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Belgian Grand Prix
Spa-Francorchamps - 16 September, 2007
The Chequered Flag podcast

Final positions after lap 44 of 44:

1. Raikkonen (Ferrari)

2. Massa (Ferrari)

3. Alonso (McLaren)

4. Hamilton (McLaren)

5. Heidfeld (BMW Sauber)

6. Rosberg (Williams)

7. Webber (Red Bull)


By Sarah Holt


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

Lap 44 : The Ferrari flags are out as Raikkonen takes the chequered flag to win the Spa Grand Prix for the third time. The Finn swirls his car round in celebration as he wins ahead of Felipe Massa. McLaren's Alonso claims the final podium spot to edge a point closer to team-mate Hamilton in the title race - he is now two points behind.

While Ferrari are assured of the constructors title, the drivers title is still undecided with three races to go.

"Just a superb win for Raikkonen and after all the controversy this week and being beaten on home soil last week, Ferrari have come up with the perfect answer here. One week it's Ferrari, one week its McLaren, the championship is so unpredictable. I think despite the Paris distractions, McLaren gone on with their job here."
BBC 5live analyst Maurice Hamilton

Kovalainen holds off a late charge from Kubica to take the last point in eighth place while Adrian Sutil claims his best win of the season in 14th for Spyker.

Lap 43 : Hamilton runs wide at Pouhon as he tries to find a bit of extra pace in the closing stages but the main contenders seem set to end the race just as they started.

Lap 42 : Massa is also pushing Raikkonen for the lead as he is just 1.7 seconds adrift now but Raikkonen looks nicely poised to secure his third successive win at Spa.

Lap 40 : Hamilton is 5.1 seconds behind Alonso in fourth but he is pushing, pushing little by little. "I think Alonso will be very wise to the approach of his team-mate as both he and Hamilton are still fighting for the championship."
BBC 5live analyst Maurice Hamilton

Lap 39 : Button will talk about his weekend in his diary on 5live on Monday but he didn't have much to say in Belgium after his race was ended by hydraulics problems.

Lap 38 : There's also bad news for Button as he pulls his smoking Honda into the pits and he's out of the race. Kovalainen is having to do an awful lot of defending as Kubica tries to take him for eighth place - but the Finn hangs on for now.

Lap 37: Alexander Wurz is the fourth man to retire from the race in his Williams as McLaren ready themselves for Hamilton. The Briton comes in and out and feeds back, just where he began, in fourth.

Lap 35: Hamilton is the only frontrunner not to pit and Alonso will be hoping he doesn't lose time to his team-mate amongst those pesky back-markers.

Lap 34: All the pits happening now as Kubica pits from fifth, and Heidfeld comes in too. Massa sets a new fastest lap of 1:48.036 and it looks like he caught Raikkonen a little bit through the traffic.

Lap 33: McLaren pits are called into action and in comes Alonso who is out in an even swifter 5.8secs. Here's some news on Coulthard. Not for the first time this season, the Scot has been undone by his hydraulics which affected his power steering.

Lap 32: Well after being at the heart of the mid-field action in Spa, David Coulthard retires with technical problems. At the front, Massa comes into the pits.

Lap 31: Rosberg comes into the Williams pits to pick up his soft tyres for the final stint. Ferrari get ready to receive Raikkonen and he pours in to the pits and gets in an doubt in a super speedy 6.8secs.

Lap 29: Button and Takuma Sato are enjoying a bit of a ding-dong in their battle for 14th and 15th. There are some other interesting battles down the field and Adrian Sutil is having a really good day in his Spyker as he is running close to Coulthard in 13th.

Lap 28: From where I'm sitting this race has not been as exciting as I'd hoped for, here's our man thoughts: "Unless one of the top four hits problems, the result is looking pretty much set now. Raikkonen has Massa well under control, and Alonso is also keeping Hamilton at arm's length. Behind the big four, it will be interesting to see where Kovalainen's one-stop strategy leaves him as the others make their second stops."
BBC Sport's Andrew Benson in Spa

Lap 27: Barrichello is still to stop. The McLarens look like they are running at pretty much the same pace now, but Alonso in third is still 14 seconds behind front runner Raikkonen. Oh and here comes Barrichello as the last man to pit.

Lap 26: ... and Coulthard and Davidson come in too.

Lap 25: ... and as if by magic, Button, Liuzzi both pit.

Lap 24: Over halfway in the race now and the drivers still to stop are David Coulthard, Anthony Davidson, Jenson Button, Rubens Barrichello and Vitantonio Liuzzi are the only drivers still to stop.

Lap 23: Raikkonen is under zero pressure at the front as he cruises along with a 4.9 second lead over Massa.

Lap 22: Kovalainen comes into the pits and he is onto the soft tyres. He doesn't manage to get out in front of the scrap between DC, Button and Kubica though and rejoins behind the BMW Sauber man in 10th.

Lap 21: Ralf Schumacher pits from seventh as he is motoring on a steady run for Toyota.

Lap 20: Kubica again tries and fails to get round DC. "Coulthard is fighting to keep Kubica at bay but the pair of them are being caught by Button as a result."
BBC 5live analyst Maurice Hamilton

Lap 19: Kubica is stuck in the middle of a British battle between Coulthard and Button. Hid BMW Sauber is locking up a little as he is pushing Coulthard's Red Bull for 10th while Button is behind him in 12th. "Can Coulthard hang on for much longer with Kubica all over the back of it?" asks BBC 5live commentator David Croft.

Lap 18: BMW Sauber's Nick Heidfeld pits from third and he comes back out in seventh. He stays on hard tyres so is due to stop again to collect his soft tyres.

Lap 17: So Raikkonen is back on top as the four front-runnres all pick up fuel and new tyres. He leads Massa by 4.8secs. Meanwhile, it looks like Hamilton is struggling once more to close the gap on Alonso.

Lap 16: The Ferrari pits open up to receive Massa and he is in and away in 8.5 seconds. And Hamilton comes in to and takes a lot of fuel on board as he hangs around for 9.2secs.

Lap 15: Nico Rosberg comes in from fifth and Mark Webber pits from seventh. Nice jobs from the crews. Rosberg comes back out in 9th and Webber in 10th.

Raikkonen comes in to the Ferrari pits - he stays on harder tyres - and Alonso follows suit in the McLaren.

Lap 13: The pit stops should be coming up pretty soon. At the front, Raikkonen now has a lead of five seconds.

"Alonso was edging out a gap to Hamilton, but the Englishman has now closed the gap slightly on two consecutive laps. Hamilton is thought to have a little more fuel on board than Alonso, and if he can stay close enough he might jump the world champion at the pit stops.
BBC Sport's Andrew Benson in Spa

Lap 12: BMW Sauber's Kubica finally gets ahead of Kovalainen and into the points as he jumps up into eighth after starting from 14th on the grid.

Lap 11: Raikkonen stretches his lead at the front of the field to 4.3 seconds from Massa.

Lap nine: Just to give you some idea of how the race is shaping up. Raikkonen is still looking really easy as he leads by 2.9 seconds from Ferrari team-mate Massa. Alonso is seven seconds adrift for McLaren while Hamilton is 10.6 seconds off Raikkonen.

Sebastian Vettel is back in the Toro Rosso pits and is having some serious work done on his car, but it's not looking good.

Lap eight: Hamilton can't make up any ground on third-placed team-mate Alonso at the minute. Here's BBC 5live's Maurice Hamilton: "Hamilton is losing time in the middle sector of his lap, the tricky downhill run, so he is still having a problem." Meanwhile, Kubica nearly comes a cropper as he tries to take Kovalainen for eighth but the Finn holds him off for now.

Lap seven: Another fast lap from Raikkonen as he roars round the long, long track in 1:48.500. Meanwhile, Scot David Coulthard is looking over his shoulder in 11th as Adrian Sutil is putting him under some real pressure in his Spyker.

Lap six: Raikkonen looks pretty serene at the front right now as he is 1.8 seconds ahead of Massa.

Lap five: BMW Sauber's Nick Heidfeld takes Kovalainen for seventh. Meanwhile, here's a word from our man on the ground:

"What a start. No holds barred between the two McLaren drivers. Side by side into Eau Rouge at 180mph - incredible bravery and skill from Alonso and Hamilton."
BBC Sport's Andrew Benson in Spa

Lap three: Race leader Kimi Raikkonen sets a fastest lap of one minute 48.994 seconds, but looks like there could be a problem with one of the Ferraris, as the pit crew were on standby - before being stood down.

Lap two: I've cursed Fisichella as he is pushed back to the Renault garages - and he has retired. His fuel-laden team-mate Kovalainen also struggling now as he is overtaken by Mark Webber for sixth.

Lap one: A bit of niggle between the two McLarens at the start as Hamilton tries to take Alonso with one of his typical fast starts. Hamilton ends up running wide of the track, while Alonso holds his line and stays ahead in third going into Eau Rouge. Raikkonen still leads at the front. Good work from Heikki Kovalainen as he moves his Renault up from ninth to sixth. He's reported to be on a one-stop strategy.

1304: Green lights are go.

1300: Off the cars go streaming for the formation lap in Spa, while the mechanics and team bods run quickly off the grid. Raikkonen and Massa both start on the harder tyres.

"Look at the smoke coming off Felipe Massa's tyres. He seems to be having a problem with his brakes."
BBC 5live commentator David Croft

1256: The drivers are settled in their cars now, and the sun is out and shining as we are all set for an exciting race. Anthony Davidson is also starting in the pit for Super Aguri.

1252: Giancarlo Fisichella will start his race from the Renault pit-lane. The Italian was penalised after changing his engine for the race and he will be hoping he doesn't suffer the same fate as the last race in Spa. Fisi started was demoted 10 places on the grid for an engine change in 2005 too and then suffered a crash at Eau Rouge.

1245: The drivers are making their preparations on the widened start-finish straight in Spa. Scot David Coulthard dons a white towel round his neck and super cool shades as he chats to Red Bull boss Christian Horner. Alonso, meanwhile, is keeping a much lower profile.

1240: "Some colleagues and I have been discussing when the leading drivers might make their first pit stops - the first real indication of who is best placed for the race in these misguided days of qualifying with race fuel. We think the top four on the grid have pretty similar fuel loads, and believe Kimi Raikkonen will come in first around about lap 15, with Ferrari team-mate Felipe Massa and McLaren's Fernando Alonso a lap later, and Lewis Hamilton, who appears to be off Alonso's pace again this weekend, going a lap further than that. Heikki Kovalainen in the Renault is almost certainly going to do only one stop as opposed to the others' two, so slow was his qualifying lap compared to his relative competitiveness over the weekend."
BBC Sport's Andrew Benson in Spa

1231: The drivers whizz off out of the garages and out onto the grid.

1230: A bit thin on the ground with the texts at the minute, still getting Radio1's requests for Faithless and The Prodigy. Luckily, 606 is pretty lively: "Kimi most certainly will win today. Alonso might pass Massa at start and can be challenging Kimi for victory. Lewis will have to be careful as he starts on dirty side."
Ninad_13 on 606

1225: Our man on the ground has an accurate weather update for you. I'm a fan of gloom in general but the truth of the matter is this:

"I wouldn't say it's gloomy. The weather's been good and it's still sunny and warm despite the, admittedly, increasing numbers of clouds. I did hear one suggestion that it might rain at some point this afternoon, but the forecast is for it to stay dry for the race."
BBC Sport's Andrew Benson in Spa

1222: "Lewis Hamilton could have a heavy fuel load. He might have a trick up his sleeve."
Kuzfan on 606 (as Hamilton is back on the second row for the first time since Barcelona in May)

1210: The weather is famously unpredictable in Spa, it looks a little gloomy overhead but at the minute it's dry.

1206: Raikkonen is chasing his third successive victory in Spa and, not surprisingly, he's been singing the Belgian circuit's praises. The circuit is the longest on the calendar with each lap - full of high-speed corners and long, long straights - 4.4 miles. The Ferraris have the upper hand with Raikkonen and Massa on the front row, but in Spa anything can happen.

1152: "McLaren boss Ron Dennis was saying yesterday that he wanted to put the spy scandal behind him and enjoy a really 'positive' last four races of the season. I know how he feels. I arrived here in Spa late on Thursday afternoon, and 24 hours of McLaren/Ferrari/FIA-related politics later it already felt as if I'd been here all my life. And this morning there is a distinct sense of weariness among the ranks of journalists. The scene is set for a great race - let's hope it materialises, and that we can forget the spy scandal for a while."
BBC Sport's Andrew Benson in Spa

1143: "Fancy a Ferrari 1-2 today, with Alonso third."

1130: Take a deep breath because we're back racing ladies and gentleman.

After this week's thrilling 'spygate' drama, McLaren and Ferrari resume their rivalry on the track at the Belgian Grand Prix.

Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen is on pole ahead of team-mate Felipe Massa in the team's first qualifying one-two of the season.

McLaren driver Fernando Alonso starts in third from his team-mate Lewis Hamilton, who leads Alonso in the drivers' championship by just three points.

With McLaren stripped of all their constructors' points after being found guilty on Thursday of being in possession of Ferrari technical data, the Italian team can clinch the constructors' title in Spa.

Ferrari are 57 points clear of BMW Sauber with 54 remaining to be won in the final races of the season in Japan, China and Brazil.

McLaren only have the drivers' crown to play for now, with Raikkonen 18 points adrift of Alonso and Massa five points further back.

Grid positions for the Belgian Grand Prix

1. Kimi Raikkonen (Fin) Ferrari 1 min 45.994 secs
2. Felipe Massa (Brazil) Ferrari 1:46.011
3. Fernando Alonso (Spain) McLaren 1:46.091
4. Lewis Hamilton (Britain) McLaren 1:46.406
5. Nico Rosberg (Germany) Williams - Toyota 1:47.334
6. Nick Heidfeld (Germany) BMW Sauber 1:47.409
7. Mark Webber (Australia) RedBull - Renault 1:47.524
8. Jarno Trulli (Italy) Toyota 1:47.798
9. Heikki Kovalainen (Finland) Renault 1:48.505
10. Ralf Schumacher (Germany) Toyota 1:46.618
11. David Coulthard (Britain) RedBull - Renault 1:46.800
12. Jenson Button (Britain) Honda 1:46.955
13. Vitantonio Liuzzi (Italy) Toro Rosso - Ferrari 1:47.115
*14. Robert Kubica (Poland) BMW Sauber 1:46.996
15. Alexander Wurz (Austria) Williams - Toyota 1:47.394
16. Sebastian Vettel (Germany) Toro Rosso - Ferrari 1:47.581
17. Rubens Barrichello (Brazil) Honda 1:47.954
18. Takuma Sato (Japan) Super Aguri - Honda 1:47.980
19. Adrian Sutil (Germany) Spyker - Ferrari 1:48.044
20. Anthony Davidson (Britain) Super Aguri - Honda 1:48.199
21. Sakon Yamamoto (Japan) Spyker-Ferrari 1:49.577
*22. Giancarlo Fisichella (Italy) Renault 1:46.603

* Demoted following engine change

Ferrari dominate Spa qualifying
15 Sep 07 |  Formula One
Alonso 'will not leave McLaren'
15 Sep 07 |  Formula One
McLaren 'came close to exclusion'
14 Sep 07 |  Formula One
McLaren hit by constructors' ban
13 Sep 07 |  Formula One


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