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Last Updated: Sunday, 16 July 2006, 13:38 GMT 14:38 UK
French GP as it happened
1 M Schumacher (Ferrari)

2 F Alonso (Renault)

3 F Massa (Ferrari)

4 R Schumacher (Toyota)

5 K Raikkonen (McLaren)

6 G Fisichella (Renault)

7 P De La Rosa (McLaren)

8 N Heidfeld (BMW Sauber)


Latest updates (all times BST):

Lap 70: Schumacher becomes the first driver to seal eight wins at the French Grand Prix with a very comfortable victory at Magny-Cours on Sunday. Championship leader Alonso minimises the damage by holding on for second and Schumacher's team-mate Massa take third. It is a second consecutive triumph for Schumacher as the world title race hots up with just 17 points now separating Alonso and Schumacher.

Lap 67: Alonso has been unable to compete with the Ferraris and their Bridgestone tyres at Magny-Cours but Renault have ensured some damage limitation with Alonso capitalising on Massa's three-stop strategy to sneak into second with just two pit stops.

Lap 62: Button trundles into the pits to seal a miserable afternoon for Honda as the team suffer the second retirement at Magny-Cours. That brings the total number of retirements to six with Button, Webber, Trulli, Barrichello, Monteiro and Sato all out.

Lap 60: Webber makes his fifth stop of the afternoon and gets out of the car to confirm the Australian is out of the race once and for all. But Coulthard is just outside the points in ninth.

Lap 54: Massa has pitted for the third time, allowing Alonso into second place, while Raikkonen is down to fifth after re-emerging from the pit lanes behind Ralf Schumacher.

Lap 52: Schumacher is now 21.1 seconds ahead of team-mate Massa and looks set for a comfortable victory at Magny-Cours. A win would cut Alonso championship lead but how much depends on where the Spaniard finishes as he faces pressure from Raikkonen. Further down the order, Webber has been forced to pit again as his troubles continue.

Lap 46: Schumacher has built up an impregnable lead over third-placed Alonso, who now trails by over 17 seconds. He clocks the fastest lap so far with 1:17.111.

Lap 45: There is hope for Webber who is back out on the track after several tyre problems.

Lap 42: Alonso finally comes in for his second stop, allowing Schumacher to regain his lead and the question remains whether the defending world champion can edge Massa for second.

Lap 39: It's bad news for Trulli, who has retired after coming into the pits. Webber is also in trouble with some problem with his left rear tyre again.

Lap 38: Another perfect pit stop for Ferrari as Schumacher comes in for his second stop and rejoins behind Alonso. Renault lead for the first time in this Grand Prix but Alonso knows it is only temporary as his second pit stop is imminent.

Lap 35: Massa comes in for second stop and re-emerges behind Alonso, who is now 16.2 seconds behind leader Schumacher.

Lap 32: Raikkonen comes in for a second stop but it seems a little early which could suggest problems with his McLaren.

Lap 29: Eighth-placed David Coulthard finally comes in for his first stop, which explains his uncompetitive performance in qualifying. The Scot was clearly carrying a large fuel load, so he could go into today's race on a two-stop strategy. Fellow Briton Button remains in 16th place on a torrid weekend for Honda.

Lap 27: There's a real battle going on between Trulli and McLaren driver Raikkonen, who is clearly faster on his new set of tyres. The Finn finally gets the break he's been looking for at the hairpin and moves up to fourth.

Lap 22: It is a disastrous pit stop for Ralf Schumacher, who comes in from leading but returns to the race in seventh after trouble with his front left tyre. Brother Michael returns to the lead as all the main contenders have now pitted and all appear to be on a three-stop strategy.

Lap 20: Trulli temporarily leads a Toyota one-two before making his way into the pits. De la Rosa finally makes up for his poor start, getting past the slower Webber. But it is bad news Barrichello, who has appeared to stop.

Lap 18: Massa shows what you can do with new tyres as he clocks the fastest lap so far with 1:17.141.

Lap 16: Massa is first in the pits, releasing Alonso to chase down and challenge leader Schumacher.

Lap 14: Schumacher has opened up a 7.7-second lead as the first round of pit stops approaches but it is all over for Monteiro, who has officially retired. According to replays, the Portuguese misjudged the Nurburgring chicane and launched off the ground - clearly damaging vital instruments.

Lap 12: It doesn't look good for Midland's Tiago Monteiro, who is in the pits and could be in trouble.

Lap 11: Schumacher clocks the fastest lap so far with one minute 17.761 seconds and become the first driver under the 1:18-mark.

Lap 9: Rubens Barrichello has dropped back a place to 13th after losing out to Speed, but Schumacher continues to open out his lead at the front, stretching to almost five seconds.

Lap 6: Alonso remains hot on Massa's heels, knowing he must get past the Brazilian if he is to challenge leader Schumacher. The Spaniard has had a go at him at the Adelaide turn and Lycee Pin but is still yet to find a way past.

Lap 3: Mark Webber has moved up to eighth after squeezing past Pedro de la Rosa's McLaren.

Lap 2: The French Grand Prix is already down to 21 runners as Takuma Sato pulls over to the side of the track. But the front three are now racing away with a 2-second lead over Jarno Trulli.

Lap 1: Alonso attempts to battle past Massa on the opening bend but the Ferrari driver holds him off to allow team-mate Schumacher to stream away in the lead. It is better news for Jenson Button, who slips past Jacques Villeneuve into 16th place.

1300: The parade lap is under way. The track temperature is 48C and rising.

1251: It looks like French Grand Prix is set to be a battle of the tyres with tyre degradation playing a key part on the 2.741-mile Magny-Cours circuit. Vitantonio Liuzzi starts from the back of the grid after a demotion following an engine change on his Toro Rosso.

1250: The teams are making their final preparations and the drivers are putting on their helmets as just 10 minutes remain before the start of the race.

1232: The pit lane opens and the cars begin to leave to form up on the dummy grid.

1225: With 35 minutes to go, the weather at Magny-Cours is hot and sunny with an air temperature of 34C and humidity of 36%.

Michael Schumacher seized pole position on Saturday as Ferrari swept the front row for the second race in succession.

Schumacher will be looking to cut further into Fernando Alonso's world championship lead after claiming his 68th career pole.

The German ended Alonso's run of four consecutive wins with a Ferrari one-two at the last race at Indianapolis, cutting the gap to 19 points.

Alonso heads into Renault's home Grand Prix on the second row of the grid along with Toyota's Jarno Trulli.

But British hope Jenson Button starts from back in 17th after another disappointing qualifying session.

Fellow Briton David Coulthard performed better in his Red Bull, squeezing into the final qualifying shoot-out to claim ninth, one behind of Pedro de la Rosa - who replaced axed McLaren driver Juan Pablo Montoya.

Williams' rising star Nico Rosberg also impressed on Saturday, but had to settle for 18th after being demoted 10 places because of an unscheduled engine change.

SEE ALSO
Eighth French win for Schumacher
16 Jul 06 |  Formula One
Schumacher leads Ferrari one-two
15 Jul 06 |  Formula One
Button unimpressed with new car
15 Jul 06 |  Formula One
Villeneuve sets Magny-Cours pace
15 Jul 06 |  Formula One
Magny-Cours, France
23 Feb 05 |  Circuit Guide


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