2008 French F1 GP – Wolf’s Race Review

We sure have seen better races then 2008 French GP but we still got few servings of racing excitement despite utter Ferrari domination.

The only chances for others to mess with Ferrari were either at the race start, rain intervention or something going terribly wrong for one or both Ferrari drivers. At the race start all the fighting took part behind the two red cars and 1-2 order Kimi-Felipe has been set from the beginning. Kimi was 2-3 tenths faster and safely pulled away from Massa. The race at least at the top looked settled early on. The first round of pit stops changed nothing and Kimi seemed to be set for a win. Then however came lap 36 (just about half the race distance) and Raikkonen’s car began to slow down. The reason became obvious quickly. A big hole burned in the side of Raikkonen’s car and the exhaust pipe kept bouncing around hanging only on a piece of wire. Raikkonen kept on going but it did not take long for Massa getting ahead of him and claiming the lead. Surprisingly Raikkonen’s car held together till the end and Kimi returned to the podium after 2 races without any points. Felipe Massa cruised to the finish and claimed his 8th career win. This win also means Massa now leads the championship for the first time in his F1 career …

Toyota could not have picked better weekend for their return to the podium. The French GP weekend was for Toyota the weekend to remember the guy who brought them to F1 – Ove Andersson – who died in an accident a week ago. Toyota’s great result in Canada 2 weeks ago might have been a fluke thanks to the nature of that race, but France is a sign that Toyota team means business. Both cars qualified in top 10. Timo Glock had a good start and gained couple of places but later faded out and came home at 11th. Jarno Trulli however prooved again that he is a difficult driver to overtake. He was never close to challenging the Ferraris, not even the wounded car of Kimi, but held off the late charge from Kovalainen and kept his 3rd place. His defending of Kovalainen looked to be just on the edge of dangerous driving but no one seems to have raised any complains about that and so Trulli can celebrate his return to the podium. This was the first for Toyota since Ralf Schumacher’s 3rd place in Australia back in 2006. Toyota look like the real deal at the moment and Trulli might have just made his case for new contract …

Heikki Kovalainen had a good solid race and 4th place is not a bad result after starting 10th. His fight with Trulli for the 3rd was probably the highlight of the race. I still however can’t understand how can a driver get himself grid penalty for the same offence for the second time in the same season …

Lewis Hamilton’s weekend is a story for a separate post. It was never to be easy after 10 place grid penalty he carried from Canada. But he sure did not make life easier for himself. The drive through penalty for cutting the chicane and not giving the position he gained back to Vettel was totally avoidable. This was the second race in a row where Hamilton made a serious mistake and second race in a row with no points …

A tough weekend for BMW Sauber. The Magny Cours track clearly did not suit their car at all and the 4 points for Kubica’s 5th place is the worst result for the team so far this year. Kubica probabaly had the pace to challenge Trulli at the closing stages of the race. But with not much chance to get ahead of of both Kovalainen and Trulli it looked to me that he settled for the points he had in bag rather than taking too much risk to gain an extra point or two. Nick Heidfeld will want to forget about this weekend very quickly. His qualifying almost ended in embarassment, his race was not much better. The gap between him and Kubica is getting too big.

It was an OK weekend for Red Bull but they perhaps expected more after strong qualifying. Mark Webber returned to the points with another decent drive. David Coulthard finished 9th after loosing too much ground on his opening lap.

Renault looked set for a good result after their strong showing on Friday and Saturday. Fernando Alonso even thought that poidum might be realistic. His chances however took a dent right at the start when he felt behind Trulli (and behind Kubica too for a while). Then when he was the first to pit it became clear that his strong qualifying pace was partly result of light fuel load. After some glimpses of great racing in Canada Nelson Piquet finally got his break in France. He finished 7th ahead of his team mate (following Alonso’s mistake) and claimed his first Formula 1 points. Both cars in the points for the first time this season but they probably hoped for more …

The last team who can be at least partially satisfied with the French GP would be Toro Rosso. They missed out on points and on Q1, but 12th place for Vettel is a good result in race where only 1 car retired. The same can hardly be said about Sebastien Bourdais …

Force India can find some comfort in a fact that both cars finished the race, but that is about it. Williams and Honda have no reasons to celebrate after French GP at all …

Photo: Toyota Motor Corporation, Daimler Media

2 Comments Post a Comment
  1. Black ZeddNo Gravatar says:

    Hamilton’s head was all over the place…hit Heiki’s diffuser in the opening stint. Lots of lockups afterwards..that chicane incident..touched wheels with Alonso..he’s not as confident as usual perhaps..not with all the penalties,,

    I suspect Heidfield’s days in F1 may be numbered..too bad it wasn’t working for him..

    We have different leaders in this season’s standings..maybe F1 is getting all exciting again after all:)

    Black Zedd’s last blog post..Golf Is for the Unfair Advantage

  2. ShaunNo Gravatar says:

    Well i missed this race as i was at the MotoGP but i caught a little of it on the news. Seems Ron Dennis was not happy with the penalty on Lewis as he thought Hamilton was already through before he left the track?

    I have yet to see the incident so i can’t really comment on that.

    Shaun’s last blog post..Sensational Redding becomes youngest GP race winner


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