Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen takes his second consecutive Grand Prix victory by beating the two McLarens of Fernando Alonso and Lewis Hamilton, who finished second and third respectively.
The Finn’s latest victory at Silverstone means he is now just 18 points behind the world championship leader Lewis Hamilton, as we go into the second half of this exciting Formula One season.
Lewis Hamilton, the star of the qualifying session with his sensational pole position, could only finish in third. He seemed to be struggling with the balance in his MP4-22 and was disappointed not to take the race win in front of thousands of his home fans. Still, he should be satisfied that his finishing record of nine podiums in nine races is truly remarkable. He still leads the title race by 12 points ahead of McLaren team-mate Alonso.
The Spaniard started the race in third and despite leading the middle stint of the 59-lap race, the double world champion had to settle for second behind the race-winning Ferrari of Raikkonen.
How did the Iceman get in front of the McLarens? Kimi revealed that it was all down to running a longer middle stint and setting those crucial fast laps to jump ahead of the silver cars.
“We had a good car all day, all weekend actually, in the race I just tried to save some fuel and look after the tyres on my car and once Lewis pitted I tried to push and gained some time on him,” Raikkonen said.
“Then Fernando did a very short stop, so we knew that we were going to run longer in the second stop [stint], so we just tried to push as hard as he can and obviously he came in and it was enough. After that it was pretty easy.”
The Finn’s back-to-back victories means he is now a likely candidate to challenge Hamilton for the championship title and Kimi admits that he is becoming more confident in the F2007 as the season goes on.
“It is going to be a long season still,” he said. “We seem to have a good speed right now, I think it depends also on the circuit conditions and the [different] places where we go, but I am really happy now with the car.
“All weekend it has been good and yesterday I just had a mistake, which made our life a lot more difficult than it should have been in the race, but we came out with a win and that’s the main thing.”
Indeed, the Ferraris were the fastest cars at Silverstone and this victory for Kimi Raikkonen means the 2007 world championship will be a fascinating contest between four of the quickest drivers in the sport.
Finishing in fourth was Robert Kubica in the BMW Sauber, who drove a great race despite a late challenge from Felipe Massa, who stalled his Ferrari on the starting grid. The Brazilian was puzzled why his engine cut out on the parade lap and was forced to start the race in the pits. Running a lighter fuel load and using the grippy ‘white stripes’ Bridgestone, Massa was flying in the early stages of the British Grand Prix. He managed to pass several cars and to finish in fifth was an impressive recovery drive. But if Felipe didn’t have that problem, he could have been a contender for the race win…
Nick Heidfeld finished in sixth, thanks to running a longer stint after originally qualifying in ninth. The German was the last remaining driver to be on the lead lap. Renault’s Heikki Kovalainen managed to pass his team-mate Giancarlo Fisichella in the final pit stop for seventh position.
As for the other British drivers racing in their home race, Jenson Button managed to use a one-stop strategy to his benefit with P10. Red Bull Racing’s David Coulthard was a place behind, but poor old Anthony Davidson. After going off in qualifying to warm up his Bridgestones, the Super Aguri driver was forced to retire after ‘extreme’ handling problems that could not be solved.
It may not have been a classic race after a thrilling qualifying, but you can never discount Ferrari and the Italian team seem to have the advantage as we reach the season’s midpoint.
Hamilton still leads the standings with 70 points from Alonso on 58, Raikkonen now up to 52 thanks to his two recent wins, with team-mate Massa on 51. In the constructors’ championship, McLaren still leads the way but by 25 points over Ferrari.
British Grand Prix result after 59 laps
1. RAIKKONEN Ferrari 1hm21m43.074s
2. ALONSO McLaren +2.4s
3. HAMILTON McLaren +39.3s
4. KUBICA BMW +53.3s
5. MASSA Ferrari +54.0s
6. HEIDFELD BMW +56.3s
7. KOVALAINEN Renault +1 lap
8. FISICHELLA Renault +1 lap
9. BARRICHELLO Honda +1 lap
10. BUTTON Honda +1 lap
11. COULTHARD Red Bull +1 lap
12. ROSBERG Williams +1 lap
13. WURZ Williams +1 lap
14. SATO Super Aguri +2 laps
15. ALBERS Spyker +2 laps
R. LIUZZI Toro Rosso +6 laps
R. TRULLI Toyota +16 laps
R. DAVIDSON Super Aguri +24 laps
R. SPEED Toro Rosso +30 laps
R. SCHUMACHER Toyota +37 laps
R SUTIL Spyker +43 laps
R. WEBBER Red Bull +51 laps
Fastest lap: RAIKKONEN 1m20.638s