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Magny-Cours, 1 July, 2007
Radio Five Live podcast



Result after 70 of 70 laps:

1 Raikkonen (Ferrari)

2 Massa (Ferrari)

3 Hamilton (McLaren)

4 Kubica (BMW Sauber)

5 Heidfeld (BMW Sauber)

6 Fisichella (Renault)

7 Alonso (McLaren)

8 Button (Honda)

LATEST NEWS (all times BST)

By Sarah Holt

606: DEBATE

To get involved, text us on 81111 (UK users only) or contribute to 606

Lap 70: Raikkonen leads home a Ferrari one-two as the Italian team are right back on form. Hamilton comes home in third on a bit of a tricky strategy, but the Briton keeps up his streak of getting on the podium in each of his races.

The Finn waves and says he is really happy with the car over the radio. Here's what Maurice reckons: "It is every man for himself at Ferrari now and Raikkonen won it on pace. This is a big turnaround for Ferrari."
BBC Five Live's Maurice Hamilton

Alonso will be frustrated in seventh but behind him Jenson Button earns Honda's first point of the season in eighth. The upgrades look to be working, and that's good news ahead of Silverstone.

Now then, that was exciting wasn't it, who said Hamilton was going to win them all?

Lap 69: Raikkonen looks to be on his way to breaking this season's pattern of most races being won from the front row of the grid.

Lap 68: Kubica looks like the only driver pushing really hard out there as he is 9.6 seconds behind Hamilton. Not likely he's going to stop the Briton getting his eighth straight podium of the season though.

Lap 67: Raikkonen is cruising through now, just 1.9 seconds ahead of Massa, with Hamilton 31 seconds back in third.

Lap 65: "This is much, much needed for Raikkonen as what a desperate season he's been having, there were even rumours that Ferrari were going to drop in. This win puts him back in the reckoning."
BBC Five Live's Maurice Hamilton

Lap 62: Coasting at the front now. Raikkonen holds a 2.1 second lead over Massa while the Finn is 30.5 seconds ahead of Hamilton in third.

Lap 61: Alonso didn't get the rain he wanted and he will be even more frustrated that having got beyond Heidfeld and Fisichella earlier, his ill-timed stops see him stuck in seventh.

Lap 60: Honda look set to win their first point of the season too as Button is looking good in seventh.

Lap 59: If things stay as they are, Hamilton will hold a 14-point lead over Alonso at the top of the standings with Massa a further three points adrift.

Lap 58: Alonso tries to take Fisichella again but the Renault man holds his inside line well and the Spaniard's just not having much luck out there.

Lap 57: Scott Speed veers into the gravel trap and his Toro Rosso is out of the race.

Lap 55: Alonso tries to make a move on Fisichella but can't get a clear line.

Lap 54: So looks like we are pretty settled for the minute so here's a run down of other bits and pieces. Button has been running pretty well in eighth while his Honda team-mate Rubens Barrichello is in 11th with plenty of traffic behind him. Coulthard is in 13th while Kovalainen is putting pressure on Alexander Wurz for 14th.

Lap 53: Alonso is 0.7 seconds behind Fisichella - he could yet make a move for sixth.

Lap 51: Hamilton pits for the last time to take on the soft tyres and he feeds back out in third, which at least will guarantee him another podium.

Lap 50: And right on cue Button comes into the pits.

Lap 49: Button looks like he could be on target for his first top-10 finish of the season. He is showing some real pace, going round in 1:16.901.

Lap 48: Heidfeld pits from fourth and takes on the soft tyres and, oh, bad news for Alonso as the German comes back out in front of him in seventh. Well, Alonso will have to overtake him - yet again.

Lap 47: Well, just briefly because he comes in to the pits and Raikkonen needs to get past the back markers as he emerges. He does that and more as he comes out ahead of Massa, which means he has control of the race. Massa had been slowing because of traffic.

Lap 45: Raikkonen leads.

Lap 43: Ferrari getting ready and Massa pits from the lead, taking on a big glug of fuel and the soft tyres too. Should be fuelled for the finish on that little lot.

Lap 42: Massa holds a 3.3-second lead at the front as he sets a new fastest lap of 1:16.099.

Lap 40: Hamilton is really trying to lay down some hot laps now and he hasn't been on the soft tyres yet.

Lap 38: Alonso pits. Looks like he is on a two-stop now.

Lap 37: McLaren get ready for a pit stop and Hamilton comes in first again, and he is out in 6.3 seconds with new hard tyres. He's on a three-stop strategy now. Hamilton emerges on his out-lap behind Kubica but he shows some daring moves to get past him at the Adelaide Hairpin.

"Absolutely fantastic move by Hamilton - he started to run wide but he somehow held on and made it stick. They were coming from 155mph down to 50mph so it was very tight, but Lewis showed incredible feel."
BBC Radio Five Live's Maurice Hamilton

Lap 34: Alonso finally gets some clear air in front of him and he finally finds some speed as he chases Kubica for fourth.

"Alonso is the fastest man on the track by some margin now he has some clear space in front of him."
BBC Radio Five Live's Maurice Hamilton

Lap 33: Button pits from fifth and Alonso shows amazing guts to pass Heidfeld into the 130mph Imola chicane.

Lap 32: Spyker explains that there was a mix-up. Hmmm a bit of an understatement that. Here's what Maurice thinks:

"Christijan Albers is a very lucky man. The whole thing was a complete mess and it was his first - the lollipop hadn't been lifted and it's fortunate that the fuel didn't touch the very hot engine and go into flames."
BBC Radio Five Live's Maurice Hamilton.

Lap 31: Raikkonen is pushing hard down as he cuts Massa's lead to 1.7 seconds. Alonso is still niggling at Heidfeld but he is all over the shop really as he tries to tempt the German into making a mistake.

Lap 30: A bit of chaos in the Spyker pits as Christijan Albers motors away with the fuel rig still attached to the car. He knocks a mechanic clear off his feet too and as he clatters off into the grass with the rig tangled under his car, it looks like his race is over.

Lap 28: Speaking of annoyance, Kovalainen comes in to the pits from 18th after that early shunt with Trulli ruined his chances in France.

Lap 27: Alonso tries to make another big move on Heidfeld, exciting to watch but pretty frustrating for the Spaniard - if only it had rained eh?

Lap 26: Alonso is probably rueing not being able to pass Heidfeld earlier in the race as he finds himself stuck behind him again.

Lap 25: So here is how the land lies at the front, Massa, starting on pole, holds a 1.9 second lead over team-mate Raikkonen with Hamilton 8.9 seconds further back in third. Kubica, back after a crash in Canada, is doing well in fourth for BMW Sauber.

Lap 24: Honda did say they had made improvements in testing in between Indianapolis and Magny-Cours but Jenson Button fans remember he has yet to pit yet, though he is running well in fifth.

Lap 23: Heidfeld pits from third and Alonso manages to round Fisichella to take seventh spot.

Lap 22: Raikkonen pits and Massa re-takes the lead.

Lap 20: Rosberg comes into the pits which allows Hamilton to creep further up the order. Raikkonen sets the new fastest lap of 1:16.207.

Lap 19: Massa pits and takes on 77 litres of fuel. Robert Kubica and Giancarlo Fisichella also come in which leaves Raikkonen to lead the race for the first time since Bahrain.

Lap 17: Hamilton feeds back in behind Nico Rosberg and has a heavier car, plus he's caught up in a little bit of traffic. Ferrari definitely have the upper hand as things are not really going McLaren's way.

Lap 16: McLaren getting ready for a pit and Hamilton comes in to the pits first, followed by Alonso.

Lap 15: Massa is looking for the fifth victory of his career and he is 4.3 seconds ahead of Raikkonen as he leads at Magny-Cours. Here's what Maurice Hamilton thinks: "Massa is setting a fantastic pace, and there's not a lot Hamilton can do about it at the moment."

Lap 14: Trulli explains he made a mistake in Lap One and that he hit Kovalainen, messing up both of their races.

Lap 13: Red Bull's David Coulthard is complaining of a lack of grip with the front of his car. DC is up to 13 from 16th on the grid.

Lap 12: "Alonso just can't get close enough to do the job but he is crawling all over Heidfeld."
BBC Five Live's Maurice Hamilton

Lap 10: The Brazalian front runner pulls further clear of his team-mate Raikkonen - the gap is now 3.5 seconds.

Lap nine: Massa untouched at the minute out in the lead and he sets a new fastest lap of 1:16.523.

Lap eight: Alonso is really hassling Heidfeld but the Sauber man is still holding him up - and unless he gets past soon, the McLaren man's hopes of being competitive will fade fast.

Lap seven: One of those starts to the race I'm afraid which means some drivers are heading for early baths. Davidson, Liuzzi and Jarno Trulli are all out after getting tangled up at the start. Kovalainen is down to 19th - from sixth on the grid - after his bump and spin.

Lap six: Massa stretches his lead to 2.9 and he's the fastest man out there with a fastest lap of 1:16.979.

Lap five: A tussle between Alonso and Nick Heidfeld for sixth. Alonso gets past him but brakes too hard and Heidfeld retakes him in his BMW Sauber. Alonso really, really trying out there.

"The charge is very much on for Alonso - he's already up to seventh and is pushing Heidfeld hard. He seems to have identified turn 15 as the perfect place to overtake."
BBC Five Live's David Croft

Lap three: Massa is driving smoothly and is 1.8 seconds ahead of Raikkonen - those Ferraris really do look like they have improved.

Lap two: Massa streams out in front while the rest of the field settles down after a bit of a messy start. Vitantonio Liuzzi and Anthony Davidson retire their Toro Rosso and Super Aguri after clashing on lap one. Kovalainen is back in the pits as is Trulli.

Lap one: Attacking start from Ferrari as Raikkonen scoots round Hamilton for second. Kovalainen in the Renault gets involved in an accident at the Adelaide hairpin and looks like he clips Alonso, who was desperately trying to weave his way through.

1303: All lined up now and off we go.

1259: Almost ready to go in France and off they go to warm up their tyres. Adrian Sutil has got out of his Spyker though so he's going to have to get into the spare car pretty quickly. Alonso has started on the soft tyres by the way.

1257: Helmets on and final adjustments being made as the drivers prepare for the parade lap - and it's not raining, sorry Alonso.

1255: Thanks for all your comments everyone - though I'm sad that most of my texts seem to be for Vernon Kay at Radio 1 - oh well. I'm concentrating on the lap-by-lap commentary now, but just for the record most of you still think Hamilton will win with Ferrari expecting to challenge hard.

1253: "I think Ferrari is back. Massa will win the race ahead of Hamilton."
Sharifrasel on 606

1250: The drivers are out on the grid, taking on water, while Anthony Hamilton takes son Lewis for a private word before the race.

1247: Grey clouds are gathering over Magny-Cours but there is no rain falling yet.

1244: Few problems on the Magny-Cours circuit as sand and concrete dust are being spread over the track to soak up some spilt oil from the earlier races - that could affect grip considerably.

1242: "I predict Lewis Hamilton will cut in and snatch the lead from Felipe Massa, and go on to win. He'll win, whatever."
CK, Singapore on 606

1233: The drivers are nosing out of the pits now to line up on the grid.

1230: I know we're all excited about the racing ahead but it is worth mentioning that this could be the last-ever Grand Prix at Magny-Cours. Bernie Eccelstone ominously said this week; "Magny-Cours is really not a place for Formula One." Apparently, French chiefs want to get a race on the calendar at a location a bit closer to Paris for 2009.

1228: "How about Heidfeld or Kubica to win with Coulthard on the podium.. Sorry I'll have a cup of coffee and wake up in a minute! It should be a cracking race."
DEmery on 606

1225: The McLaren drivers are staying relaxed as they head down for a final briefing with the team. Rainman Alonso is even signing hats and tossing them to fans.

1222: Still dry at Magny-Cours at the minute as the teams are busy making their final preparations in the pits.

1217: "Can't wait to see how Lewis Hamilton copes with the two Ferraris either side of him on the grid. Hope the fans aren't too critical of him if he isn't able to claim victory in France - he is only a rookie remember."
Louis via text

And we'd love to hear from you if you are at the track in Magny-Cours and are able to send us a text on 81111. This number still works abroad on UK mobiles.

1210: "Hamilton hat-trick AND Ferrari fightback and it won't be 'for Britain', he's not bloomin' Lord Nelson."
Autounion on 606

1205: On a personal note the rain does seem to be following me around at the moment; Glastonbury last weekend, working at Wimbledon and now the French Grand Prix. If Alonso does want to employ me as some sort of rain-maker I would be open to offers.

1200: "If it does continue to rain here then I have got this vision of Fernando Alonso picking his way through the field and making it an exciting race indeed."
BBC Five Live's David Croft

1147: "For me this race will be won at one of these two points. The start - the car that gets out ahead and has the free track will get away from the few cars chasing because the speed between Ferrari and McLaren is so similar.

Fuel Levels - I believe Lewis and Kimi have about the same fuel level from practice times and qualy 3 times. Massa might actually be at the same fuel level as he has been fastest consistently all weekend, but I think he's one or two laps lighter thus helping Ferrari control the race!"
Godez23 on 606

1142: Ok here's the weather update from our Five Live colleagues, who are at the circuit right now. It is dry at the moment but more rain is forecast for 1400 local time - right on cue for the race then.

1139: "It's annoying that the Beeb tell us about Alonso wishing for rain but don't say whether it's happening."
MechanicalGrip on 606 (I'm on the case now for the latest update)

1130: What do you reckon to this theory folks - Hamilton will employ aggressive tactics and attack Massa right off the grid? Here's what the man himself thinks anyway:

"I'm in the perfect position to attack. There is a long, long straight up into the hairpin at the top and it's a great opportunity to slipstream the other drivers. If you're in front, you've got to be good at defending."

1125: "Hopefully Lewis will do it again for GB - what a confidence booster that will be ahead of the British Grand Prix at Silverstone next weekend."
AmazingOxfan on 606

1100: Welcome to our coverage of the French Grand Prix at Magny-Cours, where Lewis Hamilton is chasing his third straight victory, Ferrari plan their fightback and Fernando Alonso is praying for rain.

McLaren's Hamilton, who leads the standings by 10 points, is on a hat-trick after wrapping up wins in Canada and the United States.

The 22-year-old Briton won the last two races from pole but he starts second on the grid after being pipped in qualifying by Ferrari's Felipe Massa.

After a successful spell testing at Silverstone, Ferrari believe they have found some form to challenge the dominant McLarens.

"We just have more grip and more consistency and the car is just behaving better," says Brazilian Massa, who starts on pole with team-mate Kimi Raikkonen in third.

Things are not looking so rosy for Hamilton's team-mate Alonso, who starts in 10th after problems with his gearbox in qualifying.

The Spanish double world champion planned to spend Saturday night praying for rain. He said: "I really hope it's wet because it might lead to some uncertainties."

So all to play for at Magny-Cours, but how do you think the race will be run and won? We await your thoughts on 606 and text on 81111.

SEE ALSO
Massa edges out Hamilton for pole
01 Jul 07 |  Formula One
French GP qualifying as it happened
30 Jun 07 |  Formula One
Ferrari head McLaren in practice
29 Jun 07 |  Formula One
Kubica fit to race in French GP
28 Jun 07 |  Formula One
Hamilton - I can hold off Alonso
21 Jun 07 |  Formula One


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