French GP: McLaren Mercedes race report

Vodafone McLaren Mercedes driver Heikki Kovalainen finished the French Grand Prix in Magny-Cours in fourth place. After 70 laps (308.586 kms), he came home 28.9sec behind winner Felipe Massa (Ferrari) despite starting 10th on the grid following a...

Vodafone McLaren Mercedes driver Heikki Kovalainen finished the French Grand Prix in Magny-Cours in fourth place. After 70 laps (308.586 kms), he came home 28.9sec behind winner Felipe Massa (Ferrari) despite starting 10th on the grid following a five-place grid penalty. His team mate Lewis Hamilton ended up 10th; qualifying third, he was demoted to 13th due to the 10-place grid penalty he received at the Canadian Grand Prix. Lewis also received a drive-through penalty for missing the apex of Turn Seven following a move on Sebastian Vettel on the opening lap. After the eighth of 18 Grands Prix, Lewis is fourth in the drivers' ranking with 38 points, Massa leads with 48 points. Heikki is sixth overall with 20 points. In the Constructors' Championship, Vodafone McLaren Mercedes is third with 58 points; Ferrari leads with 91 points.

HEIKKI KOVALAINEN

"Given yesterday's grid penalty, this was a very good result. It also shows that we had a great strategy to be able to come from 10th on the grid to fourth at the finish. During the first stint I lost a lot of time trying to get past slower cars; but, after that, fortunately, I was able to overtake, build a cushion and close the gap to the guys in front. The car felt fantastic throughout the whole race and the Bridgestone Potenza tyres worked really well. During the closing laps, I found myself behind Jarno and tried everything I could to overtake him, but I just couldn't quite make it. He defended third place very well, so well done to him for that."

LEWIS HAMILTON

"My drive-through penalty was an extremely close call: I felt I'd got past Vettel fairly and was ahead going into the corner. But I was on the outside and couldn't turn-in in case we both crashed, then I lost the back-end and drove over the kerb. But, after that, I got my head down and pushed hard until the end of the race. I've been out of the points for three races now -- but there are still 10 to go. Kimi came from behind to win last year's championship, so there's no reason to be disheartened. I'm 10 points behind, but I'm determined to bounce back at Silverstone in front of my home crowd."

RON DENNIS

"A challenging weekend for us. Having said that, Heikki had a brilliant afternoon, driving superbly and fighting all the way to the chequered flag, and only narrowly missed the podium. Lewis's race was severely hampered by his drive-through penalty. Now, though, we must draw a line under this weekend and look ahead. We've got a competitive car and two excellent drivers, and as such we're in great shape. So now we need to focus on the Santander British Grand Prix, and on getting the best results we possibly can at Silverstone, where we feel confident we'll once again be able to challenge at the front."

NORBERT HAUG

"Our pace wasn't too bad. Without his drive-through penalty, third place would definitely have been possible for Lewis despite starting 13th. Heikki did a great job and moved from 10th to fourth. It's a shame that he didn't manage to pass Trulli at the end. However, for the spectators, he at least produced the fight of the race. We all now concentrate on the first of two consecutive 'home grands prix' in Silverstone. Lewis's gap to the top is 10 points and that is still not too big a gap."

-credit: mclaren

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About this article
Series Formula 1
Drivers Lewis Hamilton , Felipe Massa , Heikki Kovalainen , Sebastian Vettel
Teams Ferrari , Mercedes , McLaren