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Motor : Massa leads a Ferrari 1-2 at French GP

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CHAMPAIGNE MOMENT: Brazilian Felipe Massa of Ferrari celebrates on the podium after winning the French Grand Prix.
CHAMPAIGNE MOMENT: Brazilian Felipe Massa of Ferrari celebrates on the podium after winning the French Grand Prix.

F-1 RACING / Overtakes Robert Kubica to top the title race with 48 points

MAGNY COURS (France): Felipe Massa of Ferrari won the French Grand Prix on Sunday and moved to the top of the overall standings after his third F-1 victory of the season.

Massa overtook teammate and pole sitter Kimi Raikkonen with 32 laps to go and held on to win by 17.9 seconds. It is the second consecutive Ferrari sweep at the Circuit de Nevers.

Massa leads the title race with 48 points — two points ahead of Robert Kubica of BMW Sauber, who finished fifth. Raikkonen trails Massa by five points in third.

Toyota’s Jarno Trulli finished third ahead of McLaren’s Heikki Kovalainen, who had started 10th after a five-place qualifying penalty. Teammate Lewis Hamilton’s frustrating day was compounded by an extra penalty that left him out of the points in 10th and the British driver now trails Massa by 10 points.

Massa’s eighth victory meant F-1 has a new leader for the fourth straight GP.

Edge lost

Raikkonen lost the edge when his tail pipe came undone and Massa passed for Ferrari’s eighth win in 12 races at the Circuit de Nevers. The Italians rebounded from poor races at Monaco and Montreal that had robbed it of the early season momentum after four wins in the first five races.

Massa is the first Brazilian to lead the title race since the great three-times champion Ayrton Senna in 1993.

He said: “It’s nice to lead the championship, but that is not my dream. My dream is to win the championship and that’s what I’m working for.

“It is too early to talk about the championship, but I know we are going in the right direction. We just need to keep working a lot.”

He described his victory as “fantastic, but lucky, I didn’t expect that and sometimes you need a bit of luck!”

The results: 1. Felipe Massa, Ferrari, 1 hour, 31 minutes, 50.245 seconds, 70 laps, 201.608-kph (125.273-mph); 2. Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari, 1:32:08.229; 3. Jarno Trulli, Toyota, 1:32:18.495; 4. Heikki Kovalainen, McLaren, 1:32:19.174; 5. Robert Kubica, BMW Sauber, 1:32:20.757; 6. Mark Webber, Red Bull, 1:32:30.549; 7. Nelson Piquet Jr., Renault, 1:32:31.278; 8. Fernando Alonso, Renault, 1:32:33.617; 9. David Coulthard, Red Bull, 1:32:41.317; 10. Lewis Hamilton, McLaren, 1:32:44.766.

11. Timo Glock, Toyota, 1:32:47.983; 12. Sebastian Vettel, Toro Rosso, 1:32:48.310; 13. Nick Heidfeld, BMW Sauber, 1:32:52.324; 14. Rubens Barrichello, Honda, 1:32:05.471; 15. Kazuki Nakajima, Williams, 1:32:08.926; 16. Nico Rosberg, Williams, 1:32:09.617; 17. Sebastien Bourdais, Toro Rosso, 1:32:10.274; 18. Giancarlo Fisichella, Force India, 1:32:37.032; 19. Adrian Sutil, Force India, 1:32:57.001.

Not classified: 20. Jenson Button, Honda, 16.

Drivers’ standings (after eight of 18 races): 1. Felipe Massa, Ferrari, 48 points; 2. Robert Kubica, BMW Sauber, 46; 3. Kimi Raikkonen, McLaren, 43; 4. Lewis Hamilton, McLaren, 38; 5. Nick Heidfeld, BMW Sauber, 28; 6. Heikki Kovalainen, McLaren, 20; 7. Jarno Trulli, Toyota, 18; 7. Mark Webber, Red Bull, 18; 9. Fernando Alonso, Renault, 10; 10. Nico Rosberg, Williams, 8.

Constructors’ standings: 1. Ferrari, 91 points; 2. BMW Sauber, 74; 3. McLaren, 58; 4. Red Bull, 24; 5. Toyota, 23; 6. Williams, 15; 7. Renault, 12; 8. Honda, 8; 9. Toro Rosso, 7. — Agencies

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