French GP: Race notes - McLaren


Vodafone McLaren Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton finished third in the French Grand Prix at Magny-Cours and took his eighth podium finish in the eighth race of the season. After 70 laps, Lewis came home 32.1 seconds behind winner Kimi Raikkonen. Fernando who had started 10th on the grid following a gearbox problem in qualifying, ended up seventh. Lewis was on a three-stop strategy and came in on laps 16 (7.4 seconds), 37 (6.3 seconds) and 51 (6.5 seconds). Fernando was on a two-stop-strategy and came in on laps 16 (7.9 seconds) and 37 (9.9 seconds). Lewis maintained the lead in the Drivers' Championship with 64 points followed by Fernando in second position with 50 points. Vodafone McLaren Mercedes is the only team to finish the first eight Grands Prix of the year in the points with both drivers and goes into its home Grand Prix at Silverstone next week also leading the Constructors' table with 114 points ahead of Ferrari on 89.

Lewis Hamilton: I'm pleased to have finished third today and have continued my run of podium finishes in Formula 1. I didn't have the best start and I don't know exactly what the reason was. My car was very good in the opening stage of the race, and I pushed hard to get past Kimi, but unfortunately it didn't work out. We opted for a three-stop strategy. I am happy for my team as we are still heading both the drivers' and constructors' rankings. We will now focus on the British Grand Prix next week where I think we will be competitive again. I am confident for a better weekend at my home Grand Prix as everybody in the team has worked very hard for this, as we do for every race.

Fernando Alonso: I did the maximum I could today, but we knew it would be difficult starting 10th with a fuel strategy that was originally aiming for a top three grid position. This meant that at the pit stops I was always changing positions and ending up behind those I had already passed. The fight with Nick Heidfeld was fun, but it was a lot of hard work. I also made a good move on Giancarlo. I am contesting the World Championship, so I had to do whatever I could today and was not worried about the risks. It is a disappointing result, but we will have to look to improve next week, where we should be strong.

Ron Dennis: A difficult race. Both drivers put in solid performances, and particularly Fernando, who for me was the man of the race with his various battles against Heidfeld and Fisichella. We had the option of switching between a two or three-stop strategy for Lewis, and we opted for the latter to ensure that he had minimal traffic and maintained his strong and safe third position. Fernando's race was always going to be challenging starting from 10th, but our aim was to score points, which he did. However it is clear that we were not as competitive as we hoped, but coming to our home Grand Prix in Silverstone next weekend, we are still leading both World Championships and we will be strong there.

Norbert Haug: Lewis put in a good race finishing third and taking his eighth consecutive podium position in as many races this season. Fernando had some quite spectacular battles with Nick Heidfeld, which the fans surely enjoyed. He finally came home seventh. Ferrari was better today which means that we have to further improve. Halfway though the season Vodafone McLaren Mercedes is leading both World Championships, with Lewis and Fernando heading up the Driver's ranking. We all will work extremely hard to keep it that way in the second half until after Sao Paulo. Now we are looking forward to the next two races, our home Grands Prix at Silverstone and at the Nürburgring.

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Published: 01/07/2007
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