maylander in the AMG Mercedes pace car that started the race with Hamilton and Alonso denied the chance of a tussle into Turn 1.

The Ferraris had less downforce than the rest of the grid with an extra 5kph speed advantage on the straight, so would struggle under these conditions. What was most surprising, though, was that given this lack of grip they had opted to start the race on the Bridgestone shallow wet tyres and not the extreme wets that the Race Director Charlie Whiting had prescribed before the race.

The inadequacy of grip was proven on Lap 2 when Massa ran wide at Turn 3 where there was a lot of run-off water and lost a place to Nick Heidfeld. He duly retook his 4th place in the queue, his team failing to tell him that this wasn't allowed under Safety Car rules. The Brazilian would be made to serve a drive-through penalty for it later in the race.

The bigger problem for Ferrari was that despite all the other teams and even the TV commentary teams being aware that everyone had to start on full wets, Ferrari said they were not. Massa had to come in at the end of Lap 2 for full wets, at the same time taking on fuel, while Raikkonen came in a lap later.

It looked like the decision had already lost the team the chance of securing the drivers' championship because their cars were now P.20 and P.21, but there was still a long way to go and many twists and turns in the plot.

There seemed to be little change in the track conditions for many laps, although all the drivers were radioing in to their teams moaning about the conditions. Ralf Schumacher told his Toyota engineers that it was "complete madness to continue at the moment" on Lap 6.

With so much water falling - and a dry line failing to be established due to the low speeds and water clearance - thoughts now began to turn to the likelihood that the whole race might be run behind the Safety Car. In which case they would have to change Safety Cars, because it wasn't fuelled till the end of the race.

If that was the case, then the cars that had been recently fuelled - such as Raikkonen - might make it through to the end of the GP i.e. last would become first, as all the others would have to make a stop sooner or later. Massa took on fuel on Lap 15 and a new set of extreme wets.

A significant instruction came from Charlie Whiting at Race Control on Lap 16 - lapped cars may now overtake - and the only person who had been lapped, Tonio Liuzzi, was allowed to overtake the crocodile and speed round unhindered. His lap time of 1:36.413 showed that the cars could easily lap within 12 seconds of the pole time.

The visibility was getting better and on Lap 19 it was radioed through that the Safety Car would be coming in. Lewis Hamilton backed up the pack going through the last few corners as the race proper got underway.

The braking point for Turn 1 at racing speed would be a matter of sheer guesswork for everybody in these conditions but Hamilton and Alonso got through unscathed. Nick Heidfeld, with the absence of the Ferraris, was now in third place and Jenson Button challenged him up the inside into Turn 1. The two collided as Heidfeld failed to give the Brit any room, sending Heidfeld down the order and the Honda's front wing got trashed.

Though Jenson was able to continue for a few more laps without it, he eventually had to bow to the inevitable and come in for a new one. Further back Alex Wurz lost his Williams under braking for Turn 1 hit the barrier on the inside and ricocheted across the track, taking out an innocent Felipe Massa. Though Massa was spun round, his car was seemingly undamaged.

The race order on Lap 20 was: Hamilton, Alonso, Vettel in an incredible 3rd place for Toro Rosso, Mark Webber, Jenson Button (yet to pit for his new wing) Fisichella, Kovalainen, Kubica (who had water getting into his air filter), David Coulthard in 9th place and Nick heidfeld in 10th.

On Lap 21 Hamilton whittled the Fastest Lap down to 1:29.018 - only five seconds off pole time on extreme wet tyres, a total vindication of Charlie Whiting's decision to start the race. Further back Adrian Sutil was up to 10th place and the flying Kimi Raikkonen had made it through to P14 despite his big fuel load.

Takuma Sato gave his fans a heart-stopping moment when he exited the pits on Lap 22 with his car very much on fire, however the spray off the track was enough to extinguish it before he even got up to racing speed.

At the front Lewis Hamilton was edging out a gap to Alonso - on Lap 23 he was 2.6 clear and on Lap 24 with a new Fastest lap of 1:28.806 he was 3.0 clear. Raikkonen was 43 seconds back in P12. We were staring at the possibility of McLaren guaranteeing one of their drivers would win the drivers' title in Japan should the Finn fail to get above 7th place.

By Lap 26 Raikkonen was up to P.11 with the two McLaren drivers trading similar times. Crucially, though, Hamilton had taken pole position with more fuel on board and it was Alonso who pitted first at the end of Lap 27. At the same time Hamilton lowered the fastest lap to 1:28.193 giving him a decisive edge.

Because when Alonso exited the pits he was behind a train of Fisichella/Kovalainen/Kubica and Coulthard. When Hamilton pitted a lap later he was able to get out in front of them.

On Lap 28 Raikkonen continued his inexorable move forwards taking P10 off Sutil. Meanwhile Fernando Alonso left the track and spun briefly dropping three seconds back from Coulthard.

With Hamilton pitting from the lead and rejoining in P3 it was now a case of Toro Ross leading the Japanese GP on sheer pace! The positions on Lap 30 were: Vettel, Webber, Hamilton, Fisichella, Kovalainen, Kubica, Coulthard, Alonso, Heidfeld, and Raikkonen in 10th

Vettel handed the lead of the race to Red Bull's Mark Webber on Lap 32 and sank back down to P9 in front of Raikkonen. At this stage of the race, both Alonso and Hamilton were beginning to look very slow. Hamilton was fuelled to the end of the race and was being caught by the much lighter Renaults and Kubica. Alonso was similarly being caught by Vettel and Raikkonen.

The hard-charging Kubica, who'd got past the Renaults, then threw his BMW-Sauber into now-second place Lewis Hamilton and bounced the McLaren to the side of the track to take a place. Luckily for Hamilton he could continue but felt a vibration all the way to the line. The stewards subsequently penalised Kubica by giving him a drive-through penalty (which looked a bit harsh under the circumstances, given the huge variety of lines drivers were taking through the turns).

Just as this was happening Sebastien Vettel dived clumsily down the inside of Fernando Alonso into Turn 1 pushing the Spaniard into the run off area. Alonso was now behind Kimi Raikkonen and two places behind Vettel. Alonso clealy got the red mist down after this because he set the fastest middle sector of anyone during the race immediately afterwards.

In front of him, though, his team-mate was suffering just as badly. Hamilton ran wide early on Lap 36 and was passed by the Renaults and David Coulthard. With Mark Webber pitting on Lap 36 and Kubica on Lap 37 he was now 4th, but the three cars in front of him would all have to stop fairly soon and Lewis wouldn't have to stop again.

On Lap 38 it was clearly raining harder as the lap times started to go back down to 1:33s and 1:34s. Kimi Raikkonen, needed to stop once again on Lap 40 just as Alonso started to close on him again. The Ferrari pitcrew looked slightly disorganised with the fuel hose going on very late.

With Fisichella the last of the leaders to pit on Lap 41 this left Lewis Hamilton in the lead, followed by a closing Mark Webber, Sebastien Vettel and Fernando Alonso. None of these drivers needed to stop before the chequered flag so the race was on.

And then on Lap 42 Alonso ruined his World Champioship by losing control of his Mclaren before Turn 6 and sliding it into the wall. With bits of rear end deposited all over the track there was no option but to deploy the Safety Car again. Though it was good news for 11th placed Kimi Raikkonen it was even better news for leader Hamilton. What's more it left the Toro Rosso team in P3 and P4!

Liuzzi had to pit on Lap 44 and so the order as the cars circulated on Lap 46 was Hamilton from Webber, Vettel, Kovalainen, Massa, Coulthard, Fisichella, Heidfeld and Kimi Raikkonen in 9th place.

The catastrophe for the Red Bull organisation happened on Lap 47 when Sebastien Vettel chose to watch Lewis Hamilton's car instead of Mark Webber in front of him and in that split second of inattention thumped his car into the back of the Australian's. Both cars were out, though Vettel was able to hobble back to the pits to retire his car in tears.

This now elevated the Ferraris to an incredible 3rd and 7th!

On Lap 49 the race was re-started and as the cars flashed around after the opening charge Raikkonen was up to an incredible 5th place. While Hamilton was able to drive away from Kovalainen at over a second a lap, 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 5th were all close and racing hard.

The positions on lap 52 were: Hamilton, Kovalainen, Massa, Coulthard, Raikkonen, Fisichella, Heidfeld, Barrichello and Robert Kubica in 9th place.

Coulthard was setting personal best times keeping his Red Bull in front of former McLaren team-mate Raikkonen, but Kimi was very brave into Turn 5 and taking a line that no-one else chose into that corner. He would go off there at least twice towards the end, but such was the grip on the run-off tarmac that it hardly affected his lap time. On Lap 57 he nailed DC with an impressive overtaking move that left Coulthard no chance at all.

Raikkonen was now in 4th place with another Ferrari in front of him - and Massa was duly called in for tyres and a splash of fuel on Lap 59 leaving Raikkonen clear in third place to challenge Heiki Kovalainen for second place. It had been an amazing transformation of his fortunes from Lap 3 when he had been at the back of the field.

Usually in the closing stages of he race there is very little change in the order, but with the late Safety Car there was racing all the way to the line. Rubens Barrichello's late pit-stop allowed Robert Kubica through and Nick Heidfeld's retirement on Lap 65 meant that he and Felipe Massa would be fighting it out in the closing stages.

Hamilton was under no threat but had to keep his concentration to the line in atrocious conditions. Meanwhile the fight of the moment was the Finnish battle of Rakkonen versus Kovalainen for P2. Heiki kept the place to the line, but had to fight very hard for Renault's first podium of the year.

Hamilton kept his composure to the line and took the most impressive win of his short GP career, the rookie having only driven his McLaren once before in the rain of the Nurburgring. To have held his nerve and kept his car on the tarmac when his World Champion team-mate couldn't, proved to even the sternest critic that it is not luck that has put him as firm favourite to take the drivers' title.

David Coulthard finished fourth ahead of Fisichella in fifth and the entertainment of the day - Massa versus Kubica involved in a no holds barred dodgems race for sixth place. The cars swapped positions four or five times on the last lap, Massa pushing Kubica wide and Kubica returning the favour on Massa at the very last corner. The Ferrari shot off onto the run-off tarmac after a fairly brutal sweep from the BMW.

However the move was so extreme it had put Kubica's tyres onto the grass while Massa had more grip on the runoff tarmac and sped off to the line in front. It will certainly make the highlight tape at the end of the season and it was great to see the two shaking hands in Parc Ferme. It's what F1 is all about.

Tonio Liuzzi picked up a consolation point for Toro Rosso, but there were chances today when it could have been their first podium.

It was an epic race with strong performances from many drivers. But on a day when the safety of everyone was in the hands of Race Director Charlie Whiting, the FIA man had shown that he was a superb judge of the conditions. And though drivers moaned incessantly about the conditions, the lap times justified each decision he mde in the race.

James Hunt won his World Championship for McLaren in the rain of Fuji in 1976. Hamilton has put on hand on the trophy 31 years later.

Frank Hopkinson

01 L. Hamilton McLaren 2:00:34.579
02 H. Kovalainen Renault + 8.377
03 K. Raikkonen Ferrari + 9.478
04 D. Coulthard Red Bull + 20.297
05 G. Fisichella Renault + 38.864
06 F. Massa Ferrari + 49.042
07 R. Kubica BMW + 49.200
08 V. Liuzzi Scuderia Toro Rosso + 55.600
09 A. Sutil Spyker F1 + 1:01.100
10 R. Barrichello Honda + 1:28.300
11 J. Button Honda + 1 laps
12 S. Yamamoto Spyker F1 + 1 laps
13 J. Trulli Toyota + 1 laps
14 N. Heidfeld BMW + 2 laps
15 T. Sato Super Aguri + 2 laps
Did not finish
16 R. Schumacher Toyota + 122 laps
17 A. Davidson Super Aguri + 46 laps
18 N. Rosberg Williams + 18 laps
19 S. Vettel Scuderia Toro Rosso + 21 laps
20 M. Webber Red Bull + 22 laps
21 F. Alonso McLaren + 26 laps
22 A. Wurz Williams + 48 laps 

Belgian GP: Kimi Strolls To Easy Win Sunday 16th September 2007

Kimi Raikonen

Kimi Raikkonen kept his title hopes alive with victory at the Belgian GP, spearheading Ferrari's second one-two in the last three races.

Pending an unlikely appeal by McLaren after the team were stripped of all Constructors' points in Thursday's World Motor Sport Council hearing, Ferrari have clinched the Constructors' Championship.

Raikkonen's 13th win of his career and fourth this season for the Maranello marque means he now trails leader Lewis Hamilton by 13 points, with runner-up Felipe Massa 20 points adrift.

Hamilton could only manage fourth place as he and third-placed McLaren rival Fernando Alonso were easily beaten by the Ferraris. Nick Heidfeld finished in 5th place with Nico Rosberg 6th, Mark Webber 7th and the one-stopping Heiki Kovalainen in 8th.

Race Report: For once the threat of a mid-race rain shower was not a likelihood at Spa as the cars toured round in bright sunshine on the parade lap, with an ambient temperature of 21C and the track at 33C.

As the red lights went out Raikkonen and Massa starting from P1 and P2 led easily down the short sprint to La Source hairpin. Behind them, the McLarens followed two abreast with Alonso taking the inside line and Hamilton seeking a way round the outside.

However as they came round the turn, Alonso allowed his car to sweep out abnormally wide, right to the edge of the race track. It was exactly the move that Felipe Massa had put on Alonso at the Spanish GP and for which Alonso was still smarting at the European GP when he reminded Felipe Massa in no uncertain terms. Thankfully, a watchful Hamilton saw it coming.

The difference netween the Spanish GP and the Belgium GP was that Hamilton had tarmac run-off outside him and he was able to take to that as the two cars duelled dangerously down the hill towards Eau Rouge. Hamilton lost so little speed from his off-track excursion that the onboard camera showed no sign of Alonso's McLaren as they ran down to the 5g compression corner.

Neither looked like they wanted to give way, though, and Alonso had the line for the corner. Hamilton was able to drop back behind his team-mate and still keep his momentum up the hill without a challenge from Nico Rosberg starting from P5. It was a breathtaking moment but they both survived.

Further back Nick Heidfeld had a poor start running very wide at La Source, allowing Kovalainen and Webber through. The only casualty on the opening lap was Giancarlo Fisichella who after an engine change started his race from the pitlane. Fisi went off track trying too hard on the opening lap and broke his suspension.

The race order as they came over the line on Lap 1 was: Raikkonen, Massa, Alonso, Hamilton, Rosberg, Kovalainen, Webber, Heidfeld, Ralf Schumacher, Coulthard, Trulli and Button in P.12.

Kovalainen was fuelled heavy for one pit-stop and on Lap 3 Webber managed to overtake him on the outside going into Les Combes with a clinical passing move. On Lap 4 Heidfeld managed to get past the Finn and undo some of the self-inflicted damage of the opening lap.

At the front of the race Kimi Raikkonen was stretching his lead from Massa with a succession of Fastest Laps.
Lap 5: Raikkonen 1:48.515
Lap 6: Raikkonen 1:48.500.

The lapping of the front runners was falling into a pattern that would last the rest of the race. Raikkonen was faster than Massa - both the Ferraris were quicker than the two McLarens. Hamilton had the slight edge in Sectors 1 and 3, while Alonso had a clear advantage in Sector 2, at times he would pick up 0.5 or 0.6 seconds a lap through Sector 2. What Hamilton gained in two sectors wasn't as much as he lost in the long middle sector and Alonso edged out the gap.

Further back down the field a great start by Adrian Sutil in the revamped Spyker had got him ahead of Jenson Button's Honda and on Lap 7 he was in twelfth place battling it out with David Coulthard for P11.

By Lap 11 Raikkonen led by 4.3 seconds, with Massa a symmeytrical 4.3 seconds ahead of Alonso who had 2.6 seconds on Hamilton - the front four in a race of their own. Though the Ferrari pitcrew had come out into their box on Lap 4 and the pitwall were engaged in a stream of communication between the telemetry crew at the back of the grid, there was little indication of problems from either of the cars' lap times.

The first round of pit-stops commenced at the end of Lap 14 with Rosberg and Webber in, followed a lap later by Kimi Raikkonen and Fernando Alonso. Hamilton set a Personal Best lap time as Alonso was in the pits, but was in himself at the end of Lap 16 along with Felipe Massa.

The stops didn't reshuffle the order at all, though Nick Heidfeld stayed out till the end of Lap 18 and it enabled him to jump Nico Rosberg. Both Mclarens had taken on more fuel than the Ferraris and were now running almost a second slower than the Ferraris at times. The order at the end of Lap 21 was Raikkonen, Massa, Alonso, Hamilton, Kovalainen (not stopped), Heidfeld, Rosberg, Webber, Coulthard (not stopped) and a very frustrated Robert Kubica in P10.

The Pole had got up to P9 by Lap 5, but his first pit-stop put him behind David Coulthard with more race fuel on board than the Scot and he could not find a way past. Ultimately it would cost him a points finish. When Coulthard eventually pitted on Lap 26 he was through to P8, Kovalainen having taken his one and only pit-stop on Lap 22. Kubica set off after Mark Webber's seventh place, but he was already fifteen seconds back.

Coulthard would retire his Red Bull on Lap 31, hydraulics, as ever, proving to be the Red Bull's downfall.

On Lap 27 Raikkonen had a five second lead over Massa, who was almost 15 seconds ahead of Alonso. Fernando was still losing out to Hamilton in Sectors 1 and 3, but more than making up in Sector 2. Alonso was 3.6 ahead of Hamilton.

The two Ferraris of Raikkonen and Massa pitted for the second time on Laps 31 and 32 without incident while Alonso came in on Lap 33. With all the front-runners opting for the soft tyres in their final stint, the early laps after the pit-stops were particularly quick. Massa set the Fastest lap on Lap 34 with a 1:48.036 and Fernando Alonso put in some impressive times on his fresh tyres. He set the fastest time of anyone in Sector 2 on his outlap and Lap 35 was his Personal Best of 1:48.419. If Hamilton was thinking of jumping him in the final pit-stops then he would have to find a lot more speed.

For some reason Hamilton had been fuelled much longer than Alonso and didn't come in till the end of Lap 36. Before his stop he was positioned between the two Ferraris and had a fast-closing Felipe Massa on his tail when he finally dived into the pitlane.

The gaps on lap 38 were: Raikkonen, 3.1 seconds clear of Massa, who had 14 seconds on Alonso who had his largest gap of the race on Hamilton, 6.4 seconds. Heidfeld was 5th, Rosberg 6th, Webber 7th, Kovalainen 8th and Robert Kubica right on his tail in 9th.

With his new tyres Hamilton started to reduce the gap to Alonso by large amounts now and on lap 42 Alonso was just 4.5 seconds clear of the Brit. It wasn't to last, though - pushing too hard in the middle sector Hamilton ran wide at the Pouhon corner on Lap 43 and lost three seconds thanks to a trip across the run-off tarmac.

That settled the positions as they were, with Robert Kubica finding no way past Heiki Kovalainen on the final lap. Kimi Raikkonen took a dominant win for Ferrari, his third win at this drivers' circuit ahead of a fast-finishing Felipe Massa, Alonso and Hamilton.

Apart from the heart-in-the-mouth moment on the opening lap between Alonso and Hamilton it had been an uneventful race, the Ferraris proving that over longer runs they were far superior to McLaren who could almost match them in qualifying. With Massa losing a further two points to Raikkonen in the drivers' challenge, only a retirement from the Finn now will stop Felipe from playing a supporting role from now on.


01 K. Raikkonen Ferrari 1:20:39.066
02 F. Massa Ferrari + 4.695
03 F. Alonso McLaren + 14.343
04 L. Hamilton McLaren + 23.615
05 N. Heidfeld BMW + 51.879
06 N. Rosberg Williams + 1:16.876
07 M. Webber Red Bull + 1:20.639
08 H. Kovalainen Renault + 1:25.106
09 R. Kubica BMW + 1:25.661
10 R. Schumacher Toyota + 1:28.574
11 J. Trulli Toyota + 1:43.653
12 V. Liuzzi Scuderia Toro Rosso + 1 laps
13 R. Barrichello Honda + 1 laps
14 A. Sutil Spyker F1 + 1 laps
15 T. Sato Super Aguri + 1 laps
16 A. Davidson Super Aguri + 1 laps
17 S. Yamamoto Spyker F1 + 1 laps
Did not finish
18 J. Button Honda + 8 laps
19 A. Wurz Williams + 10 laps
20 D. Coulthard Red Bull + 15 laps
21 S. Vettel Scuderia Toro Rosso + 36 laps
22 G. Fisichella Renault + 43 laps 

Italian GP: Alonso closes in on Hamilton Sunday 9th September 2007

Fernando Alonso

Fernando Alonso has moved ever closer to McLaren team-mate Lewis Hamilton at the top of the Drivers' Championship with a pole-to-flag victory in the Italian GP.

With Hamilton securing second place courtesy of a mighty overtaking move on Kimi Raikkonen, McLaren's 1-2 was the perfect riposte to the political moves against the team this week.

Raikkonen finished third with the BMW pair of Nick Heidfeld and Robert Kubica finishing in fourth and fifth places.

With Felipe Massa an early casualty due to an unspecified problem at the rear of his Ferrari, the team comprehensively failed to deliver the 1-2 that Ferrari president had asked them to deliver in the last six races.

Grand Prix Report: The ambient temperature was at 28C and the track at 30C as the drivers drove at full-speed to form up on the Monza grid. In previous GPs, teams have saved fuel by crawling very slowly to their starting positions, but now, mid-season, the rules have been changed to compel drivers to use all the revs. This has been done in the interests of safety to prevent accidents between cars of widely varying speeds on the track.

Monza has one of the longest drags to the first corner and as the cars concertina into the braking zone one errant braking manoeuvre can have severe consequences. Starting from fifth on the grid Kimi Raikkonen showed he was keen to get past P4 Nick Heidfeld by opting for the softer tyres.

As the red lights went out Fernando Alonso was quickly away, but Lewis Hamilton, starting from the dirty side of the grid, moved left to block Felipe Massa, leaving just a car's width of tarmac between himself and the outside of the track. It was enough for Massa to squeeze effortlessly though and he was up into an easy P2 even before the end of the pitlane.

Behind him, Kimi Raikkonen, starting from a good metre and a half outside his starting box, was able to get the jump on Heidfeld and even looked to be threatening Hamilton's third place down the outside.

Coming into the braking zone of Turn 1, Hamilton's extraordinary deftness on the brakes completely caught out Felipe Massa. Massa looked to follow the line of Fernando Alonso through the corner when suddenly he had a silver McLaren Mercedes braking extremely late on his outside and which was now in front of him.

Such was Hamilton's edge that he was able to turn in in front of Massa whose front tyre speared into the back tyre of the McLaren pushing him over the kerbs.

The monitor immediately announced that Car 2 was under investigation for cutting the chicane, though TV replays clearly showed Hamilton was steering to take it properly but had been pushed across it by Massa's misjudgement. Curiously, despite a lot of other cars cutting the first and second chicane in the race, there were no further announcements of stewards' investigations of chicane incidents.

Massa wasn't finished with Hamilton yet, though, and harried him all the way round to the second chicane, the Curva della Roggia and on to the first Lesmo, which presented a lessening threat with each turn. Hamilton made his car very wide and Massa couldn't find a way through.

As the cars crossed the line at the end of the opening lap the order was: Alonso, Hamilton, Massa, Raikkonen, Heidfeld, Kubica, Kovalainen, Rosberg, Button, Webber, Barrichello and Alex Wurz in 12th place.

David Coulthard, starting from P20 after gearbox problems in his Red Bull on Saturday, made up a lot of places on the opening lap, but at the start of Lap 2 he lost his front wing through the Curva Grande and his car hurtled towards the barrier at speed.

This necessitated the deployment of the Safety Car so that the barrier could be repaired and the car removed. It was perfect for Kimi Raikkonen, who had been fuelled heavier than two McLarens and could now complete the race with one pit-stop, the optimum strategy.

However as the race re-started on Lap 6, the home team favourites were about to suffer a hammer blow. Third place Felipe Massa suddenly headed down the pitlane on Lap 9 and was refuelled and sent on his way in last place, clearly an unscheduled stop. He lapped off the pace and then returned to the pits on lap 11 complaining that "something wasn't right at the rear of the car." He drove straight into the garage and retirement.

Ferrari had given the cause of Kimi Raikkonen's Saturday practice accident as driver error, but with Massa's obvious mechanical glitch, and the fact that far less competent F1 and GP2 drivers don't go off where Raikkonen did, it seems to indicate that both Kimi and Felipe had failures on their cars.

At the front Alonso and Hamilton began to edge out a gap, swapping Fastest Laps between them until Alonso had lowered it to 1:22.871 on Lap 15. On Lap 17, the gap between the two Mclaren drivers was still just 1.1 seconds with Raikkonen 10.1 seconds in arrears.

Hamilton pitted at the end of Lap 18 and Alonso at the end of Lap 20 but maintained their positions. On Lap 21, Nico Rosberg finally got the better of Jenson Button after the Williams and Honda drivers had engaged in a titanic struggle in the first stint. Rosberg got alongside Button going through the first chicane and the pair ran side by side into the second with Rosberg finally coming out in front before the first Lesmo.

Robert Kubica's afternoon looked to be falling apart when his car came off the front jack during his Lap 23 pit-stop and the mechanics couldn't get the wheels on.

To the collective joy of the tifosi Kimi Raikkonen had contined in the lead until he pitted on Lap 25. With eleven seconds of fuel going into the car it was clear that he was going to run until the finish. The big question now was could the McLarens build a big enough lead before they both had to stop again?

On Lap 26 Alonso had a 15.2 second lead over Raikkonen and 2.3 over Hamilton. The pace of the McLarens made it look as though they would just about do it.

Lap 27:
Alonso 1:23.762
Hamilton 1:23.663
Raikkonen 1:24.849

Lap 28:
Alonso 1:23.435
Hamilton 1:23.620
Raikkonen 1:24.670

The positions on Lap 29 were: Alonso (stopped), Hamilton (stopped), Raikkonen (stopped), Heidfeld (stopped), Rosberg, Button, Webber, Barrichello, Trulli, Kovalainen (stopped), Kubica (stopped).

The McLaren gap to Raikkonen was growing by big chunks each lap, but towards the end of the second stint they hit traffic which Kimi wouldn't reach before they pitted. Hamilton had a gap of 24.8 seconds to Raikkonen before he came in for the second time on Lap 40. Though he was stopped for just six seconds, it was too long.

As the silver car emerged at the end of the pitlane, Raikkonen was already through to Turn 1 to roars of approval from the tifosi. He would not get the drop on Alonso, but he had successfully put himself in second place, and with overtaking notoriously hard at Monza he could well strike a blow for Ferrari.

Hamilton had other ideas though. Now on the supersoft tyres Lewis set about whittling the gap to 50 metres by the end of Lap 42. He seemed too far back to overtake but all of a sudden, steaming into the braking zone of Turn 1, he launched his McLaren up the inside of Raikkonen.

It was a move combining immense bravery and impeccable judgement, because he only just got his car stopped in time and turned in with a go-kart slide under locked brakes. Raikkonen had spotted the danger too late and as he moved instinctively to cover the inside line found Hamilton's car already there and the Finn also had to lock his brakes to get through the turn. Certainly one of the overtaking moves of the season, and given the circumstances and where it was, probably of the year.

Alonso came in for his pit-stop and resumed in the lead. By now the gap to Hamilton was too much for the Brit to close up and Raikkonen let his engine revs drop as he protected both his engine and his painful neck which had not recovered from the knock on Saturday.

On Lap 45 the order was Alonso, Hamilton, Raikkonen, Heidfeld, Rosberg, Kubica, Kovalainen, Button, Webber and Barrichello.

Robert Kubica, out of position since his pit-stop delay, had managed to overhaul Kovalainen and eased his way past Rosberg on Lap 48 to take P5. From there it was a cruise to the line for all concerned. The Italian TV director choosing to stay with Raikkonen's onboard camera for a few laps while he was lapping two seconds off the pace and slower than the Super Aguris.

It had been a great race for Fernando Alonso who had looked the class of the field all weekend. Lewis Hamilton, despite his successes in Canada and the USA, didn't look so at ease in the latest low-downforce set-up, but still performed impressively to keep Massa at bay and overhaul Raikkonen. But it was Raikkonen who had surprised everybody by running the McLarens so close in a race where he was severely hamstrung by an injury not of his own making and deserves the most plaudits for his drive.

The BMWs picked up their regular 4th and 5th places, Rosberg emphasised his class by taking 6th, Kovalainen kept Renault in their well-established position behind the top three teams, while Jenson Button showed Honda that there is light at the end of the tunnel. But not the wind tunnel.


Race Result
01 F. Alonso McLaren 1:18:37.806
02 L. Hamilton McLaren + 6.062
03 K. Raikkonen Ferrari + 27.325
04 N. Heidfeld BMW + 56.562
05 R. Kubica BMW + 1:00.558
06 N. Rosberg Williams + 1:05.810
07 H. Kovalainen Renault + 1:06.751
08 J. Button Honda + 1:12.168
09 M. Webber Red Bull + 1:15.879
10 R. Barrichello Honda + 1:16.958
11 J. Trulli Toyota + 1:17.736
12 G. Fisichella Renault + 1 laps
13 A. Wurz Williams + 1 laps
14 A. Davidson Super Aguri + 1 laps
15 R. Schumacher Toyota + 1 laps
16 T. Sato Super Aguri + 1 laps
17 V. Liuzzi Scuderia Toro Rosso + 1 laps
18 S. Vettel Scuderia Toro Rosso + 1 laps
19 A. Sutil Spyker F1 + 1 laps
20 S. Yamamoto Spyker F1 + 1 laps
Did not finish
21 F. Massa Ferrari + 43 laps
22 D. Coulthard Red Bull + 52 laps

Turkish GP: Massa punctures Hamilton's lead Sunday 26th August 2007

Felipe Massa

Ferrari's Felipe Massa has closed the gap to Lewis Hamilton in the Drivers' World Championship by taking victory in the Turkish GP.

While the McLaren driver was undermined by a slow start off the line and a puncture, Massa repelled a brief challenge from team-mate Kimi Raikkonen to strengthen his own title aspirations.

Hamilton was already struggling to keep in touch with the two McLarens when his front-right tyre was shredded and an emergency pit-stop demoted the rookie to fifth place behind BMW's Nick Heidfeld and team-mate Fernando Alonso.

GP Report: With an ambient temperature fluctuating around 35C and a track temperature of 52C the drivers were in for an afternoon as gruelling as the energy-sapping Malaysian GP.

The two Ferraris lined up in P1 and P3 both with the softer Bridgestone tyre, while the McLarens both opted for the harder tyres. In the previous support races, the driver lining up in P2 on the 'dirty' side of the grid had gone into Turn 1 in third place, and so it proved when the lights went out.

Hamilton was immediately passed by Raikkonen and had to defend his P3 from the fast-starting Robert Kubica. Such was the pace of the BMWs off the line that Kubica grabbed P4 and team-mate Nick Heidfeld was able to take P5 from Alonso going through Turn 1.

In fact Alonso was lucky not to snap-spin his car on the second lap going through Turn 1 and only lightning reactions from the Spaniard kept his McLaren pointing in the right direction.

Felipe Massa cruised into the lead followed by Raikkonen, Hamilton, Kubica, Heidfeld, Alonso, Kovalainen and Rosberg. Further back there was chaos in the mid-grid when Ginacarlo Fisichella seriously misjudged his braking into Turn 1 and punted round the Toyota of Jarno Trulli starting from P9 and the rest of the field had to take avoiding action.

Trulli sank to 21st but was able to continue and Giancarlo Fischella's front wing miraculously stayed in place. The incident allowed Coulthard and Webber to slip through into 9th and 10th, with Tonio Liuzzi a grateful 11th.

As the opening laps unfolded it was Massa with Raikkonen in close attendance and Lewis Hamilton a little further back getting dropped by as little as a tenth on some laps and three tenths on others.

By Lap 6 Raikkonen had pushed the Fastest Lap time down to 1:28.698 and the two Ferrari drivers were regularly swapping fastest sector times. Massa wasn't getting away. On Lap 8 the gap to Raikkonen was 0.8 of a second, and the Finn had 2.5 seconds on Lewis Hamilton. Trailing a further 8.1 seconds back was Fernando Alonso in sixth place.

Incredibly Mark Webber became the one and only race retirement on Lap 10 when his Red Bull hydraulics gave up. Adrian Sutil got his Spyker jammed in gear later in the race, but the team were able to get him out on track again.

Robert Kubica showed just how short he had been fuelled for qualifying when he pitted at the end of Lap 12.

On Lap 14, as if to show how tight it was at the front of the race, all three drivers set a time inside the previous lap's Fastest Lap of 1:28.388:

1:28.302 Felipe Massa

1:28.329 Kimi Raikkonen

1:28.327 Lewis Hamilton

On Lap15 the gap between the two Ferrari drivers was just 0.7 as Raikkonen took the Fastest Lap down to 1:27.941. At this stage Alonso was over 13 seconds behind the Ferraris and it looked as though a Safety Car was going to be the only way of getting him back in touch.

At the end of Lap 17 Heidfeld, Rosberg and Coulthard pitted and Heidfeld was able to leapfrog team-mate Kubica in the race order. They were followed in by Raikkonen and Alonso on Lap 18. Raikkonen stuck with Bridgestone softs and Alonso stuck with Bridgestone hards.

A lap later and Felipe Massa was in for tyres. He came out behind Heiki Kovalainen but just in front of Raikkonen. Kovalainen who was in P2 behind Hamilton in P1. Hamilton came in for his first stop at the end of Lap 20 having made some inroads into his Ferrari defecit. The McLaren received more fuel than the Ferraris and was estimated to run for a further five laps before the scheduled second stops.

When Kovalainen pitted on Lap 21 the natural order was restored, and on Lap 23 the positions were: Felipe Massa leading by 2.5 seconds from Kimi Raikkonen who was 1.4 seconds in front of Hamilton, Alonso was 14.7 seconds back in 4th place. Alonso had leapfrogged Heidfeld in the pit-stops, Kovalainen had jumped Kubica for 6th place while Nico Rosberg wasn't far adrift of the Pole in 8th place.

In the second stint Raikkonen edged closer to Massa, while Lewis Hamilton, who had more fuel than the Ferraris tried to keep in touch hoping to get the jump on at least one of them in the second set of pit-stops. A series of Fastest Laps from Raikkonen combined with the necessity of passing lapped cars brought the gap between the two Ferraris down to as little as 0.4 seconds on Lap 38.

Raikkonen had closed the gap down to the absolute minimum. And then something strange happened. The Ferrari pitcrew emerged into the pitlane as both the red cars screamed down to Turn 11 at the end of the 40th lap. One of them was going to pit?

No, both cars ignored the pitlane entrance and carried on for another lap. At the end of Lap 41 Raikkonen duly took his pit-stop and emerged into a gaggle of cars. A lap later Massa dived in for his stop and crucially got out in front of Raikkonen. Ferrari protocol is such that when they are running 1-2 whoever emerges in front after the final pit-stop (barring incidents) is allowed to keep that place.

But they both still had to put in fast out-laps to make sure that the longer-running Lewis Hamilton didn't jump the pair of them. Before the Ferraris pitted they had six seconds on the McLaren, and with five laps of extra fuel Lewis would need to pick up about a second a lap to get the position. It looked a tall order for Hamilton unless traffic intervened but not entirely impossible.

What intervened, though, was a puncture for Hamilton's McLaren as he braked hard for Turn 9 at the bottom of the hill on Lap 42. The front right Bridgestone was shown flapping around, impacting on Hamilton's front bodywork as the Brit desperately tried to get his car back to the pits on three effective wheels.

It looked like his points scoring was over, the only good fortune was that he was due a pit-stop and the puncture happened in the second half of the lap and not the first half. As he traversed the pitlane it was clear that a bargeboard had been ruined and the front wing endplate gone.

The McLaren team got him back out in 5th place which looked like a major damage limitation exercise.

On Lap 44 the positions were: Massa leading by 1.6 seconds from Raikkonen who had 18.8 seconds on the now third placed Fernando Alonso. Heidfeld held fourth three seconds ahead of Hamilton who had four seconds on 6th placed Kovalainen. Nico Rosberg was in 7th place followed closely by Robert Kubica in 8th, with Wurz 9th, Fisichella 10th and Coulthard 11th.

Robert Kubica's aggressive race strategy had not worked out and his early pit-stops had now dropped him behind Nico Rosberg. Though he followed close behind he could not find a way past in the closing laps. Kovalainen homed in on Lewis Hamilton's 5th place, but he was never in a position to challenge the Brit.

Kimi Raikkonen let his driving do the talking by setting the Fastest Lap of the race on Lap 57 - a 1:27.295, over two and half seconds quicker than his previous lap. Having cruised around behind Massa in the final 16 laps the message was clear for all to see - this is how fast I could have driven if I was allowed.

Massa duly took the victory, a flawless drive from the Brazilian and a carbon copy of his first GP win a year ago when it was Michael Schumacher who'd made a mistake in qualifying and allowed Massa to take pole. This year it was again the difference between first and second place - Raikkonen's qualifying error handing a decisive advantage to his team-mate.

The cars held their positions from Lap 44 with Alonso a grateful recipient of a podium place, though his press conference body language didn't show anything more than frustration. It could be he believes that the race was lost from the moment McLaren decided to choose hard tyres for the start of the race, allowing Ferrari and BMW to get an easy jump on them.

Ferrari took a deserved 1-2, but the internal strife that has characterised Mclaren's season showed the smallest signs of emerging in Istanbul and may yet come further to the surface at Monza. However for the moment, Massa will be enjoying the bragging rights over his team-mate.


1 F. Massa Ferrari 1:31:00.000
2 K. Raikkonen Ferrari + 2.002
3 F. Alonso McLaren + 26.001
4 N. Heidfeld BMW + 39.006
5 L. Hamilton McLaren + 45.000
6 H. Kovalainen Renault + 46.001
7 N. Rosberg Williams + 55.007
8 R. Kubica BMW + 56.007
9 G. Fisichella Renault + 59.004
10 D. Coulthard Red Bull + 1:11.005
11 A. Wurz Williams + 1:19.006
12 R. Schumacher Toyota + 1 laps
13 J. Button Honda + 1 laps
14 A. Davidson Super Aguri + 1 laps
15 V. Liuzzi Scuderia Toro Rosso + 1 laps
16 J. Trulli Toyota + 1 laps
17 R. Barrichello Honda + 1 laps
18 T. Sato Super Aguri + 1 laps
19 S. Vettel Scuderia Toro Rosso + 1 laps
20 S. Yamamoto Spyker F1 + 2 laps
21 A. Sutil Spyker F1 + 5 laps
Did not finish
22 M. Webber Red Bull + 0.000 

Hungary GP: Hamilton at the front of procession Sunday 5th August 2007

Hamilton wins

After the unexpected drama of qualifying, the Hungarian GP lived up to its reputation as a processional borefest as Lewis Hamilton secured a comfortable - but very valuable - pole-to-flag victory.

The Englishman extended his World Championship lead with a faultless drive to repel Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen. Despite being closely followed by the Ferrari throughout, the Finn was never able to mount a serious challenge to the McLaren on the twisty Budapest circuit.

Fernando Alonso paid a hefty punishment for his grid-slot demotion, producing a scrappy drive on his way to finishing fourth behind BMW's Nick Heidfeld.

Fellow title contender Felipe Massa fared even worse, the Brazilian failing to make any sort of positive impression during the race and suffering the ignominy of being passed by both Hamilton and Ferrari team-mate Raikkonen.

Report: A good start was also vital and, once made, Hamilton and Raikkonen pulled away from Heidfeld, trading fastest laps as they went.

In contrast, and after dropping two place behind Robert Kubica's BMW and Mark Webber's Red Bull on lap one, Alonso was left behind.

To make matters worse, he then spent the first two stints of the race losing ground behind the Toyota of Ralf Schumacher.

Alonso frequently was right on the German's tail but, at such a tight circuit, he was unable to find a way past.

Hamilton and Raikkonen pitted in tandem at the start of lap 20 and, such was their lead, the pair rejoined in first and second places.

Hamilton's lead - which stood at 4.8 seconds by lap 16 - was reined in during his middle stint, with Raikkonen coming to within a second of the McLaren by lap 38.

But the leader managed to increase his pace slightly ahead of the second stops and, with Raikkonen pitting four laps ahead of Hamilton on lap 46, the gap increased once more.

McLaren led Ferrari by some four seconds with 18 laps remaining, but Hamilton's car didn't appear as comfortable on Bridgestone's softer compound tyre - and the gap again came down.

But all Hamilton had to do now was keep his nerve - something the youngster has shown himself perfectly capable of doing during his meteoric F1 career.

After freeing himself from the shackles of Schumacher during their second stops, Alonso used the luxury of a clear road to close on the three-stopping Heidfeld - but again the door was firmly closed.

Kubica also three stopped to fifth, ahead of Schumacher, with the Williams team's decision to three-stop Nico Rosberg backfiring somewhat: the young German finishing seventh from fourth on the grid.

Renault's Heikki Kovalainen took the final point, with Red Bull's David Coulthard coming home 11th.

But, twelve months after scoring his first, and so far only, grand prix win, Jenson Button retired with an engine failure on lap 35, having spent the race at the back of the field.

Super Aguri's Anthony Davidson lasted six laps longer, before a collision with the Renault of Giancarlo Fisichella after the latter's pit stop saw him retire at the exit of turn one.

Michael Wise

1 L. Hamilton McLaren 1:35:52.991
2 K. Räikkönen Ferrari + 0.715
3 N. Heidfeld BMW + 43.129
4 F. Alonso McLaren + 44.858
5 R. Kubica BMW + 47.616
6 R. Schumacher Toyota + 50.669
7 N. Rosberg Williams + 59.139
8 H. Kovalainen Renault + 1:08.104
9 M. Webber Red Bull + 1:16.331
10 J. Trulli Toyota + 1 laps
11 D. Coulthard Red Bull + 1 laps
12 G. Fisichella Renault + 1 laps
13 F. Massa Ferrari + 1 laps
14 A. Wurz Williams + 1 laps
15 T. Sato Super Aguri + 1 laps
16 S. Vettel Scuderia Toro Rosso + 1 laps
17 A. Sutil Spyker F1 + 2 laps
18 R. Barrichello Honda + 2 laps
Did not finish
19 V. Liuzzi Scuderia Toro Rosso + 27 laps
20 A. Davidson Super Aguri + 29 laps
21 J. Button Honda + 35 laps
22 S. Yamamoto Spyker F1 + 65 laps 

European GP: Alonso wins as chaos rains Sunday 22nd July 2007

Kimi Raikonen

Fernando Alonso emerged victorious from a European GP that veered between the farcical and brilliant as Lewis Hamilton suffered a luckless afternoon to finish out of the points.

Alonso took full advantage of a late rain shower to oust Felipe Massa and claim his third victory of the season. Yet the race will largely be remembered for the extraordinary scenes almost two hours earlier when six drivers - including Hamilton, whose World Championship lead has been cut to a paltry two points - crashed out within thirty seconds when the Nurburgring was hit by a virtual monsoon.

Incredibly, the race then re-started twenty minutes later in near perfect conditions before a late shower produced a final twist and enabled Alonso to pass Massa with the McLaren and Ferrari cars banging wheels.

Grand Prix Report

With the drivers about to set off on the parade lap an ominous warning said that rain was expected in three minutes. The sky darkened as Kimi Raikkonen led the cars round to start. When the lights went out there was already spots of rain on the cameras.

Felipe Massa got a great start from P3 and was soon ahead of Alonso and challenging Raikkonen into Turn 1. Further back everyone looked to make up places just as the rain began to fall and there were cars sliding.

The two BMWs contrived to have an accident in Turn 2, Heidfeld hitting his team-mate on his rear tyre sending both of the white-livered cars spinning and breaking his front wing. From the on-board camera it looked a pretty blatant shove. However replays showed that Kubica had tried to muscle him off the track at the exit of Turn 1 and Heidfeld reacted.

One of them tagged Lewis Hamilton who had an almighty start and was already into P4 at the first turn after an almost serene cruise up the inside. The thump damaged a the rear tyre which punctured. He was immediately swallowed up by the rest of the field as they sped away on the greasy track.

At the end of Lap 1 Raikonen had already taken to an escape road at the Schumacher-S and dived for the pitlane, followed by Massa who would have to wait behind his team-mate. Fortunately for him Raikkonen steamed into the pitlane too quickly and skidded across the road and back onto the track.

It meant the Finn would have to go round one more time before taking wet weather tyres. The beneficiary of this piece of luck was Felipe Massa, who instead of being double stacked behind Raikkonen and coming out behind a lot of cars, managed to get to the Ferrari box first.

So Massa emerged ahead of Alonso, but neither were in the lead because Spyker had taken a remarkable gamble and started Markus Winkelhock on intermediate tyres and he led the race - by a mile.

As the rain lashed down the order was chaotic and the track conditions were getting worse.

Jenson Button had overtaken his team-mate on the opening tour and was first in to get his rain tyres. He found himself up to P4 from 17th on the grid. But as the leaders went into Turn 1 on Lap 3, Button aquaplaned straight on and into the barriers.

"Most of the first sector was like a lake," said a rueful Jenson afterwards.

He was immediately joined by Lewis Hamilton (who kept his engine running and hit nothing) and then a very fast Adrian Sutil in the second Spyker. At this point with three cars in the run-off area it was time to bring out the red flag. Instead Race Director Charlie Whiting put out the Safety Car. Rosberg spun off at Turn 1 joined by a Toro Rosso to make it five cars there.

To show what a potentially dangerous decision a Safety Car was, as the Mercedes sportscar turned in at Turn 1 it was almost collected at 100mph by another out-of-control Toro Rosso.

The cars continued to lap behind the SC, but with the rain getting heavier and with huge quantities of surface water on the track, the red flag was finally shown on Lap 4 and everyone returned to the grid for a re-start.

Out in the opening chaos had gone Button, Sutil, Rosberg, Speed and Liuzzi.

The positions on Lap 4 were Winkelhock leading by 33.5 seconds from Massa, Alonso, Webber, Coulthard (who'd spun and recovered on the opening lap!) Kovalainen and Kimi Raikkonen up to 7th.

Lewis Hamilton had kept his engine going despite being stuck in the gravel and was given a handy tow out by a recovery truck. His car was deemed to be in a dangerous position (similar to Michael Schumacher's spin at the Nurburgring where he ran off the road on the outside of the Dunlop Curve and got a handy push from a marshal he beckoned over).

However Hamilton was a lap down and it would take a massive effort to get into the points.

The race re-started behind the Safety Car to establish a dry line and get excess surface water off the track. Under the 2007 rules, lapped cars can unlap themselves in this situation and after 90 seconds, Hamilton was released to overtake the entire field and get his lap back - much to the bemusement of other drivers who hadn't realised he was a lap down. He got himself into clear air and was accelerating to join the back of the pack...

However if the aquaplaning into Turn 1 had been his first big mistake of 2007, he was about to make his second. He decided to gamble and switch to dry tyres before the track was properly dry - he spun on his outlap - and the second that the field were released from behind the Safety Car they put that lap back on him.

As the Safety Car came in on Lap 7 Markus Winkelhock (equipped with extreme wets just in case of another downpour) was swamped by Massa and Alonso and the rest of the field steamed through soon after.

The positions on Lap 8 were: Massa, Alonso, Coulthard, Webber, Kovalainen, Raikkonen, Wurz, Winkelhock, Barrichello and Fisichella.

For the first time, the race began to fall into a pattern.

With the rest of the field on intermediates and Hamilton at the back on dry weather tyres all the teams looked to see how soon Lewis's times improved on a drying track.

Hamilton carved the lap time down from 1:44.057 (Lap11) to 1:41.501 (Lap 12) and 1:38.594 (Lap 13).

At the end of Lap 12 the tipping point came and most of the field flooded into the pitlane for dry tyres, while Coulthard continued for a lap in the lead.

Positions moved round yet again and on Lap 14 the order was: Massa, Alonso, Raikkonen, Webber, Wurz, Kovalainen, Coulthard, Kubica, Ralf Schumacher and Heidfeld.

As the track thoroughly dried out the Fastest Lap was shared out between Massa, Raikkonen and Lewis Hamilton, who was 28 seconds behind Jarno Trulli in 16th place.

Massa edged out a gap to Alonso, while Raikkonen closed up on the McLaren driver and began to look threatening.

On Lap 19, Nick Heidfeld tried to capitalise on a small mistake by Ralf Schumacher going into the Schumacher-S and got one wheel inside him going into the final Turn. Ralf failed to notice him in his mirrors despite the error and turned in on the BMW as it made a vain attempt to get alongside.

An angry Ralf was punted off into the gravel and Heidfeld continued, though it was a poor attempt at an overtaking move, and two laps later the stewards announced they were reviewing it at the end of the race.

By Lap 23 Massa had established a 4.0 second lead and Raikkonen was just 0.6 seconds back with Mark Webber 15 seconds down in P4 and Kovalianen on his gearbox in P5.

Hamilton was still putting in fastest laps, a 1:33.643 on Lap 23 and a 1:33.607 on Lap 24 yet was still nowhere near Jarno Trulli the man in front of him. By lap 29 he was still 10 seconds behind.

Incredibly the BMWs were back up to 8th and 9th with Kubica leading Heidfeld, and with Heidfeld having had four pit-stops compared to Kubica's two.

At the front, Massa really had the bit between his teeth and by Lap 32 had a 7.4 second gap to Alonso. He was putting in fastest laps and looked to have a decisive edge over Alonso. On the other hand Ferrari team-mate Kimi Raikkonen, had dropped to 2.1 seconds behind Alonso despite them having no traffic to pass.

Three laps later it became clear why, cameras switched to a touring Kimi Raikkonen who had an engine which was intermittently cutting out. Kimi crawled back to the pits on Lap 35, the Ferrari finally coming to rest at the side of the pitlane.

The positions were now: Massa, Alonso, Webber, Wurz, Coulthard, Kubica, Heidfeld, Kovalainen, Barrichello and Davidson in P10.

Hamilton was still at the back, though on Lap 33 he'd finally got to overtake Giancarlo Fisichella for 13th place with a fantastically brave move into the Schumacher-S where he'd come off at speed in Qualifying. He then pitted and gave the position back.

With almost all drivers taking on fuel in the switch between intermediates and dry tyres, there was just one stop left. Alonso came in on Lap 37 and Massa followed him in a lap later.

The positions on Lap 42 were:

Massa, 6.8 seconds in front of Alonso, who was 7.1 in front of Webber (not stopped for final time), Coulthard (not stopped), Wurz, Kovalainen. Kubica, Heidfeld, Fisichella and Hamilton in P10. Lewis was 31 seconds away from a World Championship point with only 18 laps to do it.

In the final stint Alonso began to close the gap to Massa very slightly and on Lap 48 the gap was down to just 4.7 seconds, though he was gaining a few tenths a lap and not the amounts he needed to force a win.

Then we got a prediction on screen that we would be having rain in seven minutes (there had been a false alarm after the first downpour, but this time the rain came).

Taking a massive gamble, Renault had called Kovalainen in for intermediate tyres on Lap 49 before it started to fall. As his race engineer admitted on team radio "This is one hell of a gamble..."

On Lap 52 the rain duly arrived but Kovalainen had already lost too much time to gain any advantage of switching early. The majority of teams came in on Lap 53 with Massa and Alonso running very close together.

As the cars were released back into the pitlane, the McLaren of Alonso came perilously close to the Renault of the lapped Fisichella and also the Honda mechanics in the next-door garage, as it attempted to keep close to Massa.

Felipe regained the track first, but it became immediately clear that the McLaren had far more grip in the slow corners than the Ferrari. Massa drove some defensive lines in order to keep him behind, but Alonso couldn't get far enough inside of him to make a pass and Massa (quite legitimately) was leaving no gaps.

Hamilton stayed out in the vain hope that it might get dry very quickly, but was forced to come in at the end of Lap 54 to take on intermediates again. Another gamble that didn't pay off.

Alonso was supremely confident in the mixed conditions and was forcing Massa into driving lines that would keep the McLaren behind him; third placed Mark Webber was fifty seconds back and himself under pressure from Alex Wurz.

On Lap 56 he blocked Alonso into Turn 1 and washed out wide to prevent him coming up the inside into Turn 2, Alonso tried the outside round Turn 3 but didn't quite have the grip. Swooping into the downhill section between Sachs Kurve and the Ford Kurve Alonso launched himself up the inside and Massa tried to turn in on him.

The two cars touched wheels, but the McLaren was in front and both managed to continue. It would be the source of great irritation afterwards as Alonso felt the Brazilian could have had both of them off and before the podium ceremony the drivers exchanged angry words.

The positions were now:

Alonso, Massa, Webber, Wurz, Coulthard, Kubica, Heidfeld, Kovalainen, Fisichella, Hamilton.

Alonso immediately drove away from Massa and in two laps established a five second gap. Wurz closed on Webber and though Hamilton had seemed down and out, was finishing at speed. He was lapping three seconds a lap quicker than the Renaults and managed to grab 9th on the final lap off Fisichella, but couldn't quite get past Heiki Kovalainen before the line.

Mark Webber was heading for Red Bull's second podium but lost control going into the Schumacher-S on the final lap of the race, under extreme pressure from Alex Wurz. He just about managed to get it back together again and scrambled through the final corner with Wurz on his gearbox to receive an ecstatic welcome from his mechanics on the pitwall.

Alonso had won a race that looked in the bag for Massa, and if not for Felipe, then for Raikkonen. Instead of a likely Ferrari 1-2 it had become a McLaren win. What was even better for the Spaniard was Hamilton's no points finish in 9th.

Michael Schumacher disappeared off the Ferrari pitwall with three laps to go to change into his rodeo shirt. It all became clear why when he re-appeared on the podium to hand the constructor's trophy to Ron Dennis. He seemed reluctant to let it go - and given the Ferrari race dominance you could see why.

It had been an extraordinary race with good fortune and bad fortune for many of the front runners, but finally Fernando Alonso had got some good fortune. Kimi Raikkonen's 80-year-old grandmother had come to see her grandson race for Ferrari for the first time. She probably won't be coming back in a hurry.


01 F. Alonso McLaren 2:06:26.358 
02 F. Massa Ferrari + 8.155 
03 M. Webber Red Bull + 1:05.674 
04 A. Wurz Williams + 1:05.937 
05 D. Coulthard Red Bull + 1:13.656 
06 N. Heidfeld BMW + 1:20.298 
07 R. Kubica BMW + 1:22.415 
08 H. Kovalainen Renault + 1 laps 
09 L. Hamilton McLaren + 1 laps 
10 G. Fisichella Renault + 1 laps 
11 R. Barrichello Honda + 1 laps 
12 A. Davidson Super Aguri + 1 laps 
13 J. Trulli Toyota + 1 laps 
Did not finish 
14 K. R?ikk?nen Ferrari + 24 laps 
15 T. Sato Super Aguri + 40 laps 
16 R. Schumacher Toyota + 41 laps 
17 M. Winkelhock Spyker F1 + 46 laps 
18 N. Rosberg Williams + 58 laps 
19 V. Liuzzi Scuderia Toro Rosso + 58 laps 
20 S. Speed Scuderia Toro Rosso + 58 laps 
21 A. Sutil Spyker F1 + 58 laps 
22 J. Button Honda + 58 laps 

British Grand Prix: Raikkonen Rains on Lewis`s Parade Sunday 8th July 2007

Kimi Raikonen

Hamiltonmania was quelled at Silverstone as Kimi Raikkonen and Fernando Alonso denied the British rookie victory in front of his home crowd.

Despite starting the race from pole position, Hamilton's aspirations of victory were short-lived as he wasn't able to get clear on a lighter fuel load and was leapfrogged by both Raikkonen and Alonso at the first pit-stops.

Raikkonen's superior Ferrari pace disposed of Alonso in the second round of pit-stops allowing him to take his second successiverace win. After stalling on the grid, Felipe Massa finished fifth, failing to get past the stubborn resistance of BMW's Robert Kubica.

Race report

The sun was shining bright through cotton wool clouds and although there was a small chance of a shower it didn't materialise - the ambient temperature was 23C and the track at 45C.

As the cars lined up for the start, attention immediately switched to the waving hands of Felipe Massa in P4 on the grid. He'd stalled his Ferrari and the start would have to be aborted - reduced from 60 laps to 59.

As the grid departed for another warm-up lap, Massa's car was wheeled back to the pitlane. Luckily he didn't find Takuma Sato there, as the Super Aguri had elected to start from his garage rather than the end of the pitlane.

Lewis Hamilton led the cars round for another attempt at the start and this time nobody stalled. Hamilton didn't get jumped by Raikkonen as the red lights went out but felt the need to go defensive into Turn 1, taking a tighter line into Copse and keeping the Ferrari behind him. Both Raikkonen and Massa were starting on the softer (white striped) tyre which would give them an advantage in the opening laps.

Though he was close through the Becketts sweeps, on the run down the Hangar Straight to Stowe corner Raikkonen wasn't close enough to challenge.

Behind them there was little shuffling of the order, though a lot of cars moved up one place thanks to Massa starting from the back.

As the cars crossed the line at the end of Lap 1, the positions were:

Hamilton, Raikkonen, Alonso, Kubica, Kovalainen, Fisichella, Heidfeld, Ralf Schumacher, Webber, Trulli and David Coulthard in 11th place.

Kimi Raikkonen showed his intent by putting in the Fastest Lap on Lap 2 with a 1:22.461, Felipe Massa was already up to 16th place.

The following lap Lewis Hamilton put in the Fastest Lap of 1:22.032 as Massa cruised past Liuzzi for 15th.

Showing that he meant business Hamilton followed this up with a Fastest Lap on Lap 4, a 1:21.896, while Massa hauled his way past Scott Speed for 13th on Lap 5.

Lewis wasn't having everything his own way, though, and Raikkonen was less than a second behind him with Alonso just 2.6 seconds back from the leader.

The major mover was Felipe Massa who took advantage of a clash between David Coulthard and Nico Rosberg on Lap 7 going into Vale, which forced the Williams-Toyota driver onto the grass and allowed Massa to snatch 12th.

Coulthard proved a little more difficult to overtake than Rosberg and despite a lap and a half's active resistance the Ferrari driver was able to power past for 11th place, which became 10th a lap later when Mark Webber retired his Red Bull.

Raikkonen had complained that he couldn't get close to Felipe Massa at Magny Cours because of the disturbed air produced by the leading car, and it looked like a re-run at Silverstone with the Finn holding station at about a second back.

Hamilton tried one more time to lose him on Lap 11 and put in the Fastest Lap of 1:21.675. Raikkonen immediately matched it and went faster on Lap 12 with a 1:21.511, and then reduced that to 1:21.490 on Lap 13.

Such was the Ferrari driver's pace that he began to look for a way past Hamilton and was right on the McLaren's tail down the Hangar Straight forcing the No.2 car to change its line. On Lap 14 Raikkonen was much quicker than Hamilton through Bridge and Priory and looked to be steaming up the inside of the McLaren going into Brooklands. It was never going to work and the crowd held their breath...

Raikkonen got on the brakes quick enough to avoid colliding with Hamilton but if he didn't get past him on the road, it looked like he'd take the lead in the pit-stops.

Hamilton stayed defensive to his pit-stop at the end of Lap 16 and we were able to witness his first mistake of any note in F1. Keen to get away, Hamilton allowed his McLaren to edge forwards before the refuelling was done, reacting to the flip over of the lollypop rather than its lifting to allow him to go.

It lost him a few seconds but that was all. Out in front Kimi Raikkonen had the hammer down and put in a Fastest Lap of 1:20.638 while Alonso set a Personal Best of 1:21.588. With Lewis lapping in the 1:22s, Raikkonen was clearly going to get out in front of the McLaren and when he came in at the end of Lap 18, he'd duly taken the place, despite a 9.1 second stop.

As was suspected, Fernando Alonso had been fuelled longer than Hamilton, and continued to put in 1:21s at the front of the race. When he rejoined the track on Lap 21 he'd stolen enough time on Raikkonen to keep the lead.

So on Lap 22 the order was Alonso, 2.4 seconds ahead of Raikkonen, who was 2.6 seconds in front of Hamilton, who had 13.3 seconds on Kubica, Heidfeld, Fisichella was 6th, Massa up to 7th, Heidfeld, Coulthard (not stopped) and Kovalainen.

Alonso was fuelled lighter during the middle stint and tried to edge out the gap to Raikkonen while he had an advantage. By Lap 24 he had a 4.2 second gap, but by Lap 30 it was still only 4.4.

All the while Hamilton was falling away from the lead, regularly losing 0.3 to 0.4 in the first sector alone. Though he was maintaining the gap to Robert Kubica in 4th place any chance at the win was rapidly going away from him in the middle stint.

The Wurz vs Speed battle delayed Alonso temporarily and the gap fell to 3.7 seconds. Meanwhile Massa was beginning to menace Giancarlo Fisichella for his 6th place. Kimi Raikkonen also incurred delays from backmarkers and on lap 36 the gap from Alonso to Raikkonen was 5.5 seconds. When Fernando pitted at the end of Lap 37 he rejoined behind an intra-Williams battle of Rosberg versus Williams.

In the absence of a Mclaren in front of him Raikkonen once again stepped on the gas:

Lap 40

Raikkonen 1:21.287

Alonso 1:22.975

Lap 41

Raikkonen 1:21.023

Alonso 1:21.966

Lap 42

Raikkonen 1:20.998

Alonso: 1:21.993

Raikkonen pitted at the end of Lap 43 and he'd already given himself a comfortable enough cushion to get out in front of Alonso.

On Lap 44, the gap to Alonso was 3.2 seconds and apart from the very leisurely final lap from Kimi, the World Champion would not get as close again.

Massa had jumped ahead of Fisichella and Heidfeld in their final pit-stops and so the positions on Lap 46 with everyone fuelled to the finish were:

Raikkonen 4.4 seconds ahead of Alonso, who was 27.9 in front of Hamilton in P3. Robert Kubica was in fourth place only 1.7 in front of Massa, followed by Heidfeld, Kovalainen and Fisichella in 8th place.

The only battle to be played out was for fourth place and such was Felipe Massa's rapid overahaul of Kubica's BMW it seemed that the Brazilian would soon be back in his starting position (P4). On Lap 48 the gap was just 0.3 seconds with 11 laps to find a way through.

For 11 laps Massa tried to find a suitable place on the Northamptonshire track and despite having a couple of looks into Abbey, the Ferrari never made it past.

At the front, Raikkonen cruised to the chequered flag and his second successive victory. Alonso followed home in second place with Hamilton a very distant third. Kubica managed to defend to the line and clung on to 4th place, with Massa 5th, Heidfeld 6th, Kovalainen 7th and Fisichella 8th making it the top four teams in the top eight places.

Parking the car in parc ferme Raikkonen looked unsusually animated. Apart from taking first place, he'd overtaken Felipe Massa in his team-mate battle. Though he could have imagined a win before he started the race - a six-point thumping of Massa hadn't looked at all likely.

Alonso will have been cheered to establish such a large gap over his team-mate, while a resigned Lewis Hamilton had to be content with his smallest trophy of the season, but a record 9th-successive podium for a rookie.

The McLaren team had used the harder tyre for two stints out of three whereas Ron Dennis's verdict after the flag was that it should have been one stint out of three.

It had been a strategy battle Mclaren had lost, but they will have been cheered to score the same constructor points as Ferrari. Tjough they will not be looking forward to the European GP at the Nurburgring which provides the same kind of balance of corners as Silverstone. And over which Raikkonen assuredly rained on Hamilton's parade.


1 K. Räikkönen Ferrari 1:21:43.074 
2 F. Alonso McLaren + 2.400 
3 L. Hamilton McLaren + 39.300 
4 R. Kubica BMW + 53.300 
5 F. Massa Ferrari + 54.000 
6 N. Heidfeld BMW + 56.300 
7 H. Kovalainen Renault + 1 laps 
8 G. Fisichella Renault + 1 laps 
9 R. Barrichello Honda + 1 laps 
10 J. Button Honda + 1 laps 
11 D. Coulthard Red Bull + 1 laps 
12 N. Rosberg Williams + 1 laps 
13 A. Wurz Williams + 1 laps 
14 T. Sato Super Aguri + 2 laps 
15 C. Albers Spyker F1 + 2 laps 
Did not finish 
16 V. Liuzzi Scuderia Toro Rosso + 6 laps 
17 J. Trulli Toyota + 16 laps 
18 A. Davidson Super Aguri + 24 laps 
19 S. Speed Scuderia Toro Rosso + 30 laps 
20 R. Schumacher Toyota + 37 laps 
21 A. Sutil Spyker F1 + 43 laps 
22 M. Webber Red Bull + 51 laps 

French GP: Kimi Stuns Massa & McLaren Sunday 1st July 2007


Formula 1 said au revoir to Magny Cours in a less-than-memorable grand prix. The highly-rated, but inconsistent Finn outsmarted team-mate Felipe Massa with a pit strategy that avoided the backmarkers which held up the consistently quicker Brazilian.

Championship leader Lewis Hamilton stopped three times compared to Ferraris' two-stopping strategy and finished a distant third while team-mate Fernando Alonso's race was compromised by his start from P10 and a too-long final stint.

The Spaniard could only manage seventh place behind Kubica, Heidfeld and Fisichella. Jenson Button's Honda claimed the final World Championship point in P8.

Race report:

There had been predictions of rain during the race at the Circuit de Nevers, after showers in the morning, but the grid was dry as the cars took their positions under cloudy skies: 24C ambient, 36C on the tarmac. Jenson Button had flown off the race track on his way to the grid thanks to oil laid down during one of the support races that the marshals had failed to spot. Belatedly they put cement dust over it.

As the cars headed off the line, the big surprise was the start of Kimi Raikkonen. The Finn has got bogged down and lost places at the start in the previous handful of races, but in seconds he was ahead of Lewis Hamilton and straight into P2.

Hamilton continued in P3 with Kubica slotting in behind him in fourth as they headed into the Adelaide hairpin. Fernando Alonso, starting from P10 thanks to a gearbox bearing failure that demanded a three-hour repair, was keen to make up places quickly, starting with Nico Rosberg. However as they all dived into the big stop zone of Turn 4, the Adelaide hairpin, Jarno Trulli misjudged his braking and slapped the back of Heiki Kovalainen's Renault.

Unlike Ralf Schumacher, who'd done a more blatant shove of Coulthard and Barrichello at Indianapolis, Trulli was prepared to own up. "That corner was a misjudgement by myself. I'm really sorry for Kovalainen." Trulli was out but Kovalainen continued after major repairs.

Alonso - who at one point was on the inside line - was forced wide round the outside of Trulli and bumped tyres with Button but they all continued without injury. Unlike Tonio Liuzzi who'd got shunted from behind by Anthony Davidson going into Turn1 and spun round and hit the Super Aguri taking them both out of the race.

At the end of the first lap the positions were: Massa, Raikkonen, Hamilton, Kubica, Fisichella, Heidfeld, Rosberg, Alonso in 8th, Button in 9th, Barrichello in 10th and Ralf Schumacher in 11th.

Felipe Massa set about constructing a lead while Alonso, starting on the white-lined softer tyres, set about making up as many places as quickly as possible before his tyres went off. On Lap 2 he got past Nico Rosberg into Lycee and set about Nick Heidfeld. By Lap 3 he was on the German's gearbox. When Heidfeld made a mistake at Chateau D'eau on Lap 5 Alonso dived down the inside going into the Lycee turn, but ran in too quickly on the inside line and Heidfeld nicked the place back as the Mclaren ran wide.

At the front, Felipe Massa was reeling off an impressive series of fastest laps to edge out his gap to Raikkonen.

Lap 3: Massa Fastest Lap 1:17.504

Lap 4: Massa Fastest Lap 1:17.099

Lap 5: Massa Fastest Lap 1:16.989

Lap 7: Massa Fastest Lap 1:16.979

Lap 8: Massa Fastest Lap 1:16.623

Lap 9: Massa Fastest Lap 1:16.523

Lap 12: Massa Fastest Lap 1:16.398

Further back, all the gaps were widening between the top six, with the drivers' lap times progressively slower all the way down to Fisichella in P6. However Massa wasn't fastest by a lot and on lap 10 the gap to Raikkonen was 3.6 seconds, and the gap from Raikkonen to Hamilton was 1.7 seconds.

On Lap 16 it became clear that Mclaren's qualifying pace was boosted by a lack of fuel as Hamilton became the first driver to pit, followed immediately by Alonso on the same lap. At this stage Hamilton rejoined 7th and Alonso only 9th, but there was sixteen seconds between them, and when the cars in front of Hamilton pitted, they rejoined in the gap between them.

The Ferraris weren't overfilled, though, because Massa, Fisichella and Kubica pitted at the end of Lap 19. Kimi Raikkonen used the absence of a car in front of him to put in the Fastest Lap of 1:16.200 and was in for fuel three laps later than Massa.

Alonso's early stop had put him close to Fisichella and the Spaniard tried the outside line around his old Renault team-mate at the Adelaide hairpin on Lap 22. When he tried the inside line a lap later he was able to make it stick - P7 for Alonso.

On Lap 24 the positions were:

Massa, Raikkonen, Hamilton, Kubica (never a threat to Hamilton), Button (not stopped), Heidfeld, Alonso, Fisichella, Rosberg and Barrichello. Massa's lead over Raikkonen had dropped to two seconds, but Raikkonen had eight seconds on Hamilton and was lapping quicker than the Brit.

On Lap 25 it was groundhog day for Alonso who was stuck behind Nick Heidfeld again. He tried round the outside of the German at the Adelaide hairpin on lap 27, but it was a move that consistently didn't work all afternoon. He tried it again on Lap 32 and once more it didn't work.

There was a moment of excitement in the pits on Lap 29 when for some reason Christian Albers decided to leave his pit box before the lollypop went up. The unfortunate Spyker crew had to watch as for the first time in F1 history a driver took a whole refuelling hose down the pitlane. Albers parked his otherwise healthy car on the grass.

Jenson Button pitted from 5th place on Lap 32 - he'd been catching Robert Kubica at the time - and rejoined 9th. Meanwhile at the front Felipe Massa's lead was reduced to just 1.2 seconds as the leading Ferrari hit the backmarkers.

While Raikkonen was closing in on Massa, Fernando Alonso produced one of the bravest overtaking moves of the season. Heidfeld was often slow out of the Chateau D'eau turn and Alonso used the opportunity to launch his car up the inside going into the chicane at Turn 10.

When Heidfeld got there to turn in he found a Mclaren alongside and was forced onto the 'grasscrete' on the inside. Had he taken his racing line there would have been a massive accident. Alonso was through to 5th.

Once into clear air Alonso was the quickest car on the track, but he was unlikely to catch Hamilton who was a further 28 seconds down the road. However Robert Kubica was just seven seconds ahead and grabbing 4th place would be a major achievement.

On Lap 37 Hamilton pitted for the second time and the fact that he used more hard tyres (not the white lined option) meant that he was coming in again. Alonso pitted a lap later and the fuel hose was on for a lot longer indicating that the Spaniard was staying out till the end of the race.

When Hamilton rejoined the track the pitlane spat him out alongside the BMW of Robert Kubica in P4 with his tyres and brakes up to racing temperatures. Kubica looked to have the advantage and covered the inside line going into the Adelaide hairpin. But he didn't quite cover it enough, because as he moved left to take the turn Hamilton stuck his Mclaren up the inside and stood on the brakes.

Just as Alonso's overtaking move on Heidfeld had been ruthlessly exacted, so Hamilton's was precise and clinical. The potential to leave it too late and lose control with cold brakes - as was seen by Jarno Trulli on Lap 1 - is great and the Brit avoided it. Perfect move.

Hamilton was soon the fastest man in Sector 3, but was making little headway on the Ferraris' overall pace. Behind him, though, Alonso was all over the place, missing apexes and putting in 1:19 second laps. It would ultimately cost him a place because when Fisichella and Heidfeld pitted, they would rejoin in front of Alonso and so all the Spaniard's heroic overtaking moves would come to nought.

The big race was at the front between the two Ferraris and Felipe Massa was doing his best to create a gap. On Lap 41 he had a 2.8 gap to Raikkonen and put in the fastest lap of the race on Lap 42 with a 1:16.099 just before he pitted for the final time. However as the Ferrari swept down the pitlane on his way back to the track, a train of lapped cars came down the start/finish straight.

Raikkonen knew this was the time to push and though he didn't collect the Fastest Lap he was just a couple of tenths behind Massa's best. Felipe had to make his way through a succession of cars and on Lap 45 lost a whole 1.9 seconds to the charging Raikkonen.

Kimi pitted at the end of Lap 46 and as he rejoined the track, Massa was only crossing the line. The normal Ferrari protocol when they have a 1-2 is that after the final pit-stops they hold station and with Hamilton still to pit again, so it proved.

On lap 48 the positions were: Raikkonen, Massa, Hamilton (one stop left), Fisichella (one stop left), Button (one stop left), Kubica, Heidfeld, Alonso. When the trio of Hamiton, Fisichella and Button pitted the true picture could be seen. Kubica and Heidfeld moved up into 4th and 5th, Fisichella squeezed out in 6th, Alonso was 7th and Button 8th.

Alonso was under three seconds behind 5th place Heidfeld - his errant laps really hurting him now and just 0.7 behind Fisichella. Though it looked like a pass on the Renault was likely, Fisi had fresher tyres and Alonso's move around the outside of him at the Adelaide hairpin on Lap 55 didn't work (yet again).

Alonso followed Fisichella menacingly for a handful of laps until on lap 61 he was clumsy over the final chicane, lost the rear of the car momentarily and lost half a second. From that point on the race went into fade-out as everybody held position to the flag.

It was Kimi Raikkonen's 11th GP win, his second for Ferrari after the season-opening race in Melbourne and a far luckier result. For it was Felipe Massa who'd looked the most impressive over the race distance, and the Brazilian's tales of traffic woe in the press conference were borne out by the lap times. He'd been extremely unlucky, but that's the way it is sometimes.

Both Ferrari drivers will be pleased that they looked to have a clear edge over McLaren who lost the reliability battle and the strategy battle - but won the honours for some brilliant overtaking.


01 K. Räikkönen Ferrari 1:18:00.188 
02 F. Massa Ferrari + 2.004 
03 L. Hamilton McLaren + 32.001 
04 R. Kubica BMW + 41.007 
05 N. Heidfeld BMW + 48.008 
06 G. Fisichella Renault + 52.002 
07 F. Alonso McLaren + 56.005 
08 J. Button Honda + 58.008 
09 N. Rosberg Williams + 68.005 
10 R. Schumacher Toyota + 1 laps 
11 R. Barrichello Honda + 1 laps 
12 M. Webber Red Bull + 1 laps 
13 D. Coulthard Red Bull + 1 laps 
14 A. Wurz Williams + 1 laps 
15 H. Kovalainen Renault + 1 laps 
16 T. Sato Super Aguri + 2 laps 
17 A. Sutil Spyker F1 + 2 laps 
Did not finish 
18 S. Speed Toro Rosso + 15 laps 
19 C. Albers Spyker F1 + 42 laps 
20 A. Davidson Super Aguri + 69 laps 
21 J. Trulli Toyota + 69 laps 
22 V. Liuzzi Toro Rosso + 0 laps

U.S. GP: Hamilton continues to excel Sunday 17th June 2007

Lewis Hamilton

Lewis Hamilton remains firmly on course to win the World Championship in his debut season after winning the United States Grand Prix.

As in Canada, Hamilton lead from start to finish, but it was an entirely different race in Indianapolis as the rookie was pushed all the way by his McLaren team-mate Fernando Alonso. Scarcely two seconds separated the two drivers all afternoon, but the youngster refused to buckle under the pressure. <>Once again, McLaren's pursuers were a distant second, with Ferrari reduced to the status of best of the rest. Felipe Massa was third, followed by Kimi Raikkonen in 4th and Heiki Kovalainen in 5th.

Race Report:

It was sizzling at Indianapolis, with the ambient temperature at 35C and a track temperature that had got as high as 60C before the parade lap, but was measured at 54C at the start.

Fernando Alonso was starting from the inside line and had the added hazard of a patch of cement dust just in front of his car, courtesy of oil from a support race engine. As the lights went out, it proved no disadvantage, Hamilton switched to the inside line and Alonso accelerated to the outside, clear of the chasing Massa starting from P3.

Going into the corner both McLarens converged and Alonso almost looked like he was going to bump tyres with his rookie team-mate before holding his line. As Hamilton had the inside, he took the corner.

Behind, it was another poor start from Kimi Raikkonen as he got swallowed up by both Nick Heidfeld and Heiki Kovalainen.

However it was Ralf Schumacher who caused the most damage. Ralf is one of F1's less gifted starters. He jumped onto the brakes too late going into Turn 1 and slewed to his left, taking out David Coulthard's Red Bull and Rubens Barrichello's Honda as everyone to the left of him was forced onto the grass and run-off beyond Turn 1.

It was a dismal mistake which Ralf wouldn't admit to: "It was a normal race incident. I got into the way of David, or he got into the way of me..." What would be most galling later in the race was that Takuma Sato would be penalised for overtaking a car under double-waved yellows, even though his race had ended in the gravel.

Schumacher was clearly guilty of causing an avoidable accident but got away with it. As a result of his error there was a shuffling of the midfield and Adrian Sutil took the chance to take P14 on the opening lap. Barrichello, Schumacher and Coulthards' races were over.

Sebastien Vettel went off the road and onto the grass cutting out Turn 2 and lost places, even though he was ahead of the Schumacher collision.

At the front of the race Fernando Alonso was hustling Lewis Hamilton through the first few turns looking for a way past. Hamilton would not be hustled. As the cars came round at the end of the lap the order was:

Hamilton, Alonso, Massa, Heidfeld, Kovalainen, Raikkonen, Trulli, Fisichella, Webber, Rosberg and Vettel in 11th place.

On Lap 2 double-waved yellows protected Ralf Schumacher's damaged Toyota at Turn 1 and while Giancarlo Fisichella was driving his one-stopping Renault across the gravel at Turn 4 and rejoining last, Takuma Sato nipped inside Jenson Button to take a place, something the stewards would take a dim view of.

Lewis Hamilton, having resisted Alonso's early charge, set about grafting out a lead. He set the Fastest Lap of 1:14.329 on Lap 3, 1:23.681 on Lap 5. By Lap 7 he had opened the gap to 2.0 seconds, but it was a tenth here, two-tenths there.

Having lost out to his fellow Finn at the start, Kimi Raikkonen was now on the gearbox of Heiki Kovalainen but could find no way past on the straight. Kovalainen's team-mate was making short work of the cars at the back of the grid. On Lap 10 Giancarlo Fisichella had an epic sequence of corners with Jenson Button, the two cars running side by side through four successive corners (8, 9,10,11) before Fisichella had to give way. Button didn't stay in front much longer as Fisi had him on the straight, but it was great, fair racing.

By Lap 11, Vitantonio Luizzi had collected a train of cars behind him. The Toro Rosso was fast in a straight line - team-mate Scott Speed was the fastest man on the straight clocking 335 km/h. Alex Wurz suffered a torrid time, unable to get past him at the one easy overtaking spot going into Turn 1.

Takuma Sato was making up places, but under investigation from the stewards for his overtaking move on Jenson Button. Then on Lap 14, before they had announced the result of their deliberations, Taku spun off on his own, the Super Aguri beaching in Turn 4 and out of the grand prix.

By Lap 16 Hamilton had edged out a 3.2 second gap and was continuing to pick up pace. He started to lower the Fastest Lap again.

Lap 18 Hamilton Fastest Lap 1:13.537

Lap 19 Hamilton Fastest Lap 1:13.324

Lap 20 Hamilton Fastest Lap 1:13.222

Meanwhile F1 had a bit of a first. A marshal had dropped a blue flag on the pit straight, right on the racing line. Fearful that this might mean a Safety Car to recover it and a closed entry to the pitlane, McLaren pulled Hamilton in for an early first pit-stop at the end of Lap 21 and Alonso a lap later. Massa also pitted at the same time as Hamilton.

Meanwhile Heidfeld's afternoon was coming apart as he spun at Turn 1 and lost places.

On Lap 24 it looked as though Jarno Trulli had something blue wedged under the floor at the left of his car as though he had collected the flag but there was still one out on the track a few laps later. The possible explanation was that he caught a fragment of it.

Back down the field Giancarlo Fisichella was still in overtaking mode and made an astonishing pass on Wurz round the outside of Turns 6 and 7 for P12. While Jenson Button astonished Scott Speed by going round the outside of him at Turn 1 when Speed thought he had the corner safe.

Raikkonen and Kovalainen made their first pit-stops and on lap 28 the order was:

Hamilton, Alonso, Trulli (not stopped), Webber (not stopped), Massa, Kovalainen, Rosberg (not stopped), Heidfeld, Raikkonen, Vettel.

As the leading cars began to hit traffic Alonso was able to close up on Hamilton. On Lap 32 the gap was 0.8, then 0.6 and 0.7. Gradually the large gaggle of cars still corralled behind Liuzzi was overtaken. But whereas Davidson, Speed, Button and Wurz jumped out of the way. The last of them, Liuzzi, held up the leader for more than four corners.Incredibly he got no blue-flag penalty even though his actions almost affected the outcome of the race.

As Liuzzi finally got out of the way, Hamilton had lost enough pace for Alonso to close up behind him in the final turn before the banked oval section and power down the straight using Lewis's slipstream. Going into Turn 1 everyone held their breath as the McLarens charged towards the braking zone of Turn 1. Hamilton took the inside line and Alonso tried to outbrake him down the outside. It was a re-run of the opening lap with the same result, Hamilton kept the lead.

The following lap Fernando Alonso did an extraordinary thing. He came off the racing line down the pit-straight and swerved toward the pitwall, very much as drivers do at the end of the race as they take the chequered flag. It seemed like the F1 equivalent of spitting the dummy, Alonso's protest to his team for not being able to get past Hamilton - which he clearly could not do unassisted. As it was, the blue flag that had blown harmlessly off the racing line was thrown up underneath Alonso's wheels.

Hamilton set about building the lead again.

On Lap 42 the positions were:

Hamilton 0.6 ahead of Alonso, 11.4 ahead of Massa, 4.7 ahead of Raikkonen, 3.5 ahead of Heidfeld in 5th. Kovalainen was 6th, Trulli 7th, Webber 8th, Vettel 9th and Rosberg 10th.

Hamilton began to open up the gap again - it went from 1.1 to 1.2 back to 1.1 and then when Alonso put his wheels onto the grass and it was up to 2.5.

Heiki Kovalainen pitted for the second time on Lap 48 and was soon followed in by Heidfeld. The fastest man on the circuit was now Kimi Raikkonen who had closed up the gap to third placed Massa to 2.3 seconds. On lap 49 he put in the Fastest Lap of the race, a 1:13.117 for the recovering Finn.

On Lap 50 Alonso pitted and when Hamilton came in a lap later he got out just in front of his team-mate and kept the lead. In the final stint there was little between them, but Hamilton was still the quicker car. Alonso tended to be quicker in Sector 1 while Lewis would take 0.2 or 0.3 back in Sector 2.

On Lap 54 the gap between the two Mclarens was 1.9 seconds, and the gap between the two Ferraris (who had both pitted for the second time) 1.1 seconds with Raikkonen still lagging behind Massa. There was 14 seconds between the two team-mate battles but it looked as though only a mistake would change the positions. And so it proved.

Raikkonen looked by far the fastest car out there, having used his slower, harder tyres in the opening stint, but he could find no way past Massa.

On Lap 56 Nick Heidfeld's afternoon came to an end as he lost power steering on his car and the electrics died, the car coasting to a halt safely behind the barrier on the twisty infield.

Mark Webber had a late pit-stop on Lap 59 and set off in pursuit of Jarno Trulli. The order at this stage was:

Hamilton, Alonso, Massa, Raikkonen, Rosberg, Trulli, Webber, Vettel and Fisichella.

Webber managed to outbrake Trulli into Turn 1 on Lap 62. Sadly he also outbraked himself and went straight over the apex, onto the grass on the outside after clipping the front of Trulli's tyre. He cut out Turn 2 and had to let Trulli back past him because of the short-cut he took. Vettel couldn't capitalise and stayed behind the Aussie. Despite a further 11 laps, this was how they would finish, the three cars covered by just a second.

Though Raikkonen almost cashed in on a Massa wobble in Turn 1 and put in the fastest final sector of the race he could not get past his team-mate. Alonso kept station two seconds behind Hamilton.

Then on Lap 69, four laps from the finish, Nico Rosberg's Williams-Toyota lost its Toyota in a smokey and then fiery exit at the end of the pitlane. He surrended 6th place to Trulli, elevating Webber to 7th and Vettel into a points-scoring position.

Heiki Kovalainen was 25 seconds shy of Raikkonen and 25 seconds ahead of Trulli as he crossed the line to take the chequered flag in 5th place. Raikkonen took 4th, Massa 3rd, Alonso 2nd and Lewis Hamilton became the first Brit in 24 years to win the USGP.

Hamilton's astonishing season keeps getting better. Seven races, seven podiums - 3rd, 2nd, 2nd, 2nd, 2nd, 1st 1st is quite clearly the best ever start to an F1 career. What is more impressive, is that he has been gifted very little and has made no significant mistakes in any of the races.

The level of frustration that Fernando Alonso is starting to show is a sure indication of how hard Hamilton will be to beat.


01 L. Hamilton McLaren 1:31:09.965
02 F. Alonso McLaren + 1.518
03 F. Massa Ferrari + 12.842
04 K. R?ikk?nen Ferrari + 14.422
05 H. Kovalainen Renault + 41.402
06 J. Trulli Toyota + 1:06.703
07 M. Webber Red Bull + 1:07.331
08 S. Vettel BMW + 1:07.783
09 G. Fisichella Renault + 1 laps
10 A. Wurz Williams + 1 laps
11 A. Davidson Super Aguri + 1 laps
12 J. Button Honda + 1 laps
13 S. Speed Scuderia Toro Rosso + 2 laps
14 A. Sutil Spyker F1 + 2 laps
15 C. Albers Spyker F1 + 3 laps
Did not finish
16 N. Rosberg Williams + 5 laps
17 V. Liuzzi Scuderia Toro Rosso + 5 laps
18 N. Heidfeld BMW + 17 laps
19 T. Sato Super Aguri + 60 laps
20 R. Barrichello Honda + 72 laps
21 D. Coulthard Red Bull + 72 laps
22 R. Schumacher Toyota + 73 laps 

The Canadian GP: Hamilton wins as F1 shines Sunday 10th June 2007

Lewis Hamilton

Lewis Hamilton won his first grand prix as F1 made full amends for the tedium of Monaco with a Canadian Grand Prix that will live long in the memory.

The sport's full array of unique entertainment was on display in Montreal, with the Safety Car deployed on four separate occasions, BMW's Robert Kubica was lucky to escape with only a broken leg after suffering a horrific accident and both Giancarlo Fisichella and World Championship contender Felipe were Massa black-flagged after ignoring a red light at the end of the pit lane.

Hamilton, by contrast, enjoyed a problem-free day, defying both his rookie status and the penalising restriction of the Safety Car deployments to take his first F1 victory. It was an astonishing performance from the young Englishman, who didn't put a wheel wrong on an afternoon when his illustrious team-mate Fernando Alonso made a host of errors.

The Spaniard eventually finished seventh after being overtaken by Super Aguri's Takuma Sato on the Lap 68 of 70. On any other afternoon, that moment itself would have taken the headlines. This weekend, it was simply a fitting end to what had been an incredible grand prix.

Race Report

The sun beat down on the Isle Notre Dame as the cars lined up for the start of the Canadian Grand Prix, the ambient at 27C and the track way up to 53C for the start. There had been criticism of the poor tarmac surface breaking up after Qualifying and through the race of 70 laps, the track conditions would only get worse

It's a short run down to Turn 1 and polesitter Lewis Hamilton was on the inside, but not necessarily the racing line. As the lights went out, both Mclarens headed for the Apex at Turn 1. They got there virtually at the same time, with Hamilton very tight (keeping Heidfeld in order) and Alonso very wide. In fact Alonso was so wide and late onto the brakes that he skeetered onto the grass and his afternoon went downhill from then on.

Because the No.1 McLaren had to run over the grass to get back to the track. He skidded over the kerb dangerously close to leader Hamilton and Heidfeld and right across the racing line. Nick Heidfeld was already through to P2 and he was in danger of losing P3 to Felipe Massa as he collected his car up.

Massa had jumped past Kimi Raikkonen almost off the line and was up to P4. Raikkonen was surprised by his team-mate's braking and looked like he gave Massa's tyre a small tap with his front wing. As a result of getting off the gas Nico Rosberg squeezed through into P5, to send Raikkonen back to P6.

Back on the grid Jenson Button's car had failed to get away from P.15, his car failing to find first gear. Despite further attempts in the Honda garage the gearbox was out of operation and Jenson's race was over.

As the cars crossed the line at the end of the opening tour it was Hamilton leading by 1.5 seconds from Heidfeld, Alonso, Massa, Rosberg, Raikkonen, Fisichella and Robert Kubica in 8th place.

Mark Webber had dropped from P6 on the grid to 9th with Takuma Sato in 10th and Trulli 11th. Furher back Alez Wurz had got racy on the opening lap and was up to 15th in his Williams.

Hamilton then proceeded to set a series of Fastest Laps as he steadily opened up the gap to Heidfeld in second place.

Lap 2 Hamilton FL 1:18.302

Lap 3 Hamilton FL 1:17.681

Lap 4 Hamilton FL 1:17.127

Lap 5 Hamilton FL 1:16.939

On Lap 3 Mark Webber seriously compromised his afternoon by going off road and onto the grass at Turn 1 trying to get past Robert Kubica for 8th place and had to rejoin in 14th place behind team-mate David Coulthard.

By Lap 7 Webber was past Coulthard and back past Rubens Barrichello for 12th place. At this stage of the race Hamilton was running a second a lap quicker than Alonso who was having trouble putting any daylight between himself and Felipe Massa in 4th, prompting speculation that the Spaniard's trip across the grass had broken something.

On Lap 9 Scott Speed tried to get past Alex Wurz's Williams-Toyota before Turn 8, a place where there isn't enough room to overtake, which the Toro Rosso driver soon found out as Wurz legitimately closed the door. Speed couldn't get out of the move and his car mounted the back end of Wurz's car terminally deranging the American's front left wheel while taking a chunk out of the Austrian's rear wing.

Wurz was able to continue but Speed parked his car on the inside near the Casino hairpin.

At the front Lewis reduced the Fastest Lap to 1:16.634 on Lap 9 and increased his lead to 7.7 seconds. By lap 13, the Brit was the only driver in the 1:16 second bracket and his gap to Heidfeld was the biggest gap between any car in the field.

On Lap 14, Alonso was back on his favourite piece of grass going into Turn 1 after failing to get enough speed scrubbed off his McLaren. This allowed Heidfeld to get away and the pursuing Massa to close up to just a second down. On Lap 18 he did it again and this time Felipe was able to get through for P3.

The first pit-stopper was Nick Heidfeld at the end of Lap 20. Nick pitted from P2 and rejoined in P7. This left Hamilton in the position that he had a 19.3 second lead over second place Felipe Massa on Lap 21.

Hamilton was brought in for his first pit-stop at the end of Lap 22 and rejoined in P4 ahead of Kimi Raikkonen. No sooner was he back on track than Adrian Sutil in the Spyker scraped it along the outside of Turn 4 before parking it at the side of the road. Time for the first Safety car of 2007.

At the end of Lap 23 Nico Rosberg and Fernando Alonso came in for pit-stops but the Safety Car was deployed just as they were heading for the pitlane. With the new rules closing the pitlane immediately the SC is deployed they were either in trouble or had pulled off a master stroke. It proved to be the former and both drivers would have to serve 10 second Stop and Go penalties once the matter was investigated by the race stewards.

As the cars toured round behind the safety car, the order was Massa, Hamilton, Raikkonen, Fisichella, Heidfeld, Kubica, Alonso, Rosberg, Sato and Trulli.

The pitlane opened officially and both Massa and Raikkonen came in together, queueing behind each other to get their tyres and go out again. Fisichella, Liuzzi and Kubica also used the opportunity to make their first stops.

As they left the pits, though, quite a few curious things happened. Massa went through a red light which holds drivers at the end of the pitlane before the Safety Car comes round again, and seeing Massa go through Fisichella went through as well in the Renault. Robert Kubica dutifully stopped, though, and waited for it to go green.

Going through a red light was exactly the same offence for which Juan-Pablo Montoya had been blackflagged (disqualified) at exactly the same race in 2005.

Also curious, was that with Kubica stopped at the end of the pitlane, Jarno Trulli simply drove round him, taking a place - which as the cars were still under Safety car conditions was an offence. As they filtered out of the pit to rejoin the track Kimi Raikkonen also overtook Tonio Liuzzi another offence.

So after the first Safety Car under the new 2007 rules we had potential penalties for Alonso, Rosberg, Massa, Fisichella, Trulli and Raikkonen. Quite a haul. The Safety Car came in at the end of Lap 26 and the order was: Hamilton, Heidfeld, Alonso, Rosberg, Barrichello, Coulthard, Kovalainen, Wurz, Davidson and Ralf Schumacher in 10th.

They were racing again on Lap 27 but not for long. The stewards announced they were investigating Alonso and Rosberg just as Robert Kubica had an enormous accident into the Casino hairpin. Having lost a place unjustly to Trulli in the pitlane Kubica tried to get up the inside of the Toyota driver just as he moved over to cover the line.

The BMW left the road, narrowly missed Speed's parked Toro Roso, slammed into the barriers on the inside, then careered across the track, minus three wheels and both wings to hit the barrier on the outside just past the hairpin, the biggest accident of 2007. He was clearly moving as the car came to rest but it would take a long time to extract him carefully and the second SC was deployed.

The drivers settled down for some time behind the Safety Car as the medical car attended the scene to extract Kubica and the marshals moved in to clear a huge amount of debris. The order on Lap 29 was Hamilton, Heidfeld, both pit-stopped, Alonso and Rosberg, both with a 10 second Stop/Go penalty to serve, Barrichello, Wurz, Davidson, Ralf Schumacher (all not stopped yet), then Webber in 9th and Massa in 10th.

By Lap 34 there was cement dust laid on the oil from Kubica's BMW going into the Casino hairpin which made it a very tricky place to overtake for the rest of the race. Kubica was off to the medical centre (later to be diagnosed with a broken leg) and we were racing again.

Hamilton who had a lead of over 12 seconds to Heidfeld before the Safety Cars, had to go about building his lead all over again. And he soon set about doing it. On Lap 36 Lewis set the Fastest lap of 1:16.543 while Fernando Alonso had to serve his Stop/Go and rejoined in P13.

On Lap 37 Hamilton took the Fastest lap down to 1:16.494. Further back Rosberg and Trull indulged in some synchronised spinning at Turn 1 as both drivers left their braking really late and both spun without hitting each other.

On lap 40 the order was: Hamilton, Heidfeld, Webber, Massa, Fisichella. Sato (who had overtaken Kimi Raikknonen for a place on Lap 35), Raikkonen and Kovalainen. Alonso scythed through the field and was up to P8 by Lap 42.

On Lap 44 the stewards finally managed to announce they were investigating Massa and Fisichella going through red lights, but no news of Trulli or Raikkonen.

Alonso now had the hammer down and put in the Fastest lap of 1:16.395 and on lap 46 he lowered it to 1:16.367. Lewis's lead over Heidefeld was 6.8 seconds and he was lapping consistently but not streaking away.

Alonso's pace had him right up behind Raikkonen but he couldn't get past.

On Lap 47 Heidfeld pitted for the second time and to cover the threat McLaren brought Hamilton in a lap later. It was a good job they did. Christian Albers went rallycrossing in his Spyker and distributed carbon fibre from his front wing over Turn 4 and the third Safety Car of the day was deployed on Lap 50.

It was at this time that Giancarlo Fisichella and Felipe Massa learnt they had been black-flagged for ignoring the red light at the end of the pitlane.

As they lined up behind the Safety car AGAIN it was Hamilton, from Webber, Heidfeld, Raikkonen, Alonso, Barrichello, Schumacher, Wurz, Liuzzi and Sato. When the pitlane was officially opened on Lap 54 Alonso, Raikkonen and Schumacher all pitted together.

Alonso was quicker away and took a place off Raikkonen.

On lap 55 we were racing again and Tonio Liuzzi, who had banged barriers all afternoon in his Toro Rosso, went too fast into the final chicane and slammed into the Champion's Wall.

Fernando Alonso's pit-stop had put him behind Jarno Trulli and he wanted to get past him quickly. Yet again he put his McLaren onto the grass at Turn 1 and lost places to both Raikkonen and Ralf Schumacher in the process.

Deciding that Liuzzi's car was in a dangerous position Race Director Charlie Whiting decided to deploy his fourth Safety Car of the day and so on Lap 57 Lewis Hamilton headed another crocodile of cars: Hamilton, Heidfeld, Barrichello, Wurz, Kovalainen, Trulli, Raikkonen, Schumacher, Alonso and Sato in 10th.

Jarno Trulli pitted and then on new tyres exited the pitlane and went straight on into the barriers - a "track day accident" if ever there was one.

The Safety Car was in for the final time on Lap 60 but Hamilton managed the re-start without fuss as he had done all the others. On Lap 61 Alonso was past Ralf Schumacher for 7th place, but he couldn't get close enough to Raikkonen. Rubens Barrichello was in third place but had stopped only once, as had Alex Wurz in his battered Williams.

On Lap 62 Barrichello came in for his final stop that put him out of the points, but from the grins on the faces of the mechanics in the Williams, Alex Wurz had saved enough fuel and would not be in again. So Wurz moved up to P3, Kovalainen to P4, Raikkonen to P5 and Alonso to P6.

Takuma Sato was in 8th place closing fast on Ralf Schumacher in 7th. The Japanese driver looked in his element now and on Lap 66 outdragged Ralf to the final chicane. Gloriously, he did the same thing again two laps later on Fernando Alonso to take 6th place with another deft move into the final turn.

The Japanese may have had a lucky escape from the stewards. Sato had made a pit-stop before the pitlane was open on Lap 50, yet he failed to receive a 10 second Stop-Go penalty as Rosberg and Alonso had done. He crossed the line in P6.

Similarly Raikkonen had overtaken behind the Safety Car yet came home fifth. Heiki Kovalainen scored a fantastic morale-boosting P4 from last on the grid.

Despite having a highly modified rear wing Alex Wurz closed on the BMW to the line and was just 0.9 away from Heidfeld's P2 car at the flag.

But the man who had made no mistakes all afternoon, Lewis Hamilton, took his debut win after his debut pole. The rookie has now made it six podiums in six races and is eight points ahead of his team-mate and leading the World Championship. Jacques Villeneuve will be struggling to criticise this race performance...

A great race with lots of credit to the marshals, F1 safety and great drives from some lesser lights. But it will go down as the day that Lewis Hamilton won his first race.


01 L. Hamilton McLaren 1:44:11.292
02 N. Heidfeld BMW + 4.300
03 A. Wurz Williams + 5.300
04 H. Kovalainen Renault + 6.700
05 K. R?ikk?nen Ferrari + 13.000
06 T. Sato Super Aguri + 16.600
07 F. Alonso McLaren + 21.900
08 R. Schumacher Toyota + 22.800
09 M. Webber Red Bull + 22.900
10 N. Rosberg Williams + 23.900
11 A. Davidson Super Aguri + 24.300
12 R. Barrichello Honda + 30.400
Did not finish
13 J. Trulli Toyota + 12 laps
14 V. Liuzzi Toro Rosso + 15 laps
15 G. Fisichella Renault + 18 laps
16 F. Massa Ferrari + 18 laps
17 C. Albers Spyker F1 + 21 laps
18 D. Coulthard Red Bull + 35 laps
19 R. Kubica BMW + 43 laps
20 A. Sutil Spyker F1 + 48 laps
21 S. Speed Toro Rosso + 61 laps
22 J. Button Honda + 70 laps 

Monaco GP Report: Alonso wins McLaren demo run Sunday 27th May 2007

Lewis Hamilton

Fernando Alonso denied team-mate Lewis Hamilton to earn McLaren their 14th race victory at Monaco in a race devoid of any noticeable overtaking but enlivened by some breathtaking McLaren laps.

The two McLarens were in a class of their own with Alonso and Hamilton racing away from the rest of the field - the Spaniard lapped every driver up to and including fourth-placed Giancarlo Fisichella. Third-placed Felipe Massa fared little better, finishing over a minute behind Alonso.

Though the positions hardly changed throughout the race, the degree to which the two McLaren drivers risked their machinery to gain the upper hand in the team was almost without precedent in recent years.

Race report

Unlike Saturday there was no sign of rain on race day, though the ambient temperature was similar at 24C giving a track temperature of 34C.

As the lights went out Alonso went off straight while Hamilton speared immediately to his right to prevent any possible challenge from Massa in P3. Fisichella in the usually fast-starting Renault couldn't make an impression on Massa and slotted into P4.

Behind them, though, Nick Heidfeld hustled his way round the outside of Nico Rosberg to take P5 at Ste. Devote.

Further back Tonio Liuzzi had a coming together with David Coulthard that damaged the Red Bull's front wing and gave the Scot chronic understeer in the race. Anthony Davidson lost out on a battle with Scott Speed and got caught out by an early braking Heiki Kovalainen. The Super Aguri nerfed the back of the Renault and punctured the nose of his car. Alex Wurz was also able to get past Jenson Button's Honda.

Kimi Raikkonen starting from P16 in the Ferrari made four places on the opening lap, moving up to 12th place, and that was that for overtaking in the race.

So as the cars streamed across the line it was Alonso, Hamilton, Massa, Fisichella, Heidfeld, Rosberg, Barrichello, Webber, Kubica, Wurz, Button Raikkonen and Liuzzi.

Going up the hill to the Massenet curve Tonio Liuzzi lost control of his Toro Rosso and slid it along the barriers and into retirement. Because it was off the racing line and right next to a recovery lorry, it was a simple job to retrieve it under double waved yellows without a Safety Car.

Fernando Alonso immediately put the hammer down and for the first time this year started to steadily erode his lap time, the way we have seen him do it so many times at Renault. He reduced the Fastest Lap from 1:17.862, to 1:16.787 and 1:16.515 on Lap 5.

In the early stages of the race Fernando Alonso steadily pulled away from Lewis Hamilton, while Hamilton's gap to Felipe Massa varied between two and three seconds but was hardly ever more - all this without the complication of backmarkers.

Mark Webber and Robert Kubica were clearly being held up behind Rubens Barrichello in 7th place, while Nico Rosberg was already cursing the fact that Nick Heidfeld had got past him in Turn 1.

The German BMW driver had started on the supersoft Bidgestones and was losing almost two seconds a lap to 4th place Giancarlo Fisichella. By Lap 11 there was a 14.6 gap and Heidfeld was going backwards fast. Luckily for him Rubens Barrichello was also keeping more racier cars at bay further down the field.

Kimi Raikkonen was stuck behind Jenson Button in P12 and while Massa was putting in mid 1:17 second laps, the Finn could only manage 1:20.

By lap 14 Alonso had edged out the gap to Hamilton to 6.6 seconds while Massa was still only 2.1 seconds in arrears of the Brit.

On Lap 16 the front-runners started to lap the backmarkers and incredibly Ralf Schumacher's Toyota was still in last place behind Christian Albers.

As the track rubbered in the frontrunners began to pick up pace with 2nd, 3rd and 4th place all putting in Personal Best lap times on Lap 18. Now it was time for Lewis Hamilton to push and close on Alonso and edge out the gap to Massa. All of a sudden he set the timing screens to purple as he put in a 1:16.374 for Fastest Lap.

Mark Webber limped back into the pits with yet another gearbox problem in his Red Bull and another retirement.

Back at the front, as Alonso passed a gaggle of cars that included Sutil, Davidson and Trulli he lost a lot of time - a whole three and a half seconds on one lap alone. Through laps 20 to 22 the gaps altered dramatically, and though Davidson was censured for not moving over and given a drive-through penalty, there should have been a whole lot more, Jarno Trulli being a name mentioned by several drivers after the race.

Once clear of the jobsworths Alonso unleashed his frustration with a mighty lap taking the Fastest Lap down to 1:15.721. Hamilton wasn't going to be denied either and stayed close with a Personal Best of 1:16.085.

Further back, the gap between 4th place Fisichella and 5th place Heidfeld was up to 25.5 seconds on Lap 23. After the traffic, the gap between the leaders had gone down to 5.5 seconds and Hamilton was pushing Alonso all the way. Lewis put in more PBs, on Lap 24 a 1:15.833 and on Lap 25 a 1:15.768. By now he was 9.3 seconds clear of Felipe Massa in third place.

At the end of Lap 26 Alonso and Massa both pitted together and while Alonso raced out to keep his advantage, Lewis put in the Fastest Lap of the race with a 1:15.372. Alonso responded immediately with a PB time of 1:15.462.

Hamilton pitted at the end of Lap 29 and asked to have pressure taken out of his rear tyres, but when he rejoined he hadn't done enough to jump Alonso.

On Lap 30 the order was Alonso 4.8 seconds ahead of Hamilton who had gained an enormous 19.3 to Massa (held up by Davidson), who was 11.0 seconds ahead of Heidfeld in fourth place, who hadn't stopped.

Unlike any other race in 2007 Monaco is the only place where a large proportion of cars run a one-stop strategy. Heidfeld, Kubica, Wurz, Raikkonen, Speed, Trulli and Ralf Schumacher were all on one-stoppers and Honda looked like they were running that strategy but came in for late late splash-and-dashes. One-stop strategy can be aided by Safety Car periods, but in Monaco we didn't get one, or multiple retirements, and at the end of the race just four cars had ceased running.

In the middle stint Ferrari had fitted the supersoft tyres to Massa's car and he began to lose time hand over fist to the frontrunners. Team-mate Kimi Raikkonen had got up to P10 by Lap 34 only by virtue of not stopping. However the big loser after the first round of pit-stops was Nico Rosberg who had faded to P.12.

The gap at the front varied with traffic, but by Lap 43 (of 78) Alonso had 7.6 seconds on Hamilton. The World Champion then decided to show just what he could do if he wanted and set the timing screens to purple with a Fastest Lap of 1:15.284.

Robert Kubica still hadn't stopped in P5 but was over a minute back from the leader. Alex Wurz, starting from further back than Williams team-mate Nico Rosberg, was ahead of him now on a one-stopper and pitted on Lap 44, rejoining in 8th place. Kubica pitted a lap later and Raikkonen on his 47th lap, though he'd already been lapped by the leaders who were on their 48th tour.

On lap 50 the order was:

Alonso 10.8 seconds clear of Hamilton, who had 31.4 on Massa, who in turn had 23.1 on Giancarlo Fisichella in 4th place. Kubica was 5th, Heidfeld 6th, Wurz 7th, Barrichello 8th, Button 9th, Nico Rosberg 10th and Raikkonen 11th.

Alonso pitted at the end of Lap 50, Hamilton at the end of Lap 52, and when he emerged Lewis was just 4.0 down on the Spaniard. The Brit soon cut this down to 0.8 by Lap 58, though no-one believed he was going to attempt to get past the No.1 car.

Adrian Sutil, who had had a promising Monaco GP up until Lap 56 spoiled his good work by repeating Liuzzi's accident, running into the barrier at Massanet and all the way round into Casino Square. It was only retirement No.3 of the race, while team-mate Albers' Spyker would last a little longer.

With Rosberg and - unexpectedly - both Hondas pitting late on, Raikkonen's 11th place was transformed into 8th place and he set about catching 7th placed Alex Wurz. This was relatively straightforward, but passing was out of the question without a serious error from the Austrian and there came none.

The two McLarens scampered on in formation with Hamilton leaving a small gap to Alonso but both lapping almost a second quicker than Massa who was a very distant third. By the time Fernando Alonso took the chequered flag the Ferrari was over a minute behind them.

Sixth place Nick Heidfeld closed quickly on 5th placed Robert Kubica in the final laps, but with the exception of Raikkonen moving up to 8th, there had been no order change in the points positions since Lap 50.

Unluckiest driver of the day was Scott Speed who had charged up to 9th place on a one-stop strategy in his Toro Rosso all this with a brake pedal that was going all the way down to the floor.

Alonso won his second race of 2007 and we got to see his El Toro dance once more. It was McLaren's 150th race win and Lewis Hamilton's record-breaking fifth consecutive podium for a rookie. Though the Woking team will be mightily relieved that they translated their huge speed advantage to a 1-2, Ferrari came out of the race with as much as they could have hoped for given their grid positions.

Monaco is the best win of the year and to get a 1-2 in the tax-dodger's principality is a massive achievement. But the circuit is like no other and being quick on a high downforce track is not the same as being quick on a low downforce track - and Ferrari know that we have two of these coming up next...


1 F. Alonso McLaren 1:40:29.329
2 L. Hamilton McLaren + 4.095
3 F. Massa Ferrari + 1:09.114
4 G. Fisichella Renault + 1 laps
5 R. Kubica BMW + 1 laps
6 N. Heidfeld BMW + 1 laps
7 A. Wurz Williams + 1 laps
8 K. R?ikk?nen Ferrari + 1 laps
9 S. Speed Scuderia Toro Rosso + 1 laps
10 R. Barrichello Honda + 1 laps
11 J. Button Honda + 1 laps
12 N. Rosberg Williams + 1 laps
13 H. Kovalainen Renault + 1 laps
14 D. Coulthard Red Bull + 2 laps
15 J. Trulli Toyota + 2 laps
16 R. Schumacher Toyota + 2 laps
17 T. Sato Super Aguri + 2 laps
18 A. Davidson Super Aguri + 2 laps
Did not finish
19 C. Albers Spyker F1 + 7 laps
20 A. Sutil Spyker F1 + 25 laps
21 M. Webber Red Bull + 59 laps
22 V. Liuzzi Scuderia Toro Rosso + 77 laps 

Spanish GP: Fired-up Massa ruins Alonso`s homecoming Sunday 13th May 2007

Felipe Massa

A literally fired-up Felipe Massa survived a brief pitlane fire to register another comfortable victory in the Spanish GP.

As in Bahrain, the Brazilian led from start to finish with only a first-corner squabble with Fernando Alonso causing him any bother on the track. The Spaniard's ill-advised move resulted in his demotion to fourth position, a setback from which he never properly recovered all afternoon.

With team-mate Lewis Hamilton achieving his fourth podium in four races, the only respite for the beleaguered World Champion was Kimi Raikkonen's retirement in the second Ferrari due to an engine-related malfunction.

While his second successive victory means that Massa is the highest-placed Ferrari driver in the standings, it is the young Englishman who now heads the Drivers' World Championship.

Race Report: The weather forecast had predicted 20C for the race on Sunday but it was 29C when the cars lined up on the grid at the Circuit de Catalunya.

Jarno Trulli stalled his Toyota after they lined up following the parade lap and so the drivers had to go round one more time. As the lights went out both McLarens got good jumps on their Ferrari rivals. Lewis Hamilton was swiftly past Raikkonen on the inside and Felipe Massa had to go defensive into Turn 1, taking the inside line very early to keep Alonso at bay.

The Spaniard was sufficiently far in front of the Ferrari to attempt a move round the outside, though it looked like there was going to be a big crash as the two cars fought for the same line to the apex. Eddie Irvine and Giancarlo Fisichella proved some time ago that it's impossible to run two F1 cars at speed through Turn 1.

So Alonso was forced onto the gravel run-off while Massa, Hamilton and Raikkonen slipped through. In fact with gravel all over the recovering Alonso's tyres he was lucky to keep both BMWs at bay and hold on to 4th.

Further back down the field Giancarlo Fisichella was duelling with Heiki Kovalainen and Nico Rosberg when he ran wide and off-track. As he recovered his place he got stuck into the midfield battlers and charged into Turn 10 to take a place back. Everyone braked early to avoid collisions and further back in the field Ralf Schumacher's braking caught out Alex Wurz who collided with the rear tyre of the Toyota.

Wurz struggled back to the pits with bodywork grinding sparks down the pitlane.

Starting from 9th place David Coulthard was already up to 7th place courtesy of Trulli and Fisi's disappearance.

So as they crossed the line on lap 1 it was Massa from Hamilton, Raikkonen, Alonso, Kubica, Heidfeld, Coulthard, Kovalainen, Rosberg and Barrichello in tenth place.

On Lap 2 Fernando Alonso showed that he didn't want to stay in P4 for much longer and tried a move down the outside of Kimi Raikkonen into the downhill Turn 10. It looked as likely to come off as his attempt to get past Massa and he settled back into P4 to await the first pit-stops.

Felipe had the hammer down at the front and by Lap 6 he had the Fastest Lap time down to 1:23.016. By the ninth lap there was a 9.3 gap from Massa to fourth placed Alonso, who was two seconds back from Raikkonen.

Mark Webber, whose qualifying had been marred by hydraulics problems, retired on Lap 8 with similar ailments and he was swiftly followed by Jarno Trulli still suffering with fuel-pump related issues.

The rosta of retirements was then joined by an unfamiliar figure, Kimi Raikkonen coasted his stuttering Ferrari back to the pits with what appeared to be an electrical problem. He only just got to his garage and went straight in.

Three cars in three laps, was then four cars in four laps when Scott Speed blew a tyre on his Toro Rosso at the end of the start/finish straight and headed wisely for the barriers to park up.

Whatever problem had claimed Raikkonen was clearly not affecting Massa who put in the Fastest Lap on Lap 14 of 1:22.680. This was to remain the fastest time for the rest of the race, and despite lower fuel loads nearing pit-stops, or new tyres after pit-stops, the times generally got slower through the race, despite the amount of rubber being laid down on the track.

Massa clearly had the bit between his teeth and by Lap 17 had a nine second gap to Hamilton in second place. He pitted at the end of the 19th lap and once the four Bridgestones were put on, began to creep forward slightly. The slight movement caused the refueling rig to be jerked away spilling a little excess fuel which ignited as he left the pit. The fire on the right bodywork was out in less than a second and did no damage, reminiscent of a Schumacher pit-stop several years ago where there was a brief fire onboard.

In that incident Michael calmly watched the fire get put out before driving off, the difference between the two being that Schumi knew he was on fire, whereas Felipe only found out at the end of the race.

Alonso came in for more fuel on the same lap and opted to go back out on hard tyres a decision which ended any realistic chance of second place, let alone a win. The McLaren team had been surprised at how fast they could run on hard tyres in Bahrain and planned on a middle stint on hards instead of the familiar final stint.

It was a mistake and it soon became apparent when Fernando made no progress on Massa's lap times. Once Hamilton had pitted on Lap 23 and started to go away from Alonso, it was clear there was no way back.

After the spate of retirements, we then got a flurry of comedy F1 moments. Jenson Button came out of the pits after hauling back Rubens Barrichello and both Hondas arrived at Turn 1 together. Rubens thought he'd left Jenson enough room, Jenson thought he didn't have enough and went onto the kerbs which slithered him into his team-mate's car. The result: Button's Honda front wing on the floor and a return to the pits.

Far far worse, though, was a farce in the BMW Sauber garage. Nick Heidfeld got released before the front wheel man had taken his jack off. As wheels normally take a much shorter time than fuel, it's surprising that there wasn't more focus on what was happening.

The BMW wheel locking nut went clattering down the pitlane and was thrown back by a Toyota mechanic, yet Heidfeld, who'd stopped halfway out of his box, was then allowed to go back on track, as though the wheel had been put on properly. Heidfeld had to crawl round for a lap and then come back in again, but his race was over.

On Lap 25 the order was Massa 8.8 seconds ahead of Hamilton, who was 10.7 seconds clear of Alonso. Alonso was just 2.1 seconds clear of Robert Kubica in 4th, Coulthard was 5th, Kovalainen 6th, Rosberg 7th, Davidson (not stopped) in 8th and Rubens Barrichello in 9th.

The story of the middle stint of the race was Felipe Massa enlarging his gap to Hamilton, Hamilton going away from Alonso and Coulthard closing on Robert Kubica's BMW. Heiki Kovalainen pitted very early for the second time on Lap 31 when it was discovered there was a fault with the Renault refuelling rig. Neither Giancarlo Fisichella or Heiki Kovalainen were given enough fuel and would end up making an inefficient three stops.

On Lap 42 Felipe Massa came in for a fire-free second stop and went on his way with no drama, though his mechanics took a good look at his car to make sure the same problem that had afflicted Raikkonen would not recur on the Brazilian's.

Hamilton gained time at the front of the race, so when he came out of the pits on Lap 47 following his stop, Massa was just ten seconds in front. Hamilton and Massa were on the hard Bridgestone for their final stints, but were hardly being caught by Alonso who had the softer tyre for his final stint.

Though Kubica had got close to Alonso, he was never in a position to challenge. After the second round of pit-stops had been completed by the frontrunners, the order was:

Massa 10.5 seconds ahead of Hamilton, who had 17.6 on Alonso, Robert Kubica was in P4 7.6 seconds ahead of 5th placed Coulthard, Rosberg was in 6th, Kovalainen 7th, Fisichella 8th (but needing more fuel) and Sato 9th.

The two dramas to unfold at the end of the race were Fisichella versus Sato for 8th place. Due to under-fuelling the Renault was expected in again but only had a fifteen second lead on Sato on Lap 53 (of 65), not enough to get in and out and stay in front.

David Coulthard was losing time hand over fist to Nico Rosberg after his new seamless shift gearbox became a gearless shift gearbox. He still had a few left but had to learn how to drive round the problem and still keep his lap times up. With two laps to go he had two seconds on the Williams-Toyota driver and that proved enough.

Takuma Sato withstood pressure to the line to claim Super Aguri's first ever World Championship point and finish ahead of both the Hondas of Barrichello and Button.

Kovalainen and Rosberg took 7th and 6th respectively, David Coulthard achieved the Red Bull goal of beating the official Renault team by taking 5th place, while Robert Kubica (not Nick Heidfeld) claimed BMW's regular 4th placed finish. Though Alonso made the podium he was in subdued mood.

Not so Lewis Hamilton who finished second and completed his fourth podium in a row to become the youngest driver to lead the World Championship following Bruce McLaren's long-standing record of the 1960's. However the biggest celebration of all came from Felipe Massa who had not only scored back-to-back wins, he'd scored 10 points more than his team-mate.

And all this in front of his favourite GP advisor, and in Fernando Alonso's backyard. It doesn't get much sweeter.


01 F. Massa Ferrari 1:31:36.230
02 L. Hamilton McLaren + 6.670
03 F. Alonso McLaren + 17.456
04 R. Kubica BMW + 31.615
05 D. Coulthard Red Bull + 58.331
06 N. Rosberg Williams + 59.538
07 H. Kovalainen Renault + 62.128
08 T. Sato Super Aguri + 1 laps
09 G. Fisichella Renault + 1 laps
10 R. Barrichello Honda + 1 laps
11 A. Davidson Super Aguri + 1 laps
12 J. Button Honda + 1 laps
13 A. Sutil Spyker F1 + 2 laps
14 C. Albers Spyker F1 + 2 laps
Did not finish
15 N. Heidfeld BMW + 18 laps
16 R. Schumacher Toyota + 20 laps
17 V. Liuzzi Scuderia Toro Rosso + 46 laps
18 S. Speed Scuderia Toro Rosso + 55 laps
19 K. R?ikk?nen Ferrari + 56 laps
20 J. Trulli Toyota + 57 laps
21 M. Webber Red Bull + 58 laps
22 A. Wurz Williams + 64 laps 
Bahrain GP Report: Massa hits back in style Sunday 15th April 2007

Felipe Massa

Felipe Massa and Ferrari bounced back after their terrible display in Malaysia by securing a relatively comfortable victory in the Bahrain GP.

The Brazilian led from start to finish to claim a much-needed haul of ten points and revitalise his faltering campaign.

Lewis Hamilton finished just a couple of seconds behind in second place to become the first driver in F1 history to finish on the podium in his first three races and claim a share of the lead of the Drivers' World Championship with third-placed Kimi Raikkonen.

McLaren team-mate Fernando Alonso struggled and was just fifth, finishing behind Nick Heidfeld.

Race Report: In blazing sunshine the cars lined up on the grid, with both Ferraris in the shade, first and third but on the clean side of the grid; while the McLarens lined up in second and fourth on the dirty side of the grid. The ambient temperature was 30C with the track at 41C.

The biggest variable element was the wind speed on the pit-straight which was running nose-on and at times 4.3 metres per second. It was thought that this would favour the very slippery Ferraris who had a 7kph speed advantage on McLaren down the straight.

It was anticipated that after Malaysia it would be a big Massa versus Hamilton fight into the first turn, but as the lights went out the Ferrari driver got cleanly away on his ungrubbyy tarmac while Hamilton was left fighting for grip on the dirty stuff. As the cars closed for Turn 1 there was no chance for Lewis to make a move and he was coming under serious pressure from Kimi Raikkonen, who had Alonso in close attendance.

Raikkonen tried to find a way round Hamilton but the Brit closed the door. Alonso wanted past Raikkonen as soon as possible and launched himself up the inside at Turn 4 to successfully take P3.

However while all this was happening a major shunt at the back caused the first Safety Car of the season to be deployed. Jenson Button got spun round when a fast-starting David Coulthard closed the door, after he'd been run onto the dirty tarmac by Takuma Sato. At the same time Scott Speed was nerfed from the back by the Spyker of Adrian Sutil, who had to retire to the pits for a new front wing. Speed and Button were out on the spot.

As the cars circulated behind the SC the order was: Massa from Hamilton, Alonso, Raikkonen, Heidfeld and Kubica. Giancarlo Fisichella was 7th, Webber 8th, Kovalainen 9th (from 12th on the grid), Trulli 10th. David Coulthard who'd started in 21st place was up to 15th.

When the cars were all in line behind the Safety Car, the pitlane re-opened and Tonio Liuzzi, the only driver who'd started on the hard tyres, was able to dive in for a pit-stop and swap to the Bridgestone Option (softer tyres). The Toro Rosso team had gambled that there would be an SC early on and then be able to get rid of what were thought to be the slower tyres.

At the re-start after three laps Kimi Raikkonen was caught off guard and the front three broke clear, however there were no demon overtaking moves into Turn 1, though Fisichella had a look down the inside of Kubica's BMW.

The early laps after the re-start were interesting to watch because the gaps between cars varied tremendously as a "clean" line developed and one inadvertent move onto dirty, sandy tarmac had the rear end sliding all over the place.

By Lap 7 a pattern had emerged, though, with Massa and Hamilton breaking free while Alonso dropped back and seemed to be holding up Raikkonen. Massa set the fastest lap of the race a 1:35.209, 0.9 seconds ahead of Hamilton who had 2.2 on Alonso who had 0.6 on Raikkonen - four seconds covered 1st to 4th.

Alonso was slowest of the four of them, a pattern which would continue through the race. Hamilton showed that it was not a McLaren issue. On Lap 8 he set Fastest Lap with a 1:35.137.

At this point in time Liuzzi was brought in for a drive-through penalty for overtaking in his Toro Rosso under the Safety Car and so his clever tyre strategy move was instantly negated.

Raikkonen was right on Alonso's gearbox as Hamilton set another FL on lap 10 with a 1.35.137. Further back Nico Rosberg and Alex Wurz were tripping over themselves in their attempts to get past Jarno Trulli. Trulli's late-braking caused Wurz to brake late and Rosberg wasn't expecting it and had to avoid his team-mate by going off-track. At which point the very fast Coulthard swept through to take 11th place.

Felipe Massa wasn't hanging about, though. He responded to Hamilton's laps with a FL on Lap 13 of 1:34.776 and then a lap later he got it down to 1:34.693. Alonso was having a terrible time, sliding his rear tyres allowing Heidfeld to close up on Raikkonen and lurk just a second behind in fifth place. In fact so bad was the McLaren handling that Raikkonen almost hit him under braking on Lap 15.

Hamilton in clear air set another FL on Lap 15 with 1:34.607 and was now seven seconds ahead of Alonso. Meanwhile a mistake from Heiki Kovalainen allowed Trulli past for 9th place with Coulthard on his tail, the Scot having dispensed with the second Williams of Wurrz by now.

By Lap 17 there was almost a ten second gap between 1st and 4th with Hamilton setting another Fastest Lap of 1:34.490. A lap later he lowered that to 1:34.270 and at the end of Lap 19 he became the first of the front-runners to pit.

Hamilton looked to be fueled quite long. Massa followed him in at the end of Lap 21, Alonso at the end of lap 23 and Raikkonen and Heidfeld at the end of Lap 24. Though Hamilton was stationary for the longest time, the gap he'd got over P3 was enough to retain his place. The same couldn't be said of Alonso who lost out to Raikkonen and was relegated to P4.

What was worse for Alonso was that Nick Heidfeld in the BMW was closing on him as both McLarens started to look very sluggish in the middle stint. Hamilton started to lose half a second a lap to Massa and 0.3 to Raikkonen who gradually began to haul him in.

On Lap 26 the order was Massa, Hamilton, Raikkonen, Alonso, Heidfeld, Davidson (not stopped) Kubica, Fisichella, Webber and Coulthard up to 10th past Trulli. Davidson went another three laps before pitting and rejoining in 14th before his engine blew.

By Lap 30 Coulthard was past team-mate Webber whose fuel flap was stuck open and chasing Fisi's 7th place. Massa meanwhile had built an eight second lead on Hamilton while Raikkonen closed in on the P2 man. On Lap 31 Coulthard was into 7th with a joy of an overtaking move into Turn 1. Fisichella watched him in his mirrors into the braking zone and then the millisecond he looked away DC dived up the inside and Fisi almost turned into him - the Red Bull had the corner.

A couple of laps later Nick Heidfeld put an even better move on Fernando Alonso.

The BMW closed on the McLaren down the straight and the World Champion had to go defensive going into Turn 1. This slowed him on the exit of Turn 3 and going down to Turn 4 Alonso took another defensive line on the inside. Heidfeld simply drove round the outside of him, a glorious move that even had Dr. Mario Theissen smiling.

On Lap 34 the gaps were:

Massa 10.2 secs to Hamilton 2.1 to Raikkonen 4.4 to Heidfeld 1.5 to Alonso.

Yet again Alonso was slowest driver of the front five.

The gaps began to stabilise toward the end of the second stint. By Lap 36 Raikkonen was just 1.4 seconds behind Hamilton and it looked like the Finn would do to Hamilton in the second roud of pit-stops what he had done to Alonso during the first round of pit-stops.

Massa and Raikkonen dived in for their final pit-stops on laps 41 and 42 and when Massa set the Fastest Lap of the race on hard tyres on Lap 42 - 1:34.067, it looked like it would be a Ferrari 1-2. Alonso pitted on Lap 43 but didn't get back out in front of Heidfeld. Hamilton pitted a lap later and surpirsingly emerged a second in front of Raikkonen.

Though the McLarens had gone backwards during the middle stint, all of a sudden they were faster than Ferrari and instead of Raikkonen hauling Hamilton in, Hamilton started to reel Massa in, sometimes taking up to 0.9 a lap.

On lap 47 the gaps were:

Massa 6.7 to Hamilton 2.7 to Raikkonen 5.7 to Heidfeld 1.6 to Alonso in 5th place. Kubica was 6th, Trulli up to 7th after Fisichella had dropped back to 8th, Kovalainen 9th and Rosberg 10th.

Hamilton did to Massa what Raikkonen had done to him in Malaysia, edging the gap down to 6.0, 5.5., 4.6, 4.2, 3.9, 3.4. He wasn't helped by the fact that Anthony Davidson had his Honda engine blow right in front of him and got a visor full of oil, but in truth, Massa looked like that he had the speed to resist him.

Alonso closed Heidfeld down but was nowhere near a pass, while Fisi got onto Jarno Trulli's gearbox but lacked the racecraft to get through.

So an exultant Felipe Massa took his first win of 2007 with Lewis Hamilton showing that he can drive round handling problems that his team-leader cannot. Raikkonen finished a steady third with Nick Heidfeld scoring yet another 4th place and driving out of his skin. The German was over thirty seconds clear of his much-fancied team-mate at the end of the race, a sensational result for him. Alonso took 5th, Kubica 6th, Trulli 7th and Fisichella 8th.

It hadn't been as explosive a race as we'd expected, but has thrown the World Championship wide open. Because now Hamilton is a clear challenger to Alonso and Massa has the edge on Raikkonen, if not the points.

Alonso will want to get his handling back for his home race in Spain.


01 F. Massa Ferrari 1:32:27.515
02 L. Hamilton McLaren + 2.359
03 K. R?ikk?nen Ferrari + 10.839
04 N. Heidfeld BMW + 13.831
05 F. Alonso McLaren + 14.426
06 R. Kubica BMW + 45.529
07 J. Trulli Toyota + 1:21.371
08 G. Fisichella Renault + 1:21.701
09 H. Kovalainen Renault + 1:29.411
10 N. Rosberg Williams + 1:29.916
11 A. Wurz Williams + 1 laps
12 R. Schumacher Toyota + 1 laps
13 R. Barrichello Honda + 1 laps
14 C. Albers Spyker F1 + 2 laps
15 A. Sutil Spyker F1 + 4 laps
Did not finish
16 A. Davidson Super Aguri + 6 laps
17 M. Webber Red Bull + 16 laps
18 D. Coulthard Red Bull + 21 laps
19 T. Sato Super Aguri + 23 laps
20 V. Liuzzi Scuderia Toro Rosso + 31 laps
21 J. Button Honda + 57 laps
22 S. Speed Scuderia Toro Rosso + 57 laps 

Malaysia GP Report: Alonso scrubs off redwash Sunday 8th April 2007

Felipe Massa

Fernando Alonso and McLaren have torn up the formbook by registering a surprisingly comfortable victory in Malaysia.

Expectations that the Ferraris of Felipe Massa and Kimi Raikkonen would prove dominant were quashed at the first corner when both Alonso and McLaren team-mate Lewis Hamilton nipped ahead of pole-sitter Massa. The Brazilian then compounded his tardy start by going off-track unnecessarily as he sought to overtake Hamilton. From then on, Massa barely figured in the race.

While Alonso swept to an imperious victory, the Ferraris struggled to replicate their Melbourne pace. Raikkonen eventually closed the gap to Hamilton but the young Englishman held off the Finn's belated challenge to take a deserved second place.

So much for those post-Australia prophecies of a 2007 redwash...

Race Report:

It was bright and sunny in Sepang with a few scattered white clouds, yet still the pessimists were predicting rain around Lap 36. The ambient temperature was steady at 34C but the track temperature varied between 54 and 58C as the cars lined up - the drivers hiding in what shade they could find till the very last minute.

Rubens Barrichello opted to start his Honda from the pitlane and as the tyre covers came off it was clear that all the front-runners were on the softer tyre, only the Red Bulls and Jarno Trulli's Toyota started on the harder (unmarked) compound.

As the lights went out it was going to be a scramble into Turn 1, but thanks to the four hours of rain overnight, there was little difference between the 'dirty' and the 'non dirty' line. Fernando Alonso and Felipe Massa were evenly matched, but Alonso had the inside line and by the end of the straight he had edged up past Massa on the inside.

The Ferrari driver made the mistake of leaving a car's width to the apex and as he turned in, Lewis Hamilton saw a gap. While Raikkonen was letting Massa try to find a way past Alonso, Hamilton - who'd been slowish off the line - cruised up the inside past Raikkonen and kept on going to stick his nose right by Massa's car.

Massa could not now move across and so Hamilton kept on coming, sticking to his line, throwing Massa further out than he wanted to be. By the time Turn 3 played out Hamilton was ahead and it was a poor start for the Ferrari team - from P1 and P3 to P3 and P4.

Further back Spyker's Adrian Sutil had another disastrous opening lap in which he saw contact with another car and was out on the spot.

So as they came round at the end of Lap 1 it was Fernando Alonso, from Hamilton, Massa, Raikkonen, Heidfeld, Kubica, Rosberg, Fisichella, Trulli, Kovalainen, Webber and Coulthard. Whereas Mark Webber had lost two places off the start David Coulthard had gained one.

Immediately Alonso started to scamper off into the distance as Massa tried to find a way past Hamilton. On Lap 2 Alonso had a 2.7 lead and the (what turned out to be lighter fuelled Ferraris) were right on Hamilton's tail.

At the start of Lap 3 Massa tried round the outside of Turn 1, but couldn't get past. However Turn 4 is an equally good place to pass. Massa steamed up the inside, left his braking too late and ran straight on as Hamilton let him scream past and then ducked inside. It looked very GP2.

Massa was lucky that Raikkonen was not closer otherwise he would have lost P3 to his team-mate. After a lap spent catching up Massa was ready to try to get past the McLaren again. This time he chanced his arm at the end of the pit straight into Turn 1, but on the inside.

Hamilton was waiting for him and covered the line. Massa couldn't launch himself up the inside and get his car braked in time, so fell back into line. Such was the pace of the squabble for P2 that the BMWs behind were making no significant progress on them.

Finally on Lap 6 it looked like Massa had manouvered Hamilton into where he wanted him. Lewis covered the inside line into Turn 1 and was slow exiting Turn 3 because of his too-tight line. This allowed Massa to get alongside him on the inside in the short straight down to Turn 4.

Massa launched his car up the inside and looked to have the pass made, but left his braking woefully late, locked up and ran on over the kerbs and grass in a repeat of Lap 3. This time Raikkonen and Nick Heidfeld were both through and he had to resume in P5. It didn't look like the move of a potential World Champion.

By Lap 7 Kimi Raikkonen was up behind Hamilton, but whereas Massa had been able to put pressure on the Brit, Raikkonen seemed destined to follow him round for the first tyre stint and possibly get him on the pit-stops.

At the front, we began to see the typical metronomic lapping of Fernando Alonso as he takes his car and slowly whittles down the lap times.

Lap 9 Alonso Fastest Lap 1:37.309

Lap 10 Alonso Fastest Lap 1:37.266

Lap 11 Alonso Fastest Lap 1:37.062

Lap 12 Alonso Fastest Lap 1:39.961

Lap 14 Alonso Fastest Lap 1:36.921

On Lap 9 Albers brought his Spyker back to the pit for a fiery end, thanks to overheating and on Lap 12 Robert Kubica dropped down the order in his BMW thanks to a traction control problem (or lack of). The pole was experiencing a lot of wheel spin, hence the need for early tyres.

On lap 13 the race order was:

Alonso, 12.6 clear of Hamilton, who had 0.5 on Raikkonen. Heidfeld was 6.4 seconds behind the Finn and he had Massa only 0.4 behind. Giancarlo Fisichella had made a lot of places on the opening lap and Kubica's problems had handed him 7th place.

At the end of Lap 18 Felipe Massa was the first of the frontrunners to pit and a lap later Alonso followed him in. This left Hamilton leading the second race of his two-race F1 career. Raikkonen pitted on the same lap as Alonso and Hamilton pitted at the end of Lap 20.

Fifth on the grid Nick Heidfeld continued in the lead until Lap 23 when he was obliged to stop, but his longer running kept him ahead of Massa and in P4.

Kimi Raikkonen emerged from his pit-stop behind the Renault of Giancarlo Fisichella who didn't pit until Lap 24. Though Raikkonen was only 0.6 behind the Renault at one stage, by the time Fisi had pitted he was 1.4 seconds behind the Roman. This mid-race lack of pace might have cost him the chance to challenge Hamilton at the close.

Further back, Robert Kubica in 13th place had gathered together a train of vehicles - Barrichello, Schumacher, Button, Speed, Sato and Davidson all queueing up to get by.

On Lap 25 the order was:

Alonso 10.9 seconds clear of Hamilton who now had a huge 10.2 seconds on Kimi Raikkonen with the gap growing by the lap. Raikkonen had 4.4 seconds on Heidfeld who had opened out a 3.0 gap to Massa. Nico Rosberg was in 6th place, Coulthard was 7th but hadn't stopped, with Fisichella 8th, Trulli 9th and Kovalainen 10th.

There was little movement between the front-runners, though as Alonso came into lapped traffic he began to lose time to Hamilton. Robert Kubica returned to the pits on Lap 28 with a damaged front wing and released his train of cars.

Alonso gave a familiar hand gesture to the lapped Tonio Liuzzi as Hamilton closed to 8.7 seconds behind.

By Lap 30 Felipe Massa had started to erode the gap that Heidfeld had pulled out - it was down to 1.9 seconds. Alex Wurz - who had earlier gained revenge over David Coulthard with a sublime passing move round the outside of Turn 4 was beginning to pressure Kovalainen for 9th.

There was a lot of drama in DC's cockpit as his Friday problem re-emerged, his brake pedal started catching on the steering column. DC (following team-mate Webbo in 11th and 12th) asked the team if he could stop. He pitted for repairs, but his GP was run.

By Lap 36 Hamilton had reduced Alonso's advantage to 7.8 seconds and there was no sign of the much anticipated rain. Meanwhile Felipe Massa had closed right up on Nick Heidfeld again but could find no way past.

At the end of Lap 39 Hamilton started off the second round of pit-stops and rejoined behind the Heidfeld/Massa battle. On Laps 41 and 42 the two Ferraris pitted.

Meanwhile Nick Heidfeld made it in and out of the pitlane just in time. As he rejoined the circuit Felipe Massa was powering down the pitstraight - after some personal best sector times he was trying to recapture 4th place, but the Brazilian missed out by a matter of metres.

Alonso had no problems on his final pit-stop, but after emerging back on track Hamilton looked slow on his harder Bridgestones. Though the gap to Raikkonen in P3 had been as much as 12.9 seconds it was coming down fast.

However Nico Rosberg's promising afternoon came to an end when he retired his Williams-Toyota from 6th place with what looked like an engine fault and which the team tactfully told Rosberg was a hydraulics fault - thus sparing any possible Toyota blushes.

On lap 44 the order was:

Alonso 14.4 seconds clear of Hamilton, who was 7.7 seconds up on Raikkonen, who was 12.8 ahead of Heidfeld, who was 1.4 up on Massa. Fisichella was 6th, Trulli 7th Kovalainen 8th, Wurz 9th and Webber 10th.

As the laps ticked down to 56, Raikkonen slowly but surely reeled Hamilton in. However apart from a few lock-ups the Brit looked in control. The gap was steadily dwindling, though. 6.1 to 5.6 to 5.1 to 4.5 to 3.8 to 3.3. to 2.8 to 1.7 to 1.2 to 0.8 going into the final lap.

Raikkonen had a big advantage on the back straight but was unable to close up enough. Another two or three laps and it would have been an entirely different story - the final corner is very difficult to defend against a faster car.

As it was the Finn had left himself too much to do and he had to settle for P3. On the podium afterwards Raikkonen looked absolutely spent.

Alonso had taken the chequered flag to give McLaren their first 1-2 since 2005 and their first win since the 2005 season. This at a race that Ferrari were expected to win if not with quite the dominance they had shown in Melbourne.

Three weeks is clearly a long time in F1.

Heidfeld picked up more good points while yet again his team-mate suffered reliability problems. Massa finished a disappointing 5th while 6th and 8th for Fisichella and Kovalainen was as good as they were going to get from dreadful grid slots.

Heiki didn't have the nightmare race he'd had in Australia, but he'd lost out to his team-mate again. A largely unseen Jarno Trulli slotted into seventh place.

It hadn't been an exhilarating race, but it had thrown up some question marks about Ferrari's pace and Massa's temperament. Ferrari fans were probably thinking wistfully "if only Michael were here...".


1 F. Alonso McLaren 1:32:14.930
2 L. Hamilton McLaren + 17.557
3 K. Raikkonen Ferrari + 18.319
4 N. Heidfeld BMW + 33.777
5 F. Massa Ferrari + 36.705
6 G. Fisichella Renault + 1:05.638
7 J. Trulli Toyota + 1:10.132
8 H. Kovalainen Renault + 1:12.015
9 A. Wurz Williams + 1:28.924
10 M. Webber Red Bull + 1:33.556
11 R. Barrichello Honda + 1 laps
12 J. Button Honda + 1 laps
13 T. Sato Super Aguri + 1 laps
14 S. Speed Scuderia Toro Rosso + 1 laps
15 R. Schumacher Toyota + 1 laps
16 A. Davidson Super Aguri + 1 laps
17 V. Liuzzi Scuderia Toro Rosso + 1 laps
18 R. Kubica BMW + 1 laps
Did not finish
19 N. Rosberg Williams + 14 laps
20 D. Coulthard Red Bull + 20 laps
21 C. Albers Spyker F1 + 49 laps
22 A. Sutil Spyker F1 + 56 laps

Australia GP Report: Kimi takes victory while Hamilton shines Sunday 18th March 2007

Kimi Raikonen

Michael who? Kimi Raikkonen cruised to victory in the season-opening Australian GP to prove that there is life at Ferrari without Michael Schumacher.

The Finn cruised to victory, leading from start to finish in his first race for the team.

Reigning World Champion Fernando Alonso was second, joined on the podium by the astonishing Lewis Hamilton who held off his illustrious team-mate until their second and final pit-stops. It was a superb drive from the youngster, who barely put a wheel off line all weekend, and one which will surely herald the start of a long and successful F1 career.

BMW impressed but were denied a double points finish by Robert Kubica's gearbox failure. However Nick Heidfeld took fourth place, with Giancarlo Fisichella in fifth and a one-stopping Felipe Massa in sixth.

Race Report: It was perfect weather for the start of the Australian GP with an ambient temperature of 22C, a track temperature of 40C and bright sunshine in Albert Park.

Felipe Massa had opted for an engine change and a start at the back of the grid while Christian Albers would start the race from the pitlane. Of the front-runners, only Heidfeld would start on the softer Bridgestone tyre.

As the red lights went out Anthony Davidson's Super Aguri failed to get going and the whole field streamed past - a throttle sensor problem was the likely cause.

At the front Raikkonen led away easily, Nick Heidfeld fancied his chances from P3 on the grid and jumped inside Alonso. Behind them, Robert Kubica got the drop on Lewis Hamilton and the two indulged in a typical GP2 start with Hamilton switching from tight up the inside to wide on the outside to get back past Kubica.

Kubica actually did Hamilton a favour because forcing him out wide meant that he not only swept back past the Pole, he also overtook Alonso who was buried under Heidfeld's rear wing.

For a grand prix that saw four Safety Cars in 2006, there was great orderliness on the opening lap and not much positional change. At the end of the first lap the order was:

Raikkonen, Heidfeld, Hamilton, Alonso and Robert Kubica in 5th place. Giancarlo Fisichella was 6th, Webber 7th, Ralf Schumacher 8th, Sato 9th, Trulli 10th and Heiki Kovalainen 11th. Button had moved up to 13th spot while Felipe Massa was 18th.

At the back of the field Davidson and Albers had a coming together, spinning the Spyker around, though both cars were able to continue.

Immediately Massa tried to make progress through the field but was held up by David Coulthard's Red Bull, while Rubens Barrichello was using all the road and brushing the barriers behind team-mate Jenson Button but, frustratingly, couldn't find a way past.

On Lap 6 Massa looked to have turned the revs up on his Ferrari and cruised past DC on the straight, but he was now stuck behind the intra-Honda battle. At the front, Ferrari team-mate Kimi Raikkonen had established a four second gap to Heidfeld, who was 2.8 seconds clear of Hamilton with Alonso in close attendance.

Hamilton was clearly pushing hard and on Lap 7 put two wheels of the race track kicking up the dirt, just as Raikkonen lowered the Fastest Lap to 1:27.075.

Jenson Button's small train of Barrichello, Massa and Coulthard continued, but it was noticeable that Massa was positioning his car on the straight to take advantage of clear air through his radiators.

Lap 10, and Raikkonen lowered the Fastest Lap to 1:26.577. His only concern was that his radio had begun to malfunction from the very start of the race and so through the course of the grand prix communication would be difficult and involve a lot of pit boards.

Lap 11 and Christian Albers gained the distinction of being the first retirement of 2007 and for a less than conventional reason. He was trying to fish out an earplug that had come loose in his helmet, missed his braking point and went off the road at Turn 3. With new Safety Car rules introduced this season (and supposedly a 56% chance of having one deployed) the pitlane held its breath to see how the situation would unfold. The answer was that we would have to wait at least for the second race of the season before seeing the new-style SC as Albers' car was wheeled back by the marshals.

By Lap 12 Raikkonen had established a ten second lead and there had been no positional changes in the top ten, though Trulli was clearly being held up behind his Toyota team-mate Ralf Schumacher. At this stage of the season it is clearly not a good idea to give your team-mate an easy ride.

Nick Heidfeld was the first man to pit at the end of Lap 14 and he re-emerged from the pitlane behind Mark Webber. On the same lap Rubens finally got past Jenson and three laps later Massa would pass him, too.

Though there was indecision in the Ferrari pit on exactly when Kimi Raikkonen would be coming in - and as a result on Lap 18 both McLarens were actually faster than the Ferrari for the first time in the race - he eventually came in at the end of Lap 18.

Which left us with a rookie leading the Aussie GP on just the 19th lap of the race! Lewis Hamilton has seemed little fazed by anything F1 has thrown at him so far and leading his first F1 race was just another early career milestone.

Giancarlo Fisichella pitted from 6th place and had a 'moment' with Jarno Trulli when Fisi emerged at the end of the straight, the Toyota trying to drive round the outside of the Renault in Turn 1, but running out of circuit as Fisi let his car slip wide. Robert Kubica pitted a lap later and leapfrogged past Heidfeld to take an effective P4 off the German.

The McLarens pitted on Laps 22 and 23 and Lewis Hamilton kept his place in front of Alonso despite being held up by Spyker's Adrian Sutil (for which he was given a drive-through penalty).

The positions on Lap 26 were then:

Raikkonen leading, 11.7 seconds clear of Hamilton, who was 1.8 in front of Alonso. The Spaniard had a gap of over ten seconds to Robert Kubica in fourth place. Heidfeld was 5th, Fisichella 6th, Kovalainen 7th, Rosberg 8th and Felipe Massa in 9th. These last three drivers had yet to stop for their first pit-stop.

Immediately afterwards Kovalainen and Rosberg pitted together and, unusual for a Renault pit-stop, Rosberg's Williams was able to take advantage and the German overtook Kovalainen at the exit of the pitlane.

Massa finally pitted at the end of Lap 29 and rejoined in 10th place. A lap later and Scott Speed parked his double punctured STR-Ferrari on the infield grass, the second retirement of 2007.

The pit-stop re-shuffle was complete by Lap 32 with Jarno Trulli and Mark Webber losig out massively. While Trulli had been quicker than Ralf, the remaining Schumacher was now 7th while Jarno was back in 11th. Mark Webber, who'd been running in 7th was now down to 14th.

From 13th on the grid Heiki Kovalainen was now up to 9th, but his afternoon was about to get ragged. On Lap 35 he took to the grass, running too quickly in his efforts to get back on terms with Nico Rosberg. Rosberg himself was pressuring Ralf Schumacher for 7th place and on Lap 37 he squeezed past the Toyota at Turn 10.

At which point 7th place became 6th place as Robert Kubica retired his BMW from fourth position with the team's typical problem of this year, a broken gearbox.

Kimi Raikkonen was flying and on Lap 38 he lapped team-mate Felipe Massa, going on to lower the Fastest Lap to 1:26.172. On Lap 40 he reduced it to 1:25.929 and as if to prove a point lowered it to an incredible 1:25.235 on Lap 41.

Kovalainen then spun his Renault on the entry into Turn 1 and gave up 8th place to Felipe Massa.

The closest racing was between the McLaren duo with Fernando Alonso gradually closing up on Lewis Hamilton. Hamilton was about to pit for the second time on Lap 42 when he came up against Takuma Sato doing his usual trick of not looking in his mirrors. That delay, and the fact that Alonso had the fuel to run three laps longer gave the World Champion a clear edge and he was able to rejoin in P2.

Raikkonen's second pit-stop was problem-free, but he had a small off-track excursion between Turns 3 &4 while fiddling with his brake balance and not paying attention. He carried on regardless, just as Mark Webber did, after doing an impressive 360 degree spin in the pitlane without hitting anything.

In a relative drama-free race David Coulthard then gave the TV highlights packagers something to show. He had got ahead of team-mate Mark Webber and was closing fast on the Williams-Toyota of Alex Wurz and decided to take the Austrian going into Turn 3. "I was just too fast for the corner," admitted the Scot afterwards. "I thought it was an opportunity but it turned into not an opportunity."

Wurz didn't give him the room needed for an over-ambitious pass and the Red Bull was launched over the top of the Williams in dramatic fashion, Wurz narrowly avoiding getting an RB3 in the helmet.

The positions on Lap 50 were: Raikkonen leading, 13 seconds clear of Alonso, who had six seconds on Hamilton. Heidfeld followed in fourth, Fisichella was 5th and the one-stopping Felipe Massa was in 6th place followed by Rosberg in 7th, Ralf Schumacher in 8th, Jarno Trulli in 9th and Kovalainen in 10th.

Felipe Massa had got past both Rosberg and Ralf Schumacher by staying out on track in his heavily-fuelled Ferrari - his drive was all the evidence needed that the softer Bridgestone tyre (which teams must run for one stint in the race) could last half a race distance.

Though Massa closed up on Fisichella's fifth place at a great rate of knots, he spent the last five laps trailing the Renault round, sometimes 0.4 back, sometimes 0.3 back, but never finding a way past.

At the flag, Raikkonen backed off to finish just 7.2 seconds clear of Alonso and claim his first win since the Japanese GP of 2005. Alonso was pushed all the way by his team-mate Hamilton who finished an outstanding debut race in third place, the most impressive debut for a Brit in 40 years.

Heidfeld took fourth place while Fisichella was able to hold on to 5th with Massa 6th, Rosberg 7th and a slowing Ralf Schumacher in 8th place

Though the sheer pace of the Ferrari at times looked capable of overwhelming the McLaren there is still a question mark over the cooling ability of the new car. That question mark can easily be removed by the Scuderia at the next race in Malaysia, normally the hottest they'll run all year and a great tester of engines and driver endurance.

It was a perfect start to the Championship for Raikkonen. A few more races like this and his elevation in the Ferrari driver hierarchy will be confirmed.


01 K. R?ikk?nen Ferrari 1:25:28.770
02 F. Alonso McLaren + 7.242
03 L. Hamilton McLaren + 18.595
04 N. Heidfeld BMW + 38.763
05 G. Fisichella Renault + 1:06.469
06 F. Massa Ferrari + 1:06.805
07 N. Rosberg Williams + 1 laps
08 R. Schumacher Toyota + 1 laps
09 J. Trulli Toyota + 1 laps
10 H. Kovalainen Renault + 1 laps
11 R. Barrichello Honda + 1 laps
12 T. Sato Super Aguri + 1 laps
13 M. Webber Red Bull + 1 laps
14 V. Liuzzi Scuderia Toro Rosso + 1 laps
15 J. Button Honda + 1 laps
16 A. Davidson Super Aguri + 2 laps
17 A. Sutil Spyker F1 + 2 laps
Did not finish
18 A. Wurz Williams + 10 laps
19 D. Coulthard Red Bull + 10 laps
20 R. Kubica BMW + 22 laps
21 S. Speed Scuderia Toro Rosso + 30 laps
22 C. Albers Spyker F1 + 48 laps

Some of the many formula one motor racing web sites:-  link already visited  link not yet visited   link opened in a separate window (shift click)  shame about the advertising
http:// - the official formula one web site - lot of redirection by microsoft

This page was updated on January 22nd. 2014.

Report on the 2006 season  Report on the 2005 season  Report on the 2004 season  Report on the 2003 season  Report on the 2002 season  Report on the 2001 season  


home   formula   You are visitor number  number of hits