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GP Week : Issue 16
MCLAREN team-mates Lewis Hamilton and Heikki Kovalainen had an afternoon of contrasting fortune in Magny-Cours. While both had suffered grid demotions due to penalties (Hamilton for his faux pas in Canada and Kovalainen for impeding in qualifying), it was Hamilton who was to suffer at the hands of yet another penalty in the race, while Kovalainen’s aggressive strategy almost saw him finish on the podium. Hamilton’s penalty had come after an overtaking move on Sebastien Vettel. Knowing he had to make up positions in the early laps, the Briton braked just a touch too late for the Nurburgring chicane after passing the Toro Rosso, and failed to make the second apex. The race stewards deemed him to have gained an unfair advantage and handed him a drive-through penalty. “My penalty was an extremely close call,” he said after the race. “I felt I’d got past fairly and was ahead going into the corner. But I was on the outside and couldn’t turn- in in case we both crashed, then I lost the back end and drove over the kerb.” Despite his penalty leaving him out of the points, he could nevertheless take the positives out of the weekend. “I have been out of the points for three races now, but there are still 10 to go. Kimi came from behind to win last year’s championship, so there’s no reason to be disheartened.” Kovalainen, meanwhile, overcame his earlier grid penalty to finish fourth after one of his most impressive F1 performances to date. “This was a good result. It also shows that we had a great strategy. The car felt fantastic throughout the whole race and the Bridgestone Potenzas worked really well. “During the closing laps I found myself behind Jarno and tried everything I could to overtake him, but I just couldn’t quite make it. He defended third place very well, so well done to him for that.” Lewis remaining positive MARK Webber kept the Red Bull points machine in full operation with another strong points haul in sixth place. The Australian brought his car home in sixth position, holding off the advances of both factory Renaults to record his sixth points finish in the first eight races of the year. He held onto the tail of the light Fernando Alonso in the opening laps, but had a huge moment after his first stop when, with a heavy fuel load, he attacked the final chicane too hard and got so sideways he almost ended up with his nose buried in the pit wall. “I had a big moment,” he recounted after the race, “although I managed to save it. I then settled in behind Fernando again, but his strategy didn’t work out as well, which was good for us.” The points for sixth position keep Red Bull Racing fourth in the constructors’ championship, although Jarno Trulli’s podium moves Toyota to within one point of Webber’s British squad. “I had to work very hard for these points today, but it’s a credit to the team how hard they’ve worked as well. To beat the works Renault team was a good reward for us. Unfortunately Jarno drove a fantastic race for the podium. Toyota were strong here today but I hope in the future we can have strong days like that too.” More points for Red Bull 26