Massa wins in France as Raikkonen hits trouble 22 Jun 2008
Felipe Massa took the lead of the drivers championship after a decisive victory for Ferrari at Magny-Cours on Sunday. The Brazilian trailed team mate Kimi Raikkonen for the first 38 of the 70 laps, but moved ahead decisively as the Finns F2008 developed an exhaust problem. The latter cost Raikkonen the win, but nobody else ever got close enough to the red cars for this to be a problem to the team.
Jarno Trulli might have been able to catch Raikkonen, but had his hands full fending off a strong late-race challenge from McLarens Heikki Kovalainen. The Finn nearly squeezed by on the penultimate lap, but as the Toyota moved over they briefly rubbed wheels and Kovalainen went over a chicane and had to concede his challenge. It gave Toyota their first podium since 2006.
Behind them, Robert Kubica clung on for second place in the championship chase thanks to a fifth place finish, well ahead of the scrap for the final points between Mark Webbers Red Bull and the Renault drivers. When Fernando Alonso slid wide lapping Giancarlo Fisichella with three laps left, Nelson Piquet moved ahead of his team leader and was hounding Webber by the flag in a drive that gave him his first championship points and might arguably have saved his career.
It was a disastrous afternoon for McLarens Lewis Hamilton, who had worked his way up to ninth place when he had to serve a drive-through penalty on the 13th lap after the stewards adjudged him to have gained an advantage on the opening lap by going over a chicane to overtake Sebastian Vettel. The Englishman finally finished 10th, behind David Coulthards Red Bull.
Timo Glock hung on for Toyota to 11th place despite Vettels challenge for Toro Rosso, while Nick Heidfeld was a disappointing 13th in the second BMW Sauber.
Rubens Barrichello, who started from the back of the grid after a late gearbox change, was the first lapped runner in 14th, his Honda heading home the battling Williams drivers Kazuki Nakajima and Nico Rosberg. Sebastien Bourdais was 17th for Toro Rosso ahead of Giancarlo Fisichella and Adrian Sutil in their Force Indias. Jenson Button was the only retirement after his Honda made first-lap contact with Bourdais and sustained irreparable damage.
His success makes Massa the first Brazilian to lead the world championship since Ayrton Senna at Monaco in 1993. He has 48 points to Kubicas 46 and Raikkonens 43. Hamilton trails with 38 after his second race without scoring points. Ferrari extend their lead in the constructors championship to a commanding 17 points over BMW Sauber.