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8 Jul 2007

Raikkonen and Ferrari unstoppable at Silverstone

For a while McLaren looked good, as first polesitter Lewis Hamilton and then world champion Fernando Alonso had spells in the lead of Sunday’s British Grand Prix, but when Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen ran longer than Alonso in the second stint it was all over bar the shouting.

By the time the Finn refuelled for the second and last time, on lap 43, he was able to retain the lead with ease and head Alonso home by 2.4 seconds after backing off in the final lap.

It was not a great day for Lewis Hamilton in the other McLaren, who struggled throughout to match his main rivals’ pace, and had Felipe Massa not had to start from the pit lane after his Ferrari stalled on the grid in the original start, he would arguably not have been able to maintain his record of finishing on the podium in every Grand Prix he has driven.

As it was the Englishman maintained his championship lead by taking a distant third place, and his aspirations were helped a little when Massa, after a strong recovery drive, was unable to wrest fourth place from BMW Sauber’s Robert Kubica.

The result leaves Hamilton first on 70 points from Alonso on 58, Raikkonen now up to 52, and Massa on 51.

In a reasonable day for BMW Sauber, Nick Heidfeld brought his F1.07 home sixth ahead of the outpaced Renaults of Heikki Kovalainen and Giancarlo Fisichella, which took the final points.

Rubens Barrichello and Jenson Button had single-stop runs to ninth and 10th places for Honda, the Englishman working very hard in the final third of the race to keep David Coulthard’s Red Bull at bay. Like Massa behind Kubica, they were less than a second apart at the finish.

Nico Rosberg should have been a points contender for Williams but lost a lot of time in his first stop and spent the rest of the race fighting back, while team mate Alex Wurz finished 13th after a brush with Scott Speed, which eliminated the American’s Toro Rosso with front-left suspension damage. The final finishers were Takuma Sato, who started from the pit lane in the spare Super Aguri, and Christijan Albers in the Spyker.

The other retirements were Mark Webber with hydraulic problems on his Red Bull, the Toyotas of Jarno Trulli and Ralf Schumacher, Tonio Liuzzi’s Toro Rosso, Anthony Davidson’s Super Aguri and Adrian Sutil, whose Spyker’s engine blew up.

It may not have been a classic race, but it proved again that the advantage remains with Ferrari as the season reached its midpoint.

The podium (L to R): Fernando Alonso (ESP) McLaren, second; Gilles Simon (ITA) Ferrari Engine Department; Kimi Raikkonen (FIN) Ferrari, race winner; Lewis Hamilton (GBR) McLaren, third.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 9, British Grand Prix, Race, Silverstone, England, Sunday, 8 July 2007 Race winner Kimi Raikkonen (FIN) Ferrari celebrates on the podium.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 9, British Grand Prix, Race, Silverstone, England, Sunday, 8 July 2007 Felipe Massa (BRA) Ferrari F2007 stalled on the grid.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 9, British Grand Prix, Race, Silverstone, England, Sunday, 8 July 2007 Giancarlo Fisichella (ITA) Renault R27 at the start of the race.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 9, British Grand Prix, Race, Silverstone, England, Sunday, 8 July 2007 Scott Speed (USA) Scuderia Toro Rosso STR2 and Nico Rosberg (GER) Williams FW29.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 9, British Grand Prix, Race, Silverstone, England, Sunday, 8 July 2007