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Archive for June, 2008

The First F1 Focus post follows Allan McNish. A man who spent his whole career chasing an F1 drive, only to end up becoming a successful sports car driver. He won this years 24 Hours of Le Mans two weeks ago, but lets take a look at all his other achievements.

McNish was born on the 29th of December, 1969 in Dumfries, Scotland where he grew up. Like most racing drivers, his career began at an early age, 11, in karting. For the five years he was in karting, until 1986, he was fairly successful and moved up to the next stage in racing. Formula Ford. In 1988 he made his first major achievement, winning the Vauxhall Lotus Championship. As a result, he entered Formula Three. In his first season in British Formula Three he came second, winning five events. He won the Autosport National Driver of the year and was tipped as a future Formula One driver.

The next step for the 21 year old driver was the F1 feeder series, Formula 3000. Before the F3000 season started he landed a test drive at McLaren. He joined the DAMS team in F3000 with his teammate, Érik Comas. The first race of the season was at Donington Park. Comas won the race, but McNish retired. He fared better at Silverstone for the second round, getting pole and winning the race, but his teammate still lead the championship with a second place finish. The next three races were disappointing for McNish with a second place and a win in the middle of the season before a string of retirements left him in fourth at the end of the season, with Érik Comas, his teammate winning and moving up to F1 the next year.

He stayed as McLaren test driver and F3000 driver for the next 2 years. 1991 was a nightmare year for him in F3000 with 1992 not an awful lot better. He was dropped by the McLaren team and moved to Benetton to continue testing. By now, McNish was 24 and past the prime age for drivers to enter F1, however the Scot and his fans remained confident he would make it to F1. He devoted 1993 to his testing duties at Benetton and in 1994 he took part in only 1 F3000 race in which he retired. In 1995 he tried to get his Formula 3000 career back on track, in one last attempt to enter Formula One. He joined the Paul Stewart Racing team. Allan came third in the first race at Silverstone. He got pole during the second race at the Circuit de Catalunia but retired and then came second in France. That was the end of his good results and he finished seventh overall. He once again left F3000 but stayed on as Benetton Test Driver for 1996. When he didn’t get a race seat at the end of the season, he gave up on his Formula One ambitions and left the Benetton team.

He moved his career to sports car racing and by 1998 had entered the Le Mans 24 race with Porche. He won the 1998 24 hours of Le Mans with fellow porche drivers Laurent Aïello and Stéphane Ortelli. In 1999, McNish joined the Toyota team for the 24 hour race with Thierry Boutsen and Ralf Kelleners but retired during the race. However, he was asked by Toyota to join their F1 Project. For the 2000 race he moved once again to Audi with the two drivers he won the 1998 race, Ortelli and Aiello. The team finished second. Toyota had been given permission to enter Formula One in 2002 and made their first F1 car, the TF101, for testing purposes in 2001. Allan McNish became their official test driver. In 2002, when Toyota became a Formula One team, McNish was given the role of Second Driver for the entire season.

McNish was joined at Toyota by the Finnish driver, Mika Salo, who became the first driver. The Australian Grand Prix was the first round. The Scot qualified in 16th with Salo in 14th. McNish was forced to retire, along with seven other cars, in a chaotic first corner crash. Mika Salo went on to finish sixth and score a point. For round two in Malaysia, McNish qualified in 19th but had a great race, just missing out on points in seventh. Brazil was the next race, with Salo again scoring points in sixth, whilst McNish again retired. San Marino was no better with the Scot retiring again. Results started to look up with McNish completing the Spanish and Austrian races in eighth and ninth but the next race at Monaco saw the Toyota teams first double retirement. The next race was another double retirement followed by another disappointing result at the Nurburgring followed by another double retirement at McNish’s home Grand Prix. By now, Toyota F1 had performed worse than expected with less pace than the testing at the beginning of the season would have suggested. Another retirement was the end result of the German race after an 11th place in France. Arrows did not compete from the Hungarain race onwards, meaning there were less cars at the back of the grid. 14th place was the end result with his teammate behind him. Belgium was a better race with Salo very nearly getting a point before Jaguar’s Eddie Irvine beat him to it. McNish had his best result in a while, coming home ninth. However a retirment and a fifteeth place followed in Italy and the US. The final race of the season was the Japanese Grand Prix. The Scotsman needed a good result here as he was yet to score points, and serious doubts were starting to be raised about his position in the team. Toyota wanted a points finish at their home race, but the scottish drivers final race weekend was ended with a big crash in qualifying. He did not take part in the race.
McNish and his 2002 teammate, Mika Salo, were both dropped by the Toyota team, replaced by Frechman Olivier Panis and Brazilian Cristiano da Matta. Martin Brundle described the change as a step backwards for Toyota F1. Allan landed an official test drive at Renault F1 for 2003 but moved back to sports car racing the following year.
He won the 2004 12 hours of Sebring, and came fifth in the Le Mans 24 hour race, again with Audi. He won the Autosport Sportscar driver of the year. He came third at the next two Le mans races, but took place in many other endurance races and became hugely succesful. In Le Mans 2007 he teamed up with the 7 time winner, Tom Kristensen at Audi but retired from the race. Despite this, he became Autosport sportscar driver of the year for the third year in a row. Two weeks ago, he won his second 24 Hours of Le Mans, ten years after his first win, with Tom Kristensen and Rinaldo Capello at Audi.

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Most of us probably wont want to think to much about 2009 yet, but yesterday the FIA released the provisional calendar for the 2009 season. The races are yet to be confirmed and changes can still be made, but there are no real surprises on the first draft of 2009.

I’ll look at the races in a moment, but first I want to mention the dates. At the moment, the season looks to be starting much earlier than normal, and ending much later. I’m struggling to find an F1 Grand Prix that has been held as late as November 15th. Perhaps a reason will be provided when an official calendar is released.

The debut race for 2009 is once again Australia. No complaints from me, but if Bernie gets his way this could be the last one in Melbourne. It all depends whether they decide to hold a late or night race, which is unlikely. Malaysia is still next, no further word on the possibility of an Malaysian night race but it looks likely.

The British Grand Pix leapfrogs the French, with no week gap. Another race under threat but with Sliverstone’s forthcoming improvements, F1 looks like it will stay in the UK. France somehow remains on the calendar after two final GP’s. The German Grand Prix switches back to the Nurburgring and Turkey returns to it’s later season date.

The Japanese Grand Prix is back in Suzuka (yes!) after a two year break and the season finale leaves Brazil and heads off to the newcomer, the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. The GP will take place around the Yas Island circuit as a further expansion into the middle east. Of course this calendar is only provisional and everything I’ve just said could be irrelevant depending on what changes are made. The official calendar will be released later in the season around September/October time when more minds are on 2009.

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Although the Magny-Cours circuit does not usually produce the most exciting races, with the Ferrari dominance seeming never-ending, this years French Grand Prix proved much more entertaining then predicted. First F1 takes you through the events of the race and all the other action of the weekend.

Free Practice One
Nico Rosberg set the first flying lap but it took nearly half the session for free practice one to really get going with McLaren’s Heikki Kovalainen taking the early top spot. His teammate, Lewis Hamilton, beat just beat his time, but it wasn’t long before Ferrari took the top spot that seems to be reserved for them at the French track. Massa consistantly beat Hamilton’s time and finished on top whilst Kovalainen went off track, very nearly hitting the wall. He hung on to second until Hamilton shoved him down to third. Kimi Raikkonen completed the session in fourth with the star of Canada, Robert Kubica, just behind. Jarno Trulli continued his art of spinning but held on to seventh and Fernando Alonso kept sixth despite a rather spectacular engine failure.
Free Practice Two
Unlike FP1, we weren’t left waiting around for action, as the drivers headed out for flying laps immediately. Kubica set the first time, beaten by the McLarens of Kovalainen and then Hamilton. Alonso found himself in second until Ferrari decided to join the fun and the next best spot was taken by Massa and then Raikkonen. The drivers then began to take to the gravel with Hamilton going very wide. Trulli and Sutil both followed the McLaren in the gravel and Alonso also went a bit too far off the track whilst Toyota’s Timo Glock caught a bit too much air through the chicane. The Ferraris did get the jump on the McLarens but their efforts were overshadowed by that of Fernando Alonso who pulled out a terrific lap, taking fastest of the session. Raikkonen, Massa and Hamilton were behind in second, third and fourth whilst an impressive drive from the Toro Rosso of Sebastain Vettel left him in fifth. Robert Kubica rounded of the top six.
Free Practice Three
The third and final practice session of the week dawned at Magny-Cours in fine weather. The normal lengthy wait kicked off Saturday morning. Toro Rosso’s Sebastian Bourdais set the first timed lap at his home Grand Prix. Vettel joined him to have a short-lived battle at the top before Raikkonen came out. The world champion couldn’t manage to beat Renault’s Nelson Piquet. The Brazilian driver quickly took first, before Hamilton ended his stay at the top. David Coulthard squeezed into the top 3 but Piquet was the big surprise, taking first place back. Many tried, but nobody could beat Piquet’s time. He finished first in front of Webber, Vettel and Rosberg. Raikkonen settled for fifth.
Qualifying
Both Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg will suffer ten place grid penalties from wherever they qualify, after the now infamous pit lane crash in Canada.
Session One
Just a few minutes into the first session of qualifying and to nobodies surprise, the Ferraris were on top with Massa leading Raikkonen. They were both beaten by the McLarens but Felipe Massa managed to split them in half a few seconds later. The British team felt they had done enough and headed back to the pits but Ferrari stayed out. Massa went even faster near the end of the session, beating Hamilton. Heidfeld found himself in a dangerous place, 18th position on his final lap. He lived to fight another day after securing 12th. Massa, Raikkonen and Trulli finished as the top three. Nakajima Button, Barrichello, Fisichella and Sutil ended their day.
Session Two
With seven minutes left in the second session of qualifying, Hamilton became the first of the front-runners to set a time. He arrived in second, below his former teammate, Alonso. Both Toyotas, Red Bulls, Toro Rossos and Renaults had completed a lap time with few surprises. Raikkonen led Ferrari back to the 1-2 spot they keep returning to, with Massa behind going 1 tenth faster. Kovalainen could only manage 8th. Ferrari went back to the pits to get ready for Quali 3. With the time nearly up, Coulthard, Vettel, Bourdais, Piquet and Rosberg were all in the drop zone with both BMW’s in serious danger of joining them. Rosberg and Vettel did not improve, Piquet did and knocked Heidfeld into danger. Piquet went strait back down, thanks to Coulthard. Kubica stayed safe meaning Piquet, Heidfeld, Vettel, Bourdais and Rosberg failed to make the cut for the third and final session.
Session Three
The session started with yet another one of Jarno Trulli’s spins, ruining Mark Webbers lap. With only 4 minutes of the pole shootout left, the first of the pole contenders set a time. Felipe Massa went to the top with Alonso and Coulthard slotting in behind him. Raikkonen then completed his first lap to beat Massa’s time whilst Hamilton could only manage sixth after going wide. Once the session ended, Raikkonen was on provisinal pole but all his rivals still had a lap in hand, as did he. Massa just went slower to take second with Alonso taking third. Raikkonen aborted his final lap to save fuel as he already had pole. Hamilton finished in third with Kovalainen in sixth and Kubica seventh.

The 10 place penalties from Canada mean Hamilton would start from 13th whilst Rosberg would start from last. The other McLaren driver, Heikki Kovalainen, got a 5 place penalty for blocking Webber in Quali one and would start from 10th. Jenson Button had some last minute problems and started from last.

A light shower hit the French circuit during the warm-up lap and rain was predicted over the next 30 minutes.

Race
Raikkonen kept Massa behind him from the start. Alonso had a terrible start from third being taken by Jarno Trulli and then Robert Kubica. Button had a good start but made contact with Sutil, damaging his Honda. Hamilton didn’t make any places up round the first few corners. He took Sebastain Vettel but then ran off the track and could have taken an advantage. He then made contact with his teammate, Kovalainen, and passed him a few laps later. Hamilton’s next target was Piquet but he simply could not get pass the Renault, despite Piquet going wide a few times. The Ferrari’s were now in a class of thier own with Trulli filling the gap between the Italian cars and the rest of the field. Hamilton was issued a drive-though penalty for gaining an advantage when passing Vettel. He dedided to take it while he was stuck behind Piquet and rejoined thirteenth. Jenson Button ran wide and broke off his front wing. He was forced to retire. Hamilton was now behind Alonso, who had pitted, and forced his way past the Reanult making contact. Kovalainen pit and rejoined just behind Piquet. The Brazilain had problems starting his car and Heikki took the place. In the lead of the race, Kimi Raikkonen was slowing enormously allowning Massa to catch up right behind him. The problem was a loose exhaust pipe and he let Massa though to take lead of the race. Raikkonen managed to continue. Kovalainen was now up to fourth and when it started to rain lightly, Trulli’s Toyota slowed down to allow Heikki to pile the pressure on him. After a few failed attempts to get past, on the final lap, Kovalainen looked like he would get past but Trulli went defensive. They almost touched but the McLaren went wide, handing the podium place to Trulli. Massa won the race, Kubica finished in fifth, with Hamilton only managing tenth.

Championship
With Massa winning the race, the drivers championship get another new leader with Kubica splitting the Ferraris and hanging on to second. In the constructors, Toyota climb into the top five, removing Williams. Ferrari again pull far ahead and with the next track also a Ferrari one, the Italian team should be happy. With the championship so open, it’ll be intresting to see which way it’ll swing next time at Silverstone for the British Grand Prix.

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The French Grand Prix is back for the 58th time, and the very last time at Mangy-Cours, to hold the eighth round of the 2008 championship. This post looks at last years race (also meant to be the last at Magny-Cours), the facts and figures and the news, preparations and recent history of the French race.

Last Years Race
Felipe Massa got pole last year with Lewis Hamilton behind in second. Kimi Raikkonen and Robert Kubica lined up on row 2 with the Renaults on row 3. Fernando Alonso started back in tenth. Raikkonen passed Hamilton on the start, taking second. Further back, Anthony Davidson made contact with Viantonio Luizzi sending his car out of control colliding with Davidson’s Super Aguri. Luizzi retired but Davidson made it back round to the pits. Heikki Kovalainen nearly made a move round Giancarlo Fisichella but was spun from behind by Jarno Trulli. Kovalainen continued but Trulli retired. Meanwhile, Christijan Albers was pitting for Spyker but left the pits before the lollipop went up with the fuel rig still attached. He also retired. The Ferrais then pitted from the lead. Raikkonen got the jump on Massa to take control of the race. Hamilton finished in third, behind the Ferraris with fourth and fifth going to BMW. Fernando Alonso took seventh with Jenson Button getting Hondas first 2007 points in eighth.

Information

  • Official Name: 2008 Formula 1 Grand Prix de France
  • Date: 20-22 June
  • Round: 8
  • Circuit: Circuit de Nevers Magny-Cours
  • Location: Magny-Cours
  • F1 Race Number: 794
  • Grand Prix Number: 58
  • First Race: 1950
  • Laps: 70
  • Lap Distance: 2.74 miles (4.41km)
  • Lap Record: 1:15.377, M Schumacher

Preparations and Predictions
With a Canadian Grand Prix that shook the championship standings around, things should begin to settle back to normal in France, but not to McLarens favour. McLaren do not have a good track record in the French race with only 3 French GP wins to their name. Hamilton being penalised ten places from wherever he qualifies, after the pit lane crash in Canada, will not help turn their record around. Ferrari do have a good track record at the circuit and will be hoping for a 1-2 finish to put some distance between them and their rivals. BMW will be wanting to continue their good form and will also now be battling for the championship. Ferrari looks likely to dominate in France, but we could be in for a surprise.

News
After the pit lane incident in Canada two weeks ago, both Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton will start ten places back from where they qualify. Hamilton still seems optimistic about his chances saying “We’ve already looked at the best ways of optimising the strategy to help us move up the field and I guess I’ll just have to pass some cars if I want to get into the points.” Bad weather is once again being predicted with Thunderstorms being predicted on Saturday and more heavy rain on the Sunday.

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It looks like Max Mosely will stay head of the FIA until the end of his current term after winning his vote of confidence on June 3rd. In Max’s mind, he sees this as a victory upon the people who tried to discredit him. In reality, he was not at all popular before the private life revelations came out in April. Now most F1 fans see him as an embarrassment to the sport. A

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Although perhaps not matching up to Monaco or Canada ’07, the 2008 Canadian Grand Prix proved to be the race of the underdogs with a result that leaves the championship wide open. The threat of Rain, Marmots or a destroyed track all stayed away, but that didn’t stop some super action over the weekend. Its that time again to look at all the action.

Free Practice One
The track had been declared wet at the beginning of the session and was still lightly raining. As you would expect, the action got underway slowly, with nobody interested in risking the conditions despite the option of a free gearbox and engine change. The Williams, Hondas and Toyotas were fighting for the top spots when the cars did start to leave the pits, but the front runners stayed in the comfort of their garages whilst the track dried out. With 15 minutes to go, most drivers had set a fast lap and the Ferraris were about to put themselves at the top. McLaren were yet to set a time. Raikkonen went quickest, he was demoted to second by Rosberg, until Raikkonen finished his second lap stealing first place back. Hamilton eventually left the pits but was unable to match Kimi’s time, pushing himself in third. Massa was the only one capable of taking first from his teammate, setting the fastest time of the session. Kubica, Kovalainen and Heidfeld were behind in second, third and fourth with the World Champion in fifth.

Free Practice Two
The track had dried during the lunch break and teams looked likely to head out earlier than the in morning session. The front runners headed out almost immediately once the pit lane light went green. Hamilton took the early lead after a few minutes of chaos with most drivers setting times. The Ferraris came out to join his at the top of the time sheets a little later. A few drivers struggled slightly with Glock, Fisichella and Kubica all coming too close to the walls. Webber, Kovalainen and Alonso also spun their cars with Glock and Alonso being forced to retire from the session. Piquet stopped before the entrance to the pit lane with smoke pouring out of the Renault. Felipe Massa also retired after being forced to pull off the track. The car was undamaged but was still at threat from the marshalls after some embarrassing attempts to remove the car off track, seeming completely unaware of how to get the Ferrari out of the way. Massa ended up pulling his own car to safety as the attention began to turn back to the times. Kubica set the fastest time, but had to settle for second, again. This time it was Lewis Hamilton that took the top spot for McLaren. Raikkonen, Kovalainen and Massa took third, fourth and fifth.

Free Practice Three
Heidfeld, Raikkonen, Rosberg and Kubica were the drivers taking the top spot once Saturday’s action got underway. Hamilton, Nakajima, Glock, Piquet and Barrichello also set some fast times during the session but couldn’t manage to get past second. With roughly 15 minutes to go, everyone was out to show their pace for qualifying and just as the battle at the top started to take shape, the session was red-flagged. Sebastain Vettel had made heavy contact with the wall in his Toro Rosso and the track was covered in debris. The session was restarted but once the drivers had headed back out and began their flying laps, Sebastain Bourdais hit the barriers, leaving Toro Rosso with two cars to fix for Qualifying. His impact was much lighter but it still brought out the yellow flags, leaving Rosberg as fastest for the Saturday practice. Behind him were Raikkonen, Hamilton, Massa and Nakajima.
Qualifying
After his crash in Free Practice Three, Sebastian Vettel would not take part in qualifying as his car was not fixed in time. He will start from the pit lane on Sunday. His teammate, Sebastain Vettel, would be given a five-place grid penalty for changing his gearbox after his crash.
Session One
The Ferrrais were the first to set a few quick laps, with Raikkonen and then Massa taking first during the session. McLaren couldn’t match that with Hamilton only just scraping his way into fifth. The McLarens eventually broke the first place barrier and secured a 1-2 position. There were no real surprises in the mid-field but the biggest surprise of the session was Jenson Button who had been struggling all weekend so far. He was having a hard time in 19th (last) place. He returned to the pits with gearbox problems. In the last few minutes, Trulli spun at turn one but still made it through comfortably. The last five places would be taken by Bourdais, Sutil, Fisichella, Button and Vettel.
Session Two
Kovalainen was the first to set a time in session two of qualifying with Rosberg taking first not long after. Jarno Trulli ruined drivers attempts to knock the Williams driver off the top, after spinning again. He managed to avoid damaging his Toyota and continued. Rosberg did eventually leave first as Hamilton and Raikkonen made appearances on top. Lewis stayed on top with the Ferrari’s behind and Alonso in the Renault in second. Jarno Trulli failed to make Session three for the first time this season after spinning for the third time. Webber also spun but made contact with the walls. He had made it into Q3 but his car was now damaged. Eliminated from the rest of Qualifying were Glock, Nakajima, Coulthard, Trulli and Piquet.
Session Three
Mark Webber’s car was not fixed in time for the start of Session Three so he would start from 10th on the grid. Hamilton took the early lead with Renault’s Fernando Alonso joining him in second. Alonso was eventually pushed down by Raikkonen though. With Massa in fifth and Rosberg in fourth the Pole shootout was on. At the end of the session, Kimi Raikkonen competed his fastest lap but it was not enough to beat Hamilton and he slotted in second. Everyones attention suddenly turned to BMW as Robert Kubica had unexpectedly beaten Hamilton’s time. Lewis was still on a lap though, and he took pole by a massive margin, over half a second. The top ten from Qualifying in Canada were:

During qualifying the track had been unable to cope with the F1 cars and was breaking up. This had been seen before at Canada but never this early in the weekend. Serious worries were beginning to rise and emergency repairs were made to the track overnight, with the surface at turn 10 looking a complete mess. Just prior to the race, many teams and drivers were unsure whether the track would last the duration of the race.

Jenson Button had a gearbox change after his qualifying problems and would start behind Sebastain Vettel in the pit lane.
Race
The race got underway cleanly with no incidents and no position changes with the top three. Nico Rosberg passed Fernando Alonso for fourth whilst Rubens Barrichello moved into seventh after taking Nick Heidfeld and Heikki Kovalainen. Heikki took the place back quickly, and eventually Nick did too. Timo Glock and Mark Webber dropped back, whilst Nelson Piquet made contact with Jarno Trulli forcing his way through. Lewis Hamilton was now pulling away from Robert Kubica at the front. Adrain Sutil pulled off the track with problems. His car was partly on the track but not on the racing line so the saftey car did not come out. His car then caught fire and the saftey car was brought out ruining Hamilton’s lead. The top five then entered the pits in order. Hamilton, Kubica, Raikkonen, Rosberg and Alonso. Hamilton had a bad stop and Kubica and Raikkonen were released in front of him and next to each other. They drove down the pit lane side by side but stopped at the end as the red light was on. Hamilton did not realise the red light was on and didn’t see the stopped cars until it was too late. He steered away from Kubica but crashed into the back of Raikkonen. Rosberg was following Hamilton and crashed into the back of him. Kubica pulled away whilst the championship leaders retired from the race. Rosberg continued but pitted after the next lap for a new front wing. Once the saftey car returned to the pits, the top ten in the race were yet to pit leading to some unuasal race leaders. Barrichello, Coulthard, Trulli and Glock all lead the race before pitting. Heidfeld also lead, he pitted and came out in front of his BMW teammate, Kubica. They were now the main race contenders. Heidfeld’s car was full of fuel and Kubica passed him quite easliy, Heidfeld was probaly asked to let him pass by the team. Once everyone had pitted, Kubica took the lead with Heidfeld second and Alonso third. The Spaniard immideatly put pressure on Heidfeld and it looked like Fernando would take third before he pushed too hard and spun. He made contact with the wall and was forced to retire. Then Kubica pitted for his final stop. If he came out in front of Heidfeld then he would stay in front until the end of the race. He stayed in first comfatbley making a BMW 1-2 look highly lightly. Meanwhile at the turn 10 hairpin, Barrichello was taken by Kovalainen for fourth but Massa managed to slip past both of them round the hairpin and made it stick, giving Ferrari some relief. Fisichella then spun and hit the wall, retiring, and the question of the saftey car was once again raised. Massa and Kovalainen were brought in on the belief there would be a saftey car but there wasn’t and the drivers dropped back down the order. Jenson Button was having a good race in fifth despite starting in last but he also came in, ending his chance of points. Massa made his way back to fifth, but attention turned back to the front as BMW and Robert Kubica secured thier first win, and with Heidfeld behind, it was a BMW Sauber 1-2 finish. David Coulthard took the remaining place on the podium.


Championship
Kubica’s win now puts him in control of the Drivers championship. Massa pushes in front of Raikkonen and is joint second with Hamilton. BMW are now only three points away from Ferrari in the constructors championship with McLaren now 20 points clear of the leaders. Red Bull leapfrog Williams with David Coulthard third place. After the pit lane incident, Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg will be penilised 10 places from wherever they qualify at the next race which is in Magny-Cours, France.

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The 39th Canadian Grand Prix is the venue for the seventh round of the 2008 championship. This weekend is the 30th anniversary of the Grand Prix being held at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve in Montreal. Lets take a look at the events of last year and the details of what to expect this year.

Last Years Race
The McLarens of Hamilton and Alonso lined up in on the first row with Heidfeld in third and Raikkonen in fourth. Kimi had a poor start and was quickly passed by his teammate, Felipe Massa. Alonso has a lock up from second and goes strait on a turn one. Hiedfeld moves up to second, whilst Raikkonen is taken again by Nico Rosberg. Jenson Button stalled on the grid. Mark Webber spins whilst taking Robert Kubica and Scott Speed retires after flying up the back of Alexander Wurz. Alonso again goes off a turn one giving his position to Massa. Adrain Suitil hit the barriers at Turn 8 and the safety car came out. Both Massa and Fisichella ignore the red light at the end of the pit lane and drive through. Kubica waits patiently, but too patiently and gets taken by Jarno Trulli when the green light come back on. Robert Kubica tries to take Trulli but gets it wrong and launches into the air. He slams against the barriers with high force and flips back across the track. Its a big accident and Kubica is helped out of the car and into an ambulance. He was unhurt but missed the next race. The safety car returns to the pit lane after Kubica’s accident for the second time. Alonso and Rosberg are given 10 second stop-go penalties for entering the pit lane whilst it was closed. Fisichella and Massa are black flagged for leaving the pit lane under the red flag. They are disqualified. Luizzi brings out the safety car for the fourth time after hitting the wall of champions. Takuma Sato gets the better of Ralf Schumacher, but hes not done and overtakes Fernando Alonso on the strait. He takes sixth. Lewis Hamilton wins the race with Heidfeld second, Wurz third, Kovalainen, Raikkonen and Sato in fourth, fifth and sixth.

Information

  • Official Name: 2008 Formula 1 Grand Prix du Canada
  • Date: 6-8 June 2008
  • Round: 7
  • Circuit: Circuit Gilles Villeneuve
  • Location: Montreal
  • F1 Race Number: 792
  • Grand Prix Number: 39
  • First Race: 1967
  • Laps: 70
  • Lap Distance: 2.70 Miles (4.36km)
  • Lap Record: 1:13.622, R.Barrichello

Preparations and Predictions
As the half-way point of the season approaches, the championship is starting to close up. Ferrari will be hoping to continue their qualifying pace and push themselves further ahead. McLaren will want to build on their win at Monaco to make some space between them and BMW. Lewis Hamilton will also be looking for a win only after winning his first race here last year. BMW will also be looking for their first win, as mentioned in this post, they came close in Monaco and after a strong performance last year, this is the Grand Prix where they will want the breakthrough. With the top three teams all determined for a win, Montreal should be hosting a competitive race.

News
Due to my disability to stay in the country, or have any internet access over the week, I’m afraid that this post was written too early to share any pre-race related news.

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