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Felipe Massa Takes Championship Lead

Jun 27, 2008
At the completion of Sunday's French Grand Prix, Felipe Massa walked away the victor. The win was his third for the 2008 season and granted him the lead in the championship race. The final standings included Massa, Raikkonen, Trulli, Kovalainen, Kubica, Webber, Piquet and Alonso. Massa followed fellow Ferrari team mate Kimi Raikkonen, maintaining second position through more than half of the race. The Ferrari team kept a grip on the top two positions for the duration of the race. Raikkonen's car suffered from a cracked exhaust that caused him to drop from first position to second.

"I just kept losing power and then it came back. A few more laps and I don't think I would have finished the race," Raikkonen revealed the extent of his problems after the race. He continued with, "I had a good car all weekend, was easily on the poll, but then I have a problem with the car. I almost stopped a few times at the end." Raikkonen is happy he received eight points for his second-place win, keeping him in the running for the championship.

In a post race interview Massa said, "Sometimes you need a bit of luck, and we got that with Kimi's exhaust. It was a good present." He went on to say, "It was a great race. We showed our performance here, we are heading in the right direction, with the team doing a fantastic job." The win and second position place were welcomed victories for the Ferrari team.

Toyota team driver Jarno Trulli completed the race in third position, the first podium placement finish for the Toyota team since 2006. Trulli may have been able to catch Raikkonen and take second position if he hadn't had to defend his third place position from Heikki Kovalainen. Kovalainen nearly overtook Trulli late in the race.

Trulli said he enjoyed doing that and it is what he wants to be doing, when asked about the near-miss with Kovalainen. "I don't think we touched, just wheel-to-wheel like we did in go-karting. I'd love to fight every race like that," he said. Trulli dedicated his third place win to Toyota's former team boss, Ove Andersson who was killed in a rally accident the week before the race.

Barcelona winner Robert Kubica completed the race in fifth position. Although Massa is now leading the championship chase, Kubica is still a close second.

For Red Bull driver Mark Webber, the French Grand Prix also proved to be the most competitive race of his 2008 season. He was hard pressed to hold off Nelson Piquet Jr. and Fernando Alonso for his sixth position win. Piquet finished in seventh, and his team mate Alonso came in eighth.

McLaren driver, Lewis Hamilton, began the race at a disadvantage because of an accident involving Raikkonen in the pits during the last race. Hamilton was penalized 10 grid positions and completed the French Grand Prix in 10th position behind David Coulthard. Hamilton is now 10 points behind Massa in championship standings.

Massa is the first Brazilian to lead the championship chase since 1993's winner, Ayrton Senna. Massa currently has 48 points. Kubica is only two points behind at 46, with Raikkonen trailing with 43 points. Hamilton is still in the running with 38 points after completing his second race in a row without scoring any points.
About the Author
The Monaco Grand Prix is run every May and details of the 2009 Monaco F1 can be found at yourmonaco.com/grand_prix

Other Monaco details offered include the banks including HSBC Monaco and for new visitors a Monaco map
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