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French Grand Prix - race 
22nd-Jun-2008 07:41 am
There have been a couple of changes since qualifying yesterday:
  • McLaren’s Heikki Kovalainen has been penalized by the French Grand Prix stewards after they decided he had blocked another driver during qualifying. The Finn will drop five places on the grid as a result. [FIA]
  • Barrichello has had a gearbox change and will start from the pit lane, according to TSN
This means the grid now looks like this: KR, FM, FA, JT, HK, RK, MW, DC, TG, NP, NH, SV, LH, SB, KN, JB, GF, AS, NR, RB.

Thunderstorms forecast again; currently air 24°C, track 31°C, wind 3.5m/s, humidity 73%

My race notes are behind a cut as usual...

KR leads everyone away on the formation lap - he's setting quite a pace, which is spreading out the field - he'll need to slow right down to close everyone up

01/70: looks like FA lost 2 places before Turn 1
LH takes P12 from SV in the chicane - did he run too wide?
Did LH touch the rear of teammate's HK McLaren?

02: KR, FM, JT, FA, RK, TG, MW, NP, HK, LH
FA pushing JT for P3

03: fastest lap for KR 1:17.276
DC closing in on LH - will McLaren tell HK to let LH pass him?
Replay shows JB losing a front end-plate at the start of the race

05/70: KR f/lap 1:17.058
JB's touring round with a broken front wing
LH takes P9 from his teammate

06: KR f/lap 1:16.992
JB's made it to the pits

07: KR leads teammate FM by 2.6secs but the suspicion is that FM has more fuel so he'll pit later
NP runs wide but LH isn't close enough to take advantage

08: NP defends the line into the chicane; LH locks up and can't pass him
"Car 22 (LH) under investigation" for his pass on SV in lap 1

10/70: KR, FM, JT, FA, RK, TG, MW, NP, LH, HK

11: KR f/lap 1:16.825
KR's lead now 3.2s over FM

13: KR f/lap 1:16.667
LH still struggling to stay with NP
Surprise, surprise - the FIA have penalised McLaren again: Drive-through penalty for LH :(

14: LH dives into the pits to serve his drive-through penalty - rejoins in P13

16: FA pits from P4 - he was fueled quite light, as expected

17: KR f/lap 1:16.630

18: LH closing on FA to take P12
JB pits again - another broken nose

19: FA runs wide in Estoril and LH takes P12

20/70: LH pits from P12 - lots of smoke from the brakes - swap to hard tyres

21: JT and RK pit from P3 & P4 respectively

22: KR pits from P1 - another set of hard tyres - 9.4s stop

23: ITV-F1 interview JB - pulled in behind SB and hit his rear

24: FM pits from P1 - hard tyres again - 9.4s stop, same as KR
MW pits from P3 - rejoins ahead of FA

25/70: McLaren prepare for HK ... no, they've gone back into the garage

26: NP and HK pits from P3 & P4 respectively - NP slow on the pit exit so HK takes the position

27: DC pits from P3

28: LH isn't last - SB and AS are behind him

29: Pit-car for NR says rain in ~5mins
LH passes NR to take P16 (woohoo!)

30/70: KR, FM, JT, SV, RK, NH, FA, MW, HK, NP; retirements: just JB
SV & NH pit from P4 & P6 respectively

31: KR has a 6.6s lead over his teammate, FM, who has a 25.7s gap to JT

33: GF pits, handing P15 to LH (who has to pit too)

34: Yet to stop: KN, RB, NR - presumably they're all 1-stopping

35/70: KR, FM, JT, RK, FA, MW, HK, NP, TG, DC; retirements: just JB
RB pits, as does KN

37: KR seems to be slower than his teammate - the gap is shrinking by 0.5s per lap

39: Looks like KR's exhaust is broken, which is why he's down on power
FM eases past KR to take the lead

40/70: FM, KR, JT, RK, FA, MW, HK, NP, TG, DC
ITV-F1 suggest KR could be black+orange flagged (telling them to pit to fix the car) but they've forgotten it's a Ferrari, so obviously the FIA won't take any action

41: NR pits - the final man to stop

42: Even though he's 1.5s/lap slower than his teammate and ~1s/lap slower than JT, it's going to take ~20 laps for JT to catch him at this rate
HK takes P6 from MW

43: FA pits - soft tyres - struggle to get the fuelling rig off - 9.5s stop - rejoins ahead of LH

45/70: FM, KR, JT, RK, HK, MW, NP, TG, DC, SV

47: LH pushing FA for P12
RK pits from P4 - soft tyres - 8.1s stop

48: personal f/lap for HK & NH
LH passes FA in the chicane, taking P12

49: FA is the next car to be lapped by FM

50/70: MW pits - exits his box just as TG passes to turn into his

51: JT pits from P3
NP pits from P5

53: KR pits from P2 - lots of bodywork damage visible
HK pits from P3
DC pits from P5

54: LH pits from P7

55/70: FM pits from P1 - not a great getaway but he has a safe lead

57: looks like rain on FA's visor

58: umbrellas and coats appearing in the crowd - this could shake things up
LH passes TG to take P10

59: Lap times have dropped off a little and some cars a looking a little squirmy

60/70: FM, KR, JT, HK, RK, MW, FA, NP, DC, LH

61: HK is all over the back of JT
Rain appears to have stopped
JT defends the line through the final chicane

63: replay shows a piece of exhaust pipe fly off KR's Ferrari - hopefully no-one's going to try to catch it!

64: JT continues to keep HK and RK behind him

66: JB still the only retirement - can KR nurse the Ferrari home?

68: HK all over the rear of JT's Toyota again

69: can HK have a dive at JT?
NP passes teammate FA (for P7) as they pass backmarkers

Final lap: HK makes a move on JT - they tap wheels, which causes HK to run across the chicane

FM takes the chequered flag
KR almost 18s behind, in P2
JT keeps P3, with HK just behind him
RK in P5; MW=P6; NP=P7; FA=P8
DC help on to P9, with LH in P10
P11=TG, 12=SV, 13=NH, 14=RB (+1 lap), 15=KN, 16=NR, 17=SB, 18=GF, 19=AS
DNF: just JB

Provisional result: FM, KR, JT, HK, RK, MW, NP, FA; DC, LH, TG, SV, NH, RB, KN, NR, SB, GF, AS; JB

Next race: British Grand Prix @ Silverstone, July 4-6th.
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